Directors Anthony and Joe Russo
Directors Anthony and Joe Russo were the directors on the film Captain America: The Winter Soldier. We had the opportunity to sit down with these two brothers while on our trip to Los Angeles in March and they were full of information about the movie and more! They surprised us by asking questions about our prior interviews to get the ball rolling. They asked us who was the most entertaining to interview and we all of course said, “Anthony Mackie in unison.” They of course agreed hands down that he was the funniest. We were off and going with something in common with them!
One of the first questions that we asked was is it challenging to work with your brother or do you work off of each other’s strengths?
Without question, I mean, alright, there wouldn’t be a great partnership unless we compensated for, you know, each other, helped mitigated each other’s, uh–– uh, weaknesses and complement each other’s strengths. Um, we’ve been doing it for a long time now, about 15 years, very, uh, you know, there’s a real shorthand that we have. It’s not a very formal relationship, I know, like the Cohen Brothers, you know, divvy up producing and directing. It’s very specific. Ours is less defined than that. It’s, um, uh–– uh, we always say that if you’ve asked one of us a question and you get an answer then you got an answer from both of us. ‘Cause we–– we share a lot of the same influences, obviously, we grew up together, we’ve read the same comics, we read the same books, we watched the same movies, watched the same television shows, so all of our influences are very similar. So when we look at material we tend to look at it in the same way and it–– it seems to make it very easy for everybody. Sure.
The heart of the film is the Chris and Scarlett scenes which would make them some of the easiest and hardest at the same time. They are both great assests to the film and spark life into the film. Robert Redford being in scenes is another one of their favorite scenes and considers it a career high.
The hardest scenes are the action scenes, obviously. There was a scene that’s, near the end of the second act where Winter Soldier attacks Cap and Natasha and Sam in a car on the freeway, uh, we had to shut down a freeway in Cleveland for two weeks to shoot that scene. If you could imagine in your own town if a filmmaker came in and said, “Hey we’re gonna shut down one of your major freeways for two weeks, what do you guys think?” Have fun getting to work, right? [LAUGHS] It’s not easy and there was a lot of pressure on us ’cause there was no room for error. We, you know, it was a very complicated sequence, you’ve seen the scene. We had to get all that work from the time he lands on their car till, you know it’s the time his mask comes off. All that work has to be done in a two-week period. So he and I worked around the clocks, uh, 14-days straight.
Was there any certain amount of pressure knowing that, you know, Captain America’s Marvel film, was there any pressure with the fan base and make sure you got it right?
Joe: There’s always pressure with the fan base, I mean, it’s, clearly it’s, they’re, it’s an intense fan base. But what something that we’ve learned in our career is that, you know, that’s very important to us is, is that you cannot predict what people are going to like. You can only make the movie based on how you feel and what you feel you would want to see. And then you hope everybody else likes it too. Uh, and, because we’re comic book fans and film geeks, you know, our approach to the movie was, “What if, you know, I’m finally getting the opportunity as a fan boy to make a comic book film?’ What do I want to see in a comic book movie?” And then we put all of that into the film. And, uh, and, you know, again, like I said, you just keep your fingers crossed. But, you know, you’re never gonna make everybody happy. I know when we came out with the, you know, we call it stealth suit or what’s the Steve Rogers suit, it’s the blue suit with the white stripe on it? You know, the Internet exploded, “How could they not have him in the, you know, the red, white and blue suit?” And all, you know, you got, you’ll see in a year when you see the film, it’s a very thematic use of the costume, and the movie is supposed to represent his work for the government, his work for shield and then, you know, he embraces his, you know, uh, the symbol of his old suit at the end of the movie in order to, you know, uh, fight the bad guys. So, um, you can’t, you kinda have to tune that out a little bit.
Anthony: a little bit, it’s important to remember, the fan base does not speak with a single voice. You find the entire spectrum of opinion. You know, there’s people who are fans of the Golden Age of the, uh, sort of version of the character and then everything that came after. So at the end of the day it’s like you just, you have to, because we are fans, because we love the material, it’s like, ultimately you just have to service yourself, you know, just hope others like it.
QUESTION : When you said you were a huge comic book fan and you’ve been reading since Captain Falcon Team in the 1970’s, what was your reaction in the comic books when Buckey came back as a Winter Soldier?
We thought it was genius, I mean, that’s, you know, we told Kevin Feige, we’re went out on our first meeting with him we said, uh, “You know, you have Star Wars on your hands, it’s so rare that you get a villain who has such an emotional connection to the hero, you know, and that’s a gift as a storyteller, uh, ’cause you’re, you know, there’s an old adage that the hero is only as good as the villain and it’s so true. And you think about, you know, your–– your favorite hero/villain movies, the villain is always a very Seminole figure. Uh, and so basically to have your doppelganger or your this sort of antithetical Captain America character, he’s got a a robot arm that’s as strong as your shield, you know, he’s, his strength is equal to your strength. He’s fighting for principles that are opposite of your principles.
It only took them two years to finish the movie. Which has been a long chunk of their life, but it is something that will stick with them for a long time and they are very happy to have been part of such a great movie. They were very nice during the entire interview and gave us a glimpse of what they see from the directors chairs
*Disclosure: I received an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles for the #ABCTVEvent and #Disneyevents in exchange for my coverage. All opinions are 100% my own.