The Russo Brothers really have a whole lot on their plates right now. Not only are they a few short months from the release of "Captain America: Civil War," the follow-up to the roundly-loved "Captain America: the Winter Soldier," but they also have "Avengers: Infinity War -- Part 1" and "Part 2" immediately following. Following a recent IMAX screening of "The Winter Soldier," the folks over at Collider were able to get a few words in with the directing duo.
As we know, Marvel is taking steps to differentiate their movies by making them different genres "Ant-Man" is a heist film, "Guardians of the Galaxy" a space opera, and so forth). In the interview with the outlet, the Russos went on to classify "Captain America: Civil War" and how it compares to "The Winter Soldier" in genre and tone.
“Of course, Winter Soldier was a political thriller. We think of Civil War as a psychological thriller. It’s a complicated movie. And yes, it divides these people that you’ve known to not only be a team, but Cap and Natasha, in this movie, they’re evolving into a surrogate family for each other. So, it’s a closer group of people that’s being divided. That’s a difficult thing to do.”
“There’s a good portion of [Civil War] that’s actually funnier than Winter Soldier, because there are characters in that film, that come from worlds where the tone is more comedic. Not all the characters in that movie have the same history as the Avengers. They’re coming at the problem of the film, not embedded with that baggage.”
“They’re not tied to the central arc of the movie with the same motivation as the other characters, so they can be lighter. I think there are a lot lighter moments because there are much darker moments as well. We did have to work very hard at that.”
In addition to the amount of in-fighting going on in "Civil War," one of the big highlights of the film is sure to be the introduction of Spider-Man, a character fans have been anticipating since Sony's "Amazing Spider-Man 2" failed to impress.
Anyone who's read the "Civil War" comic knows how integral of a role Spider-Man played in the story, and one has to wonder if the character's reduced role had to do with the fact that Marvel simply didn't know if they'd gain the rights to use the character.
According to the Russos, this does not appear to be the case.
“It was a very long process. Kind of thing we had to lobby for for months. What happens during a long process like that, you’re continuing to develop the movie and the character. During the time that it takes you to convince the powers that be to make the jump and let you do that, you’ve engrained the character so deeply into the story at that point that you’d have to destroy the story to take him out. So, by the time we found out that he’d be in the movie, it wasn’t so much elation than like ‘Thank God! We don’t have to blow the whole movie up.'”
“I’m a comic book fan and collector, since I was a kid, and he’s my favorite character. And to get a chance to reinvent that character…For me, I really wanted to see somebody cast who was very close to a high schooler’s age…What was so valuable to me about the character, when I was a kid, is that he’s a high schooler with this power and responsibility, and it makes him very distinct as a hero. It makes him distinct from the other characters in the Marvel Universe, who are confident, experienced superheroes. It’s super important to have that color of the movie, and we felt that it was invaluable and we do think it goes a long way. That character helps us balance out the tone of the movie.”
Certainly, fans of the comic will doubt these words. After all, if the filmmakers went forward assuming they'd have rights to the character, it would make sense to use the character in the same way he's used in the comic book -- as the uncertain middle ground between Cap and Iron Man. Right? Not necessarily.
Sure, it'd be nice if they could keep that aspect of the story intact, but by the nature of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are already a lot of differences. Sit through "Iron Man 3" next to a die hard Iron Man fan, and he/she are sure to point out all the reasons the film got things wrong. Similarly, there were bound to be some big changes in "Civil War," and given that Spider-Man hasn't been swinging around the MCU for the past ten years, it'd be a hard thing to buy that he hasn't yet popped up on the radar in this world.
We'll have to wait and see how it all turns out, and luckily for us, we only a few months left until the film's release, and according to the Russos, they're only about a month or so from locking picture. We're so close to seeing the realization of one of the most ambitious adaptations of all time.
From "Civil War," the Russos jumped right into to talking "Avengers: Infinity War," which the pair are also directing. One of the bigger questions fans have is in regards to the scope. Will it be too much? Many fans believe "Avengers: Age of Ultron" had too much going on, and if trajectory is any indication, these films will absolutely dwarf "Age of Ultron" in scope.
“We were being figurative when we said [67 characters] and people took it as literal but there’s a lot of characters. 'Infinity War' is meant to be the culmination of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe up to that point. It’s very ambitious in its scope, it wants to take everything that you’ve seen before and coalesce into some kinda of climactic ending. It’s complicated , ambitious storytelling…We’re not talking about lead characters, just people that make an appearance.”
“We start shooting both of them later this year in November and we’re primarily going to be based in Atlanta again. That’s where we’ll do out stage work and some exteriors. There will be locations from around the world involved as well. We actually relocate to Atlanta in late July to finish up pre-production there. We don’t come back to L.A. until the following June.”
“We’re shooting them concurrently, meaning that some days we’ll be shooting the first movie and some days we’ll be shooting the second movie. Just jumping back and forth. We won’t look like this next year.”
Lastly, the brothers made a quick comment on the script process for the films.
“We have two excellent outlines from Markus and McFeely. They just went off and started writing the first draft of the first movie.”
In true Marvel fashion, things seem to be going at a high-octane pace. Let's hope the two writers can get a great shooting script done by when they need. Marvel isn't above shooting without a working script, and while it's worked out for them in the past, it may be increasingly detrimental for a story that spans two films.
What do you think of the Russos comments? Which of their movies are you looking forward to more? Let us know in the comments down below!
"Captain America: Civil War" hits theaters on May 6, 2016.