Interview: ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Directors Joe and Anthony Russo

By September 13, 2014

Last Tuesday saw the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier on DVD & Blu-ray, and Amoeba Records in Hollywood held a special signing event that included none other than the directors themselves – Joe and Anthony Russo. I was in attendance, and managed to score a precious few minutes with them to ask some questions that have been on my (and quite a few others’) radar since the film’s initial release!

At work on Captain America 3 since February, Joe and Anthony Russo expressed their excitement at how quickly Blu-ray/DVDs are now being released (especially so soon after CA:TWS‘ theatrical run) and about the current draft they’ve received from the writers for CA3.

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Joe Russo said, “We’ve got a draft from the writers and it’s fantastic; we’re really excited about it and everybody’s hard at work trying to put together a really good project,” while his brother Anthony added, “For us, the process on both movies is you’re never finished; there’s a constant state of refining, questioning, experimenting, trying things – so you know, we’re kind of in the middle of that right now.”

When asked how Joss Whedon was involved (if at all) when it came to plot points in Winter Soldier that could possibly affect Avengers: Age Of Ultron and if it forced any changes to the story, they said:

Marvel has an excellent processing of balancing how connected the movies are to other movies in the cinematic universe (and how dependent they are) because you don’t want to be saddled with too many things that are happening outside the parameters of your film; it can be cramping. So they try to give you maximum freedom without putting anymore on you than you need to know. And when we read the stuff – we read the drafts, we watch the edits – everybody’s up on their most current development and everything but at the same time, there’s only a few key moments where they really sort of have to be faithful to one another; there’s a lot of room to play. It’s a balance but [Marvel’s] also thinking, ‘How can each movie have maximum freedom to become what it wants to be’ as opposed to “how does it stay connected to the rest of them?’

When it comes to the directors and the upcoming “Agent Carter” series, of course I asked if we were going to see how HYDRA infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. (motivating the events in CA3), and Anthony said, “Who knows? We’re not involved in the writing/producing of that show at all, so we don’t really know but it would be fun to see the seeds of how HYDRA entered S.H.I.E.L.D. post-war,” while Joe chimed in that, “there’s gonna be some very clever crossover work done and some really cool Easter eggs – those guys (“Agent Carter” writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely) are as knowledgeable of the Marvel universe as just about anybody we’ve run across and they’re really dedicated to the expansion of it. I think it’s going to be a very cool show.”

I also asked about the possibility of a Civil War (as there were some slight brushstrokes made in CA:TWS) but if there is, it won’t be in Captain America 3. When I asked if a Civil War movie is simply “fangirl hope,” Joe said:

It could be fangirl and fanboy hope, but it’s really a function of “how much story can you fit into this universe”. Certainly we know Thanos is coming…there’s a LOT of story real estate that needs to be covered in order to tee up what is clearly going to be a MASSIVE storyline and would something like Civil War fit into that? I don’t know. It’s complex – a lot of characters – and Marvel doesn’t have ownership over some of the key players in that civil war, so I’d say it’s probably doubtful, but I don’t run Marvel so I can never say to you that it COULDN’T happen – but it’s probably pretty unlikely.

Before I go, I should warn you not to expect to see anymore surprise appearances from any other “Community” cast members in CA3. Joe said that “Pudi’s cameo was really a function of two things: 1) Danny’s a really good friend of ours and a phenomenal guy, and 2) we knew it would add a component to the movie where if we stuck him in there, “Community” fans as a function of “‘is’ or ‘isn’t’ he Abed?” and that (“Community” writer/creator) Dan Harmon could have fun with that…but that’s why we felt the cameo worked. I don’t know necessarily if it makes any sense to cameo anyone else (other than the satisfaction of “Community” fans); I think we’ve already played that card.”

And with that, my time with The Russos ended, as they needed to go downstairs to the waiting throngs of fans lining up to get their copies of CA:TWS Blu-ray (and for some, a limited edition lithograph print from the film) signed by Joe and Anthony.

But not before they busted me singing, “This was the best day ever because I got to meet The Russos,” (I thought they’d already left but they were standing behind me) –  they laughed when I turned around and saw them and jokingly hung my head while saying, “Haha, dang it. I didn’t mean for you to hear that!”

Still, though…best day ever.

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Cricket Lee
Star Wars fangirl. Named Best Kisser by Time Magazine. CEO/Host: Girl Gamer; host of Gecken: GeekNation; writer: Dread Central. You'll have a crush on me soon. Vote Quimby. Twitter: @crixlee