Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the second chapter in the thrilling Captain America movie franchise. The exhilarating story follows Marvel’s First Avenger, Captain America, along with Black Widow and their new ally The Falcon as they battle their most mysterious and powerful enemy yet, the Winter Soldier.
With the blockbuster superhero movie about to be released on 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD, we catch up with producer Kevin Feige to find out about his experience on the iconic Marvel project…
How does the tone of Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier compare to the tone of the first Captain America movie?
They are very different. Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier is an action film and a contemporary thriller; and it takes place entirely in the modern day. Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger was a World War II film. Steve Rogers’ origin is in World War II and that was very important to introduce his character, but at the end of that film we see his first adventure in the modern day. This film is all about Steve’s experience in finally coming to terms with living in the modern day. It gave us an opportunity to make a very, very different film.
How would you describe your experience of working with the movie’s two directors, Anthony and Joe Russo?
It was great. The Russo brothers have done an amazing job for us on this movie. It’s the first time we’d ever worked with two directors, so we weren’t quite sure what to expect – but they’ve been director-partners for many years and they’ve been brothers their entire life. They certainly have the banter down pat.
Why did you decide to hire the brothers to direct this huge Marvel blockbuster?
We have a very simple way that we choose directors at Marvel. They have to have done something we felt was really cool, at least once, but it doesn’t have to be another big movie. I love the work that the Russos have done on TV, in particular with Arrested Development and Community, which is much cooler than any televised sitcom has reason to be. We got them in the room because I was a fan.
How did that first meeting go?
We started pitching them the storyline and the 70s thriller theme, and they immediately got it and started building on it. They’re very, very clever and they elevate material. That’s what we wanted, somebody to take our ideas for a contemporary version of Captain’s story and to translate The Winter Soldier comic book by Ed Brubaker onto the screen. They pulled it off.
What’s the first step in the process of translating a comic book story to the big screen? And how faithful do you remain to the original stories?
All of our movies start with a pile of comics and a blank sheet of paper. In this case, the comics were Brubaker’s The Winter Soldier run because it was so well done. The tone of that comic was of a conspiracy thriller and we wanted this tone for the movie. Plus, the main antagonist, the Winter Soldier, is revealed to have a very deep connection with Captain America. We love that. Whenever you can find a villain who has such a personal connection to your hero, you run at the chance to use it. We changed some things because the story has to take place in our cinematic universe, but mainly we wanted to keep to what the comic had established.
What does the dynamic between Captain America and the Winter Soldier bring to Steve’s character?
Well, so much of this movie is about Captain coming to terms with the fact that he can never go back to where he’s from. He can’t return to the 1940s, so when he thinks he’s finding his place in this world and he’s learning how to deal with it, something from the past comes back and unsettles all of that. That thing, of course, is the Winter Soldier.
Can you talk about the pairing of Black Widow and Captain America in Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier?
The notion of teaming Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson as Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff [aka Black Widow] was very exciting to us. On the surface, Steve is very black and white with a very moralistic centre. Black Widow has been a spy since she was a little girl and she deals – like Nick Fury does – in shades of gray. Putting those two together was going to add to a lot of fun conflict.
Robert Redford brings a lot of cachet to Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Why was it so important to cast him as Alexander Pierce?
It was the highlight of our careers at Marvel to have Mr. Redford come on board. This film was designed to be a big Marvel action film but, at the same time, we wanted it to be a kind of political thriller. When you look at the best political thrillers from the 1970s, almost all of them starred Robert Redford. Three Days Of The Condor was a big influence for us. And I think he recognized that. He has grandkids that are fans of our films and he said he wanted to do a movie that his grandkids could see. It was beyond perfect.
How would you describe your experience of working with Robert Redford?
It was an amazing experience. Having him play Alexander Pierce – the man who recruited Nick Fury into S.H.I.E.L.D many years ago – allowed us to continue to explore the mythology of S.H.I.E.L.D and of Marvel. It was amazing to have an actor of the caliber of Robert Redford in the center of that.
Can you explain how the political thrillers of the 1970s inspired Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier?
We want all our movies to be in slightly different genres and to be different from each other. We would get bored making and watching these movies if they were all cookie-cutter copies of each other. Iron Man 3 is different from Thor: The Dark World, which is different from the 70s thriller of The Winter Soldier. We are still in a big Marvel action adventure movie but we add a different texture and tone. The elements of Captain America being on the run and struggling with a looming conspiracy within the government and S.H.I.E.L.D set this one apart.
As you branch off into more sequels and other franchises, what key components do you look for in a story?
You always want to make sure that it’s a story you want to revisit. With Captain America, it made sense to do another one because we hadn’t spent much time with him in the modern world. In the first movie, he wakes up in modern day New York at the end of the film. In The Avengers, he has no time to breathe because he is meeting all these other characters and he’s battling with aliens. This is the first time he can settle into what his life means in modern day.
Why do you think Captain America has become such a popular and endearing character to audiences around the world, and not just the American market?
I think people relate to the character of Steve Rogers more than his nationality. There is a wish-fulfillment aspect to him; he’s a good and noble guy, and people aspire to be that. He isn’t affected by ego or wealth; he is the polar opposite of Tony Stark [Iron Man].
What is your proudest achievement in creating this epic, new Captain America movie?
For me, it was the tone. The idea of doing a sequel to a film – or a sequel to two films because this is really a sequel to The Avengers as much as it is a sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger – is a delicate balance. It was difficult to say that we were going to do a sequel and make it in a different genre from the first one. That is what our directors, the Russo brothers, pulled off in an incredible way. I couldn’t be happier with the result.
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