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

     July 24, 2012

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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:

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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.

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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.

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