When Marvel selected Joe Johnston to direct Captain America: The First Avenger, everybody who had ever seen how he handled the action and feel of that WWII era in The Rocketeer, immediately went “Ah…. Good choice.”
When co-directing brothers Anthony and Joe Russo were tapped for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, most people probably went “Ah….Ha ha ha ha”. Guys who’ve just done Ben Stiller comedies and TV sitcoms were certainly an odd choice for a tent pole blockbuster. But during the recent Television Critics Association Press Tour, Anthony revealed just what they’ll be bringing to the gig. Luckily The Huffington Post was on hand to capture it all, but here are some of the choice excerpts:
“We were comic book geeks from a young age and big fantasy geeks. We got to talk to them in detail about that history. They knew that we understood the brand really well and the characters really well. It was a long process, actually, of talking to them over and over again, through a series of meetings over a long period of time. And I think they just — we were really passionate about the movie, incredibly passionate about the movie. They felt that, and they felt like it was the right match.”
And if you’re wondering what that match is, well the brothers have produced and directed numerous episodes of fan favourite comedy series, Commuinty, and according to Anthony that may not be as big a jump to a superhero blockbuster as some may 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.”
Adding to this is the fact that Chris Evans has a comedy background as well, something which the directors are very aware of. But don’t expect Cap to suddenly be a walking sight gag:
“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.”
As for those other characters, Cap’s partner Bucky Barnes was certainly one of the lighter ones. Well, ex-partner would be more appropriate, because as the title implies we should be seeing him adopt his role of the amnesiac assassin, the Winter Soldier, in this installment. And just like Ed Brubaker’s comic book storyline on which this will be based, he’s not so jovial anymore.
“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.”
Speaking of the modern day, while Cap is now firmly set in the present, that doesn’t mean that we’ll completely lose some of that WWII sensibilities or story elements that allowed the first film to set itself apart from all the other recent superhero movies.
“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.”
That probably just implies that we’ll be seeing quite a few flashbacks back to the WWII era, but that doesn’t mean that they will be beholden to those same vintage sensibilities used by Joe Johnston on the first film.
“[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.”
Unfortunately, Anthony’s lips were completely sealed on what some of those challenges might be. I’m still not completely convinced, despite how stellar the Russo’s TV work has been. They will be stepping out of their comfort zone completely with this superhero tale, so until I see some footage, I will be cautiously optimistic.
Last Updated: July 26, 2012