At Comic-Con 2013, the cast of Captain America: The Winter Soldier previewed what’s in store for Marvel’s Phase Two. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo, actors Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson, were joined by newcomers Anthony Mackie and Emily Van Camp to discuss the sequel. The film opens by pitting Steve Rogers against his former friend Bucky Barnes, who’s now known as the maniacal Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).
On the differences between The First Avenger and The Winter Solider:
Joe Russo: The movie is very different in tone from the first film. The first film was a wonderful love letter to the origin of the Captain of the time period. Cap is now in the modern world. The movie is a political thriller. In order to be germane to that tone, we wanted the movie to be as modern and as edgy and as aggressive as it could be ‘cause you can’t have thrills in a thriller unless the characters have real stakes and real jeopardy. Cap gets put through a lot in this film. It’s action-heavy. It’s a very intense movie.
Johansson and Evans on why Cap and Black Widow reunite:
Scarlett Johansson: This film is in real time, so it’s been two years and we’re both Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. We’re fighting on the ground. It’s not like we have these superpowers that we use, and fly around. We have a short-hand between us. We fight in a similar style. It’s very much a working relationship. Through a series of unfortunate events, they find themselves in a situation where they’re working relationship becomes a more intimate friendship. They have some unexpected similarities between them. They have their guard up and they have their trust issues. They also have both been working for “the man” for their entire professional careers. Through this unexpected friendship that forms, they’re starting to question what they want, and they start to question their own identity.
Evans on playing the All-American Hero:
Chris Evans: To be candid, the hurdle with Captain America is that his nature is to put himself last. His nature is to take everyone else’s conflict and put it on his back. As a result, it makes it difficult to find an interesting film. Most complex characters have flaws, and Cap is a Boy Scout. The first Captain America film was about giving him the opportunity to serve and be a soldier. In The Avengers, you had so many other characters and all of these establishments of relationships, so you can’t dive too deeply into any individual character. This movie is about showing Cap now. Given the opportunity to serve and given the ability to give of himself, the question now becomes, ‘What’s right?’… In the ‘40s, it was very easy to say, ‘Nazis are bad.’ We can all agree on that. Today, it’s a little bit harder to know, ‘Who am I serving?,’ with modern technology and access. Where is the line? What are we willing to compromise, in terms of civil liberties to ensure security? That’s where it gets blurry for Cap.
Evans on the challenges of returning to the role for a third time:
Chris Evans: Just trying to meet the bar with which Marvel has set. You have all these fantastic movies with fantastic people. Every time Marvel releases a movie, it’s better than the last one. You just want to make sure you’re not the weak link in the chain, I suppose. You have all of these really talented people coming together, and you just want to make sure you do your part.
Johansson on Marvel changing up the roles of superheroines:
Scarlett Johansson: Well, most superheroine films are simply not really good. They’re just not well made. They fall back on this hair-flipping, posey, hands-on-hips thing. We do a little bit of that, of course, because it’s important that it looks good, but I’ve really had a great opportunity. Joss really set the bar in The Avengers to really celebrate these female characters that are usually bookends or ornaments in the film, to sell the sex appeal. He was such a pioneer in really flushing out these characters, starting with Black Widow, and really making her a character that could get punched in the face and could deliver the blow, and was an intelligent, complex, really strong female character for this series. It’s been a real pleasure for me to play those multi-layers and to really be able to act, and not just pose. Our characters have some real storylines here. We’re not just the romantic interest, and thank God for that. It makes our jobs interesting and interesting to watch too.
Mackie and Russo on how much Falcon will be in the film:
Joe Russo: Anthony used to ask us that question, almost every day. There was about 5 percent of Falcon in the film, and then we cast Anthony Mackie and now there’s 95% of Falcon.
Anthony Mackie: ‘Cause I would just show up and walk into the scenes in full wardrobe. I didn’t care. I had no lines. Growing up, my brother was a huge comic book person, and he always showed me the comic books with Black Panther and Falcon. So, when I heard about Falcon and was given the opportunity to meet with the Russos, and we talked about it and what they wanted to do with the character, the reason it worked so well is that the two of them had the ability to give dignity and substance to a character without making him heavy and hokey. What was so cool about the script, where it is now, and being able to work on it as an actor, was having a three-dimensional real person that just happens to be a tactical expert that can fly. I think if the Falcon is added to The Avengers’ world, I’m looking for the opportunity to take down Iron Man, so I’ll be the only flying Avenger. Thor don’t count. The hammer flies. He don’t fly!
Joe Russo: It’s a character that’s very personal to us. We’ve been collecting comics since we were kids, and one of the first books we ever bought was a Cap/Falcon book, so we have a real affinity for the character. We can’t tell you exactly how much he’s in, but the Captain is looking for a friend in the modern world. He lost everyone and everything that he knew, and Falcon could be that guy, if that gives you a hint.
Emily Van Camp on joining the Marvel universe. She teases a ‘surprising’ character:
Emily Van Camp: I can’t say too much about the character. I think people have a certain idea about what I’m meant to be playing, but I think they’ll be surprised about how we introduce this character. Compared to other things that I’ve done, everything has been a little bit different to this. It was certainly a challenging experience and an exciting experience. I had so much fun playing this part. I can’t say too much about how we introduce her. You’ll just have to go see the movie. But, it was a great experience .
Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens in theaters April 4th.