Captain America: The Winter Soldier Roundtable Interviews

Winter SoldierIn multiple swanky hotel rooms at The Dorchester Hotel in London, press from all around the world found themselves in rotating sessions of Captain America: The Winter Soldier cast and crew members giving some of the most entertaining roundtable interviews around.

Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, and Anthony and Joe Russo were all there on the day, and MCM Buzz brings you the highlights of the very best moments that came from those chats.

WARNING! There may be spoilers!

First off was Samuel L. Jackson, who plays Nick Fury in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. A bad motherf#cker to the end, Jackson took questions while oozing cool and sipping on tea.

On the angle Captain America: The Winter Soldier takes in regards to discussions on terrorism, espionage, and the like:

Samuel L. Jackson: “As an event movie that has a political bend and somewhat of an interesting storyline is something we haven’t seen. It’s very different. And I think it makes the audience enjoyment of this particular film a little better than it could be. Some kids coming into the movie might say, ‘Whoa, I’ve got to think? There’s a plot? Wait a minute, where’s all the blowing up stuff?’ Then there are other people who will be attracted to the film when they find out it does have some purpose and some intent and does make a statement about those kinds of things and the price of freedom in other ways. Captain America is Captain America, but he’s from another era. And his idea of freedom is different than the idea of freedom we have now. That whole position of pointing guns at the people you’re protecting also is sort of a new concept. Everybody being spied on is a new concept to a lot of people, but I felt that way since the 60s, so…I don’t know why everyone is so surprised!”

On research, watching movies and preparing for the role of Nick Fury:

Captain America The Winter Soldier (Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury)Samuel L. Jackson: “I do my homework, but I watch movies all the time. It’s not like I have to find specific movies that inform me on who this character is and how they should act. I read graphic novels, I read comic books, I know who S.H.I.E.L.D. is, I know who The Invincibles are, what The Avengers and all these other people represent in my heart and in my head of what I should do and how I should represent that particular character to be faithful to what everybody who does the same things I do believe. There’s no special preparation in that.

In our case, we have two directors who are brand new to the Marvel world. So when they come in and they have their idea on how this is supposed to work and how that is supposed to work. And all that’s great. The majority of the times when we as actors show up on a movie set, most of us have been on the average movie set more than the actual director (laughs) so, sometimes you have to say, ‘Look, let me do this. You set up the shot, I’ll do this thing, and you’ll look at it and if you don’t like it we’ll talk about it and I’ll tell you why you should like it, then we move on.’”

On projects he would like to do: 

Samuel L. Jackson: “I used to want to do a western a lot because I watched a lot of them while I was growing up, and I tend to be attracted to things I would have gone to see when I was a kid. I take those things in when they come across my desk, I go ‘Wow! I want to be in that!’ So now I’m going to be doing Tarzan this summer, because I used to watch Tarzan movies! I always wanted to be in one, so now I’m going to be in one. I don’t think about directors, I think about stories.”

On discovering his likeness as Nick Fury in the Marvel Ultimates series:

Samuel L. Jackson: “That day when I was in the comic book store and I picked it up and I saw it, I went: ‘I don’t remember giving anybody approval to use my likeness.’ I called my manager and said, ‘Did you guys talk to Marvel or somebody about using my face in a comic book?’ and they went ‘No’. So I said, ‘Well…they did and you need to call them and find out what that all means’. That was before I even opened the comic book. I read it and they said, ‘If they made a movie about us who would you want to play you?’ and he goes ‘Samuel L. Jackson’ and I go ‘Right!’ And she calls and says, ‘Well we are planning to make a movie and we were hoping Sam will do it’. Even better. As the day progressed I felt better and better and better about it. But I’ve been looking at Nick Fury forever. So to have him turn out to be me even before I knew it was gonna happen was a huge compliment. So, there was no way to be angry about that. Just kinda figured out who’s gonna profit from it.” 

 

As Samuel L. Jackson left graciously and leaving us with smiles across our faces, Chris Evans coolly and casually enters. With a face full of beard, and a drink in hand, Evans trades niceties between some yawns and stretches. Sitting down to begin the roundtable, the room suddenly fills with the wonder of Scarlett Johansson’s talent and beauty, completing the ensemble for the next line of great questions and answers.

On the “Big Brother” themes of Captain America: The Winter Soldier:

Chris Evans: “I think this movie is relevant in a lot of ways. It dives into some very topical subjects that I think we all have our opinions on. It’s a grey area – how far you’re willing to allow your government to infringe upon your privacy and civil liberties to ensure safety and security. It’s a topic I necessarily haven’t fallen on one side of the fence or the other and when all that Snowden stuff came out it was just so relevant and applicable at the time, we were actually rather lucky it was coming to the surface right now because it really has a lot of parallels in this script.”

On playing more emotional scenes that built character, including a scene with Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell):

Chris Evans: “Isn’t she great? Hayley Atwell, I can’t say enough about her. She’s so good. She’s so talented.”

(Added point on how it’s good to have moments like that throughout an action-packed flick)

Captain America The Winter Soldier (Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Chris Evans as Steve Rogers)Chris Evans: “I think without those moments the movie won’t work, you can’t only have explosions and special effects. You need character arc. One of my favourite scenes in the movie, my favourite scene is when we’re in the bedroom, we’re at Mackie’s place, the Falcon’s place, and [Black Widow] kind of has a really, really sweet moment when it’s the first moment you really see Black Widow really show uncertainly, vulnerability, kind of like a crack in the armour, and it’s just so human and it’s what makes these movies have depth and not what makes it lean solely on special effects and throwing punches.”

On female characters and the development of Black Widow’s character:

Scarlett Johansson: “I had a lot of ideas about the trauma of her past and the kind of grey area she sort of exists in. Otherwise I wouldn’t know what I would be doing. I don’t think there would be anything for me to do. I mean certainly I could sit around but that would be a waste of my time and their time and I would be miserable in the end, an unhappy actor on that set. 

It’s changing. I think it would be interesting to see, certainly in Avengers 2 there’s a few more female characters coming in which Joss [Whedon] is just delighted about, and also actors who are really solid female actors. They have pretty think plot lines. I’m happy about it! It’s a good trend!”

 

With the three heavyweights going off to do the rounds on other press roundtables, MCM Buzz and the rest of the group are swiftly surprised by the pure joy that is Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan. There was chemistry before in the room, but nothing as exciting, laid back, and down to earth than with the session with Captain America’s Falcon and The Winter Soldier, respectively.

On playing The Winter Soldier and how he’s played in relation to his background:

Captain America The Winter Soldier (Sebastain Stan as Bucky Barnes The Winter Soldier)Sebastian Stan: “I shot everything chronologically, believe it or not, from the script, so what you see in the movie is like beginning to end. You don’t usually get to do that, and I kind of discovered a lot of how I would do things because of that kind of privellege to have that and be able to do that. You kind of start out as a different person, ultimately, and you kind of filter in some of the aspects of how you used to be from the past.”

On Captain America: The Winter Soldier being a progressive film:

Anthony Mackie: “I think we’re in a day and age where kids deserve someone to look up to. I’m very proud of Scarlett and what she’s been able to do as Black Widow and how little girls can sit back and say, ‘She doesn’t have to have superpowers, she’s just a badass!’ while being cool and a chick. And I like the fact that little brown kids can say, ‘Hey, the Falcon is there now!’, or little green kids can say the Hulk’s there! (Laugher) So, you know… don’t wanna leave out the Martians! (Laughter) I don’t discriminate! 2014, what’s up?!

It’s very important, and I think Marvel has been at the forefront of that, giving people the opportunity to represent every aspect of culture. It’s definitely something that’s on the table and on my mind when I decided to sign onto this project.” 

Sebastian Stan: “Yes! I concur!”

(Laughter)

Anthony Mackie: “He’s like ‘No! Girls shouldn’t fight!’ (Laughter)”

On Marvel offering the part:

Anthony Mackie: “When Marvel offers you a movie, you don’t get a script, you don’t get a storyboard, you don’t get all that stuff. They say ‘We’re Marvel… and we want you to do the movie.’ And you say yes or no. What sold me more than anything was meeting with the Russo Brothers. I was very impressed by their idea of what they wanted this movie to be. They didn’t want to make a superhero movie. I was sold when they told me this movie was about character and story. When you watch it that’s what you see, you get great characters, you get great character development, and you get an awesome story. There just happens to be a lot of action in the middle of it. And I don’t think they really make movies like that anymore. The last time I feel there was a movie like that was Catch Me If You Can, and I feel this movie falls into the vein of Jason Bourne and Catch Me If You Can smashed together. I feel like all of us signed on for that.”

On ignorant fans’ racial backlash to some superhero casting:

Anthony Mackie: “Superman black would be the coolest dude in the world! Imagine Sam Jackson with a cape, walking around…that would be…call him Brotherman! That would be the funniest sh#t, that would be a good movie.”

(Laughter)

Sebastian Stan: “The thing about Sam Jackson being cast as Nick Fury I feel that everyone embraced that. It’s as if I would never be able to see anyone else play him.”

Anthony Mackie: “And I think what a lot of people don’t get is… these people aren’t real! (Laughter) If you cast a black dude as John F. Kennedy, that’s wrong! If you cast a white dude as Martin Luther King, that’s wrong!

These people aren’t real! The suits aren’t real! There aren’t really superheroes in the world!”Captain America The Winter Soldier (Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson The Falcon)

Sebastian Stan: “By the way, you just caused an epidemic. (Laughter) All across the world people are just going ‘Aaaahhhhhhh!!!!!’”

Anthony Mackie: “‘They aren’t real?!?!’ (Laughter) But at some point in time, you have to steep yourself in reality and say, ‘Hey! It’s not about what they look like. It’s about casting a good actor in the role. If you’re sitting at home and you can’t see a black guy as Nick Fury… maybe there’s something wrong with you. Maybe you need counselling. Because he’s not real!”

 

Before overdosing on Mackie’s hilarious, lovable charm and Sebastian Stan’s reserved cool, they bowed out and allowed the final roundtable to commence: A chat with the directors of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Anthony and Joe Russo.

On arguments they have while making films:

Joe Russo: “We’ve been doing it for so long that we’re tired, we don’t care. We’re just like ‘If you wanna do it, you do it.”

Anthony Russo: “We always give to two reactions. People are like ‘Oh, I wish I could work with my sibling!’ or they’re like ‘Oh my god, I could never work with my sibling!’ It’s one or the other.”

Joe Russo: “We grew up with a lot of the same tastes, reading the same books, watching the same movies, so rarely do we disagree that intensely.”

(Follow on question on sharing the work)

Joe Russo: “We don’t divvy it up, we talk through everything…I think the Coens separate it, one of them produces, one of them directs…”

Anthony Russo: “But not anymore, I think in the last couple of movies I think they’ve co-directed.

Every director team is different just like every director is different. It’s just all based on the specifics of personality and that just turns to process, so…”

On their understanding on action movies and influences:

Joe Russo: We’ve said this before, we’re action fetishists. You can tell from Arrested Development, Community, we’re pop culture junkies. We watch every movie, TV show, we’re just like sponges. We’re constantly on the internet reading about things, just because I’m a movie fan, I would go to YouTube and type in ‘Best five Action Sequences’ and just watch them.

We studied the chase scene in The French Connection frame-by-frame when we were 20 years old, just because we loved it so much. Influence-wise, absolutely, like the car chase for Fury…French Connection, To Live and Die in LA, Ronin…we had people break out the clips from those films and just showed it to our stunt team over and over and talked about what it is that we liked about it. The sloppiness of that To Live and Die in LA chase scene where the tyres are going up on the track, and they’re almost getting ripped off the car. For, Heat, Michael Mann’s Heat, for the attack when The Winter Soldier attacks them in the car and it spills out onto the streets. De Palma was actually a big influence. I know he’s not thought of as an action director, but you look at the elevator sequence, you look at Fury trapped in the car, those are really inspired by De Palma’s…”

Anthony Russo: “…Psychological thrillers. That psychological thriller component.”

Joe Russo: “Taking an empathetic character and putting him in an impossible situation and drawing out the tension as long as you possibly can.

The Raid! I love The Raid, [Anthony] and I saw The Raid together, we turned to each other halfway though the movie and went ‘God, the action was so trackable!’ You know? The last 10 years there’s this movement towards implied action, which to me is ‘Meh, it’s cheating’.

(Added comments on the visibility of the action, use of wide angles, and the fantastic fist fights)

Joe Russo: “Those actors worked for months because it was a big mandate of ours, we said ‘We really want to see you on camera doing these things because I think it has an impact on the audience.’ And that’s what we like when we see a movie, I don’t want to be taken out of a film, because I go ‘Well that’s clearly a stunt guy.’”

On Captain America and whether it’s a hard sell overseas:

Joe Russo: “Too jingoistic? Too American? I could assume, I don’t know, I would say, would Americans want to go see a movie called ‘Captain Russia’, I don’t know.”

(Laughter)

Anthony Russo: “Well, right now they don’t.”

(Laughter)

On Warner and DC having any chance catching up with Marvel:

Joe Russo: “The difference between Marvel and DC is Kevin Feige. Marvel has an auteur producer driving the car. At Warners I think it’s, you know, a little bit more patchwork. So you have a visionary at Marvel who can cohese the universe.”

Anthony Russo: “It’s a very unique thing, so…”

Joe Russo: “As a comic book fan, I just want to see good comic book movies made, so it’s not a competitive thing with us. Because I get as excited as anybody else when there’s an awesome… you know, I’m dying to see Superman and Batman. You know, you’re excited, you want it to be good.

But Kevin Feige is the secret sauce at Marvel.”

 

And that’s the very best from the roundtable interviews for Captain America: The Winter Soldier!

Very insightful stuff for people interested in the passion and work that goes into making such a successful and brilliant flick like Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Any things in particular you picked up on? Anything you wish you heard more on? Shoot any thoughts and discussion below in the comments section!

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