Hosted by Edith Bowman and with the majority of the heavy hitters in attendance, the press conference for Captain America: Civil War managed to pull out all the stops as far as levity and non-spoiler insight into Marvel’s latest big screen offering. Your friendly neighbourhood contributor at BRWC has compiled excerpts from that Q&A.
You guys seem like action geeks, action lovers, but what comes across is your action has to have a story. There has to be a story even in set pieces. There’s so much going on within things that you watch. Would you agree with that?
Anthony Russo: Well we actually refer to ourselves as action fetishists. That’s the term for it. For us, action is of a piece with the rest of the storytelling that we do. It has to be a strong expression of narrative and character at every moment and that’s how we find our way through action. In this movie we had such an amazing cast and so many great characters. All the action sequences are designed around how we’re pushing those characters through the movie on a storytelling level.
Joe Russo: Every piece of the action in the movie either has to define character or move the story forward, or it’s vacuous action and I think the audience can only handle about 30 seconds of that before they start to get tired. So we really put a lot of thought and effort into it. It’s also great making these films because action really is an integral component. It really does help us to find the characters in a very dynamic way.
Robert Downey Jr, you spend a fair bit of time out of costume or as a civilian. What difference does this make in maintaining your superhero persona?
Robert Downey Jr: I remember from the beginning trying to establish all the Marvel characters for the most part. How do you humanize them? Make them relatable? I can only relate to someone so often when they’re all “gussied up”.
Civil War is possibly one of the most political superhero movies. It focuses on quite a few real world issues as well as well as things within the superhero world. We live in a pretty complicated world ourselves. If you could choose one superhero to live in our world to try and solve our problems who would it be?
Kevin Feige: It’s a tough one.
Paul Bettany: It’s not that tough Kevin.
Kevin Feige: OK… The Vision. Is that the right answer?
Paul Bettany: I’m just saying. He’s omnipotent and can pick up Thor’s hammer (Mjölnir). I mean… come on.
Kevin Feige: I think if there were leaders who had the morals of both Tony (Stark) and Cap we’d be in a pretty good place.
Chris Evans: No. I don’t like that answer. I want a real answer!
RDJ: I nominate Hawkeye because he retires every ten minutes.
Jeremy Renner: It’s just because it’s so stressful. That’s what it is.
Paul (Rudd), we saw you a little bit with Falcon in Ant-Man, this is your first time with everyone. Was there a group initiation?
Paul Rudd: No, everybody was nice and very welcoming. It was a bit surreal to see everybody in their suits. It was a very welcoming feeling. I felt a little like cousin Oliver coming a joining the rest of the Brady Bunch.
There were a couple of scenes in particular that felt like an injection of your humour. Were you allowed much freedom with ad-libbing and improvising?
Paul Rudd: I think I was, although most of the stuff is written. But these guys were definitely saying, go ahead and play around with it a little bit. That’s part of the fun of a character like Scott Lang. Robert (Downey Jr.) was saying that you want these people to be relatable. This is a guy who wasn’t born with any kind of super ability so it’s fun to see these characters through Scott Lang’s eyes and that’s kind of the way that I felt just being there.
Should we interpret the recruitment of Spider-Man by Tony Stark as him using child soldiers, and if so, what does that say about Iron Man’s character?
Joe Russo: He’s perhaps the most powerful child soldier in the world but… well look… there’s a certain narcissism to the character and Tony doesn’t want to lose this fight. At the same time I think he also sees Spider-Man as the greatest living non-lethal weapon. If you’re going out to capture a bunch of people who you don’t necessarily want to hurt, you couldn’t ask for a better character than Spider-Man.
Anthony Russo: He’s still very irresponsible.
Robert, could you talk a little bit about working with Tom (Holland)?
RDJ: Well, now that two out of three Spider-Men are English I’ve really got to talk (Tobey) Maguire off the ledge. But Mr. Holland, he’s not a work in progress. I mean he’s really something else. I think he came on with a bang and there’s a lot of excitement about what he holds his own.
Daniel, your villain was one of the more sympathetic that Marvel has put out there. His motivations are very understandable.
Daniel Brühl: That’s what attracted me right away because it’s not a cliché, stereotype “villain”. He has his very human motivations. He has his reasons. That gives the character depth and makes him ambivalent.
There’s a real tenderness to this superhero film. Was that something that you guys talked about in terms of your relationship and what it would’ve been like in the past?
Chris Evans: Yeah. The best parts of the movie in my opinion is when you have these guys who shared a battlefield together, like any guy who’s been in war will tell you, that once you actually risk your life in obscene war with someone then that’s your brother for life, and they were brothers even before that. And given that they both have gone through such trauma, they’ve each lost, Bucky more so than me. But as a result we both have even more of a connection and more of a bond, and we are the last remaining chapter of a previous life. It really transcends that family dynamic that we’ve built in The Avengers where you see a guy like Cap who typically does what people need and in this movie he does kind of what he wants, and he prioritizes his personal needs over the needs of the masses and it’s all because of this brotherhood foundation they’ve built.
We see new characters coming in to join the team. In the process of putting that idea together how did you know who was coming in and where they were going to be?
Kevin Feige: There were a lot of characters went back and forth for a while before we landed on the make up of the teams. But in terms of the addition of Tom Holland as Spider-Man and Chadwick Boseman, who was unbelievably awesome as Black Panther, it came from the story. We are telling Civil War, we have Cap’s side, we have Tony’s side and we wanted to bring in somebody who wasn’t allied with either side. Black Panther in the comics is great because he doesn’t really give a shit about either of the sides. He has his own agenda. It was about quarter of the way through the development process when we thought this would be the time to bring in Panther.
What are Nick Fury and Maria Hill doing during the events of Civil War?
Joe Russo: You’ll find out soon.
Anthony Russo: There is story around where they are. It’s story that’s coming down the road in future movies.
How early in the whole MCU process did Civil War come about?
Kevin Feige: It was before the MCU even existed. We were just beginning to dream about even maybe becoming our studio and getting financing. It was a little over ten years ago which is when Civil War was published, and it was an amazing comic story and I remember reading it every month when it came out and thinking, “it would probably be impossible, but wouldn’t it be cool someday to do this”. It wasn’t until about two and a half years ago that we thought now is the time. We’ve assembled enough players. We can do it now.
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