Exclusive: Joe and Anthony Russo Remember Stan Lee and His ‘Infinity War’ Cameo

     November 30, 2018

During our recent screening of Avengers: Infinity War, directors Joe and Anthony Russo fielded a bunch of questions from Marvel fans. One such question had to do with the late, great Marvel Comics icon Stan Lee, who sadly passed away earlier this month. While Lee’s legacy will live on in his comics creations and the millions of fans he’s inspired over the decades, his performances on the big screen will also live on thanks to his many MCU cameos.

During the Q&A, the Russos remembered Lee and not just their time with him on set but his influence on their creative vision throughout their lives. They also commented on Lee’s cameo in Infinity War and just how that came about. You can hear their answers in the video above or read along with the transcript below:

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Image via Marvel

What was it like filming Stan Lee’s cameos over the course of your career? What has he meant to you?

Joe Russo: We meet a lot of people in this business. There are very few people who you lock up around or you get really nervous. I think that typically happens around people who have had a major impact on you as a child. Something about the emotional memories of things that inspired you and led you to the point you are in your life. Obviously, comic books were a massive influence on us creatively, and the mythology behind comic books and many of the books we read were part of Stan’s creations. Having him on set, we’re always like kids. Just hearing his voice growing up watching the Spider-Man cartoon, these were always important things to us creatively. He was always a blast and always a lot of fun to have on set. Whenever he came on set, the crew would light up. Part of the fun of sitting in that writing room–eating donuts and yelling at each other for eight months about what the best scenes were–was figuring out what Stan’s cameo was going to be.

Anthony Russo: He was just exuberant. The energy he would bring to set, especially at his age, was stunning. You could tell he just loved to be there. It lit him up. Like Joe said, he lit everybody else up around him. He was the kinda guy … he always wanted more lines, he always wanted to do more, which is fantastic. It was a great lesson that, even for these small moments, he’s bringing everything to the table that he possibly can to make the most of a moment. I think that’s one of the things that was so special about him.

stan-lee-infinity-war-cameoWith these cameos, was it one of those things where you would tell him in advance what it was going to be, or “Just come to set Tuesday. We’re gonna figure it out?”

Anthony Russo: No, we’d tell him because sometimes it would take a little preparation in terms of costuming, so that stuff had to be worked out.

Did he ever say “no” to a cameo, in terms of the character he was going to play?

Joe Russo: Just that one nude scene we pitched to him. ::laughs:: He wasn’t comfortable. We said, “Okay, don’t worry about it.” No, he always was game for any cameo. His joke he always said on set was, “How come I only get one line?”

For more from our Q&A with the Russos, click on the links below:

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