Director Anthony Russo Talks About Tone and WWII Flashbacks in CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER

     July 24, 2012

captain america 2 winter soldier

Marvel turned a few heads when they selected Joe and Anthony Russo to direct Captain America: Winter Soldier.  The Russo brothers spend most of their time directing and producing TV comedies like Community and Happy Endings, and their last feature was You, Me and Dupree—that is not the typical path to helming a superhero tentpole.  As producer on the upcoming NBC sitcom Animal Practice, Russo was on hand at the TCA Press Tour to explain why the jump from Community to Captain America 2 is not as far out as you might think: “Well, I think if you look at some of the big genre episodes—the paintball episodes, etc.—there’s a cinematic sensibility being explored there that is in the language of [various kinds of] films.”

Marvel trained Russo to dodge most of the questions regarding plot and story details, but the press followed up with enough questions to obtain a few interesting tidbits.  See what Russo had to say after the jump.  Starring Chris EvansAnthony Mackie, and Sebastian StanCaptain America: The Winter Soldier is scheduled for release on April 4, 2014.

Since Evans is a funny guy and comedy is the Russos’ specialty, The Huffington Post asked how comedic the script is.  Russo answered:

anthony russo captain america 2 sequel

I mean, we’re trying to grow him as a character, and certainly he’s come a long way, from where he started in pre-World War 2 to where he is in modern-day America. So the character has room for growth because of that huge journey that he’s been on, Number 1. Number 2, part of the appeal of these movies is the ensemble. Captain America isn’t the only character in the film, there are other characters that are perhaps lighter in nature.

Russo pointed to Bucky Barnes as one of the lighter characters.

The “Winter Soldier” subtitle comes from a storyline by Ed Brubaker that the brothers responded to:

I can say in general that there’s sort of a darker, edgier sensibility at work there that we found appealing, and that is going find its way into Captain [America] in the modern day.

Brubaker’s Winter Soldier does bring Captain America into the modern day, which is probably necessary since the end of the first Captain America brought our hero into the present so he could team up to save the world in The Avengers.  But the first movie set itself apart amid the comic book fare by having so much fun with the WWII era.  Russo was asked if there might be flashbacks to the 1940s, and responded:


“Certainly Cap has this complicated history. We’re making the movie for first-time viewers, not just for fans, so, because Cap does have this complicated history — he was this skinny guy who became a super-soldier, he was born back then and he’s living [now] — in the storytelling, you need to convey that to an audience who doesn’t know Cap’s story.”

Regarding the first movie’s reverence for classic war films, Russo elaborated:

“[Captain America] is in a very different time and place. For as well as that style worked for his World War 2 experience and the origin of Cap—part of the fun of picking a guy out of one time period and plopping him down in another is that all bets are off. The whole world is different, and that’s part of the struggle of the character and the challenge the character faces.”

I suppose we don’t need another 2-hour period piece, but I like to hear that we will revisit that part of Rogers’ life.  I hope it is new scenes that tie into the present day rather than a recap edited from past footage.

chris evans captain america 2 sequel

To give you an idea of what kind of secrecy Russo is up against, these are his responses to the last four questions.

“That’s the something that Marvel would shoot me if I answered.”

“I can’t talk about any of that at all, sorry.”

“I’m very interested in that, but yeah, I can’t really say more.”

“I can’t say, but it’s part of that same mosaic.”

The Russo brothers have done some great work on television, so even if they can’t really let you and I in on the process, I am excited to see what they come up with.

captain america 2 sequel poster

Around The Web
  • David

    Isn’t the point of a sequel to expand the story told in the first film, not revisit it? I’m speaking about the origin of Captain America, not the 1940′s era itself. A super-hero starter film is supposed to explain the beginnings of the hero. The sequel doesn’t need to do that again.

  • Xion385

    There better be a nice conclusion/reunion between Peggy and Steve in the movie since it was cut from the script of The Avengers.

    Hell, just having Hayley Atwell in the movie would be great. She was one of the better characters in the first one.

  • Strong Enough

    did he compare paintball to a comic book movie? lmao

    • Joseph

      In Community’s first 2 seasons they did three episodes paintball episodes that spoofed different genres. They are the most action oriented sitcom episodes that you’ll probably ever find. Just look them up to understand what he’s talking about

  • THATguy

    I really hope they don’t waste time by revisiting key scenes to “appease to new fans;” we don’t need re-hashed montages of how Cap was injected, became a soldier, made the sacrifice, etc. If they’re doing flashbacks, let’s see some “forgotten missions” scenes of fighting alongside Bucky or the Howling Commandos. But I digress…since it’s obvious where they’re going for storyline with the “Winter Soldier” title, this has potential to be another soldier Captain America movie.

  • THATguy

    *another SOLID Captain America movie

  • hujcik

    Another Captain America movie? Do we really need that? I mean, i don’t care much for a ‘hero’ who has has a costume that is basically an american flag. Living outside of America, he has little appeal to me, and if only the movie was really good then at least I could have enjoyed it, but the first movie was decent at best, and the sequel already sounds like a retread of the first.

    • Chad

      I guess we do. And there are plenty of people who live INSIDE America who will go see it. Sorry if you disapprove, but it’s not like he was just invented for the first film, the comic book has been around for decades.

      • Franco Celentano

        Guys, we ALL live in America. United States is in America and I live in Argentina (in America)
        And I will enjoy a lot the Captain America 2 movie. I love Steve so.. bring the movie!!!

    • Shaun

      The character is not, nor has he ever been (well, I can’t speak for the original comics from the time of WWII because I’ve never read them… I mean from the 1960′s revival onward) a jingoistic character just wrapped in the flag.

      Rather, he’s always stood for, ideally, what America is supposed to stand for: Honesty, fairness, equality, and liberty and justice FOR ALL. That extends beyond America’s borders too.

      Now, I’ll be the first to admit that America frequently fails to live up to those ideals (I’m speaking in very general terms here, not making a specific political statement), but that’s frequently been fodder for Captain America comics over the past 50 years. Cap is as incorruptible as Batman, and in many ways I consider Cap to be Marvel’s “Batman.” More than once, he’s stood in opposition to the U.S. government when it was the right thing to do (the CREEP storyline which had parallels to Nixon and Watergate, and the more recent Civil War from about 7 years ago).

      Anyhow, Ed Brubaker’s Cap comics have been pretty excellent and the Winter Soldier saga is a prime example. If the upcoming film can do justice (heh) to that storyline, then this will be great movie. Crossing my fingers!

      Also, c’mon… Did you honestly think that after the first Cap was successful and The Avengers went through the roof, that there wouldn’t be a sequel? You realize there’s more Iron Man, Thor, and (maybe) Hulk on the way too, don’t you?

    • Anonymous

      Hey hujcik… Go fuck yourself.

    • landru

      Why would you read about a sequel to a movie and character you didn’t like and then feel the need to leave a comment stating that you don’t like it. I could visit countless “Twilight” websites and share my thoughts on why I don’t like the movie or the characters, but for what purpose? I may not like Harry Potter because the character comes from a different country but I recognize that Harry is very popular and there are many people who enjoy those stories. Why is it bad to have a uniform based on flag anyway? I don’t dislike a rock band because the singer has a shirt that looks like a British flag and I don’t know why my opinion of “Rocky Balboa” would be changed when he wears Apollo’s American flag trunks.

      • Shaun

        You don’t like Harry Potter because he’s from England? Are you serious about that, or just giving an example of how silly Hujcik is?

  • hujcik

    Another Captain America movie? Do we really need that? I mean, i don\’t care much for a \’hero\’ who has has a costume that is basically an american flag. Living outside of America, he has little appeal to me, and if only the movie was really good then at least I could have enjoyed it, but the first movie was decent at best, and the sequel already sounds like a retread of the first.

    • Shaun

      That comment reads just as dumb the second time.

  • DEEP

    Captian America was good movie specially the retro feel provided an old fashion fun with some good humor from performance by the fantastic cast. But at last it ended with open log that concluded in The Avengers see no other superhero(Ironman Thor and Hulk) story directly entered into Avengers zone but they did with Cap America. And it felt Avengers is sequel for Cap. As Joss told Avengers going to be told from Cap point of view but they edited the movie and it never felt in entire movie as they thought to tell the story from Cap point of view. As of now I am interesting in Sequel hoping some good fun as predecessor.

  • LEM

    So this will be the last Captain America movie for awhile.

  • CanIHaveASlice?

    I love Community, but making amazing television doesn\’t necessarily translate to making amazing cinema. The Winter Solider story arc is my favorite, and it\’d be cool if they dipped into the espionage influence, much like the classic war movie feel of the 1st film. I have my doubts, for sure, but I\’m still excited for the 2nd film starring one of my favorite comic book characters!

  • Dannyboy3030

    I would love a Band of Brothersesque Cap movie, like the one I thought I was going to get in the 1st film. Let’s have Cap fight some Nazis. Turn him into Indiana Jones with a vibranium shield instead of a bullwhip.

  • Jeff Bonivert

    The first Captain America was very good. But they missed something huge. The Buck Barnes relationship and Caps mentoring Bucky into the hero world and Bucky’s death is the seed for all Cap’s depression in the modern world. And the vehicle for Cap’s WW II flash backs. So much great drama to be had and the film makers decided not to “go there”. It’s the comic book drama that makes BILLIONS not just millions. Anybody can make millions with a MARVEL movie. AND gives us something extra cool to be excited about, like cameo’s of the original Human Torch in action along side Captain America and the original MARVEL anti-hero the Submariner. The hard work has already been done in the comics of the 1940′s and 1960′s MARVEL. Read those beautiful comic books, then you’ll be able to make Billions. Nuff Sed

    • Anonymous


  • Thebigv75

    Im excited for Captain America: Winter Soldier, and I’m excited that the winter soldier storyline is the plot (or is iT?) but im not sure I trust the sequel in the Russo brothers hands. If all they done is comedy wat qualifies them to make a superhero movie? I would have coosen F. Gary Gray to do it or bring back Joe Johnson! I hope this movie is good, so far I’m liking it (the flash backs , winter soldier, falcon, shield) it looks good, but if Haley attwell doesn’t come back as Sharon Carter I’d be sad. Russo brother, please don’t screw this up!!

  • daveyboy

    Not that Stan did a horrible job or anything,but if they are smart,they will cast someone new for Bucky in the sequel…his role in the first one was pretty limited,and he wasn’t a very deep character…if they want to do it right,they need to get someone with serious acting chops…who would you the fans recast for Bucky if you had the choice? I could see Joseph Gordon Levitt doing it,but I kind of put him in every youngerish man role in my mind….

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  • Justin

    I don’t think sequels need to be made with viewers in mind who haven’t seen the first film. It’s boring and tired. If someone sees it who hasn’t seen the first film, they’ll go back and watch the first one afterwards usually- unless the sequel really is that bad. Most of the best sequels never said crap about what happened in the first one except for like one or two lines just as a quick reference. I also don’t think these guys are the right choice as directors, but that is just my opinion.

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