Captain America: Civil War opens in theaters on May 6.
Captain America: Civil War focuses on a rift between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark, growing to encompass the entire Avengers team plus some new additions to the cast. While the movie is full of tense moments and strained friendships, it was nothing but smiles and good-natured ribbing at the Captain America: Civil War press conference earlier this month. I got to attend the press conference where the actors, directors and producer took questions from gathered media and the moderator, Grae Drake of Rotten Tomatoes.
Given the number of heroes on the ever-growing team and the size of the venue, the conference was split into two panels, Team Captain America and Team Iron Man. The Team Iron Man panel was up first, featuring Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man), Don Cheadle (James Rhodes/War Machine), Paul Bettany (Jarvis/Vision), Emily Van Camp (Sharon Carter/Agent 13), Kevin Fiege (producer, president of Marvel Studios) and Anthony Russo (co-director). The panel was characterized by the rapport between Downey, Bettany and Cheadle.
Anthony Russo discussed the much anticipated entrance of Spiderman, as seen in a recent trailer, and other characters:
Russo: So to bring in characters like Spiderman, like Ant-Man into the movie, who don’t have that baggage, it gave us an opportunity as story-tellers to bring new colors into the film at a deep place in the movie, lighter colors, more whimsical colors. And I think it just balanced that big fight-out that they all have with one another at the airport in a really nice way. We tried to find very organic ways that those characters found their ways into the movie.
Paul Bettany discussed filming the airport scene from the trailer, which finds the two teams facing off head-to-head and was filmed during the summer in Atlanta, Georgia:
Bettany: We all got out there and you’re there in the airport and you’re thinking “How are they going to realize this epic battle, visually?” And you look at everybody, and you look around, and everybody’s in their costume like superheroes and movie stars, and then like five minutes later in 105 degrees they look a lot less like movie stars and a lot less like superheroes.
The conference closed with a semi-technical comic book question for Robert Downey, Jr., who took it in stride:
Downy: Listen, just because you know more about stuff than I do [laughter] … I have an incomplete education, which brings me back to, this is why I’ve always continued to like to [depict] Tony. Tony is a guy who is, essentially, pretty broken and narcissistic, and over the course of all of these movies he’s kind of waking up to that and realizing it, and just trying to heal and become a better person. Which I think you can say across the board for pretty much all of the characters.
Next up was Team Captain America. On the panel was Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon), Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant-Man), Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch), Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton/Hawkeye), Joe Russo (co-director) and Kevin Fiege (producer, president of Marvel Studios). After responding to Team Iron Man’s smack talk (Mackie: That’s because they’re old.), the panel got down to business.
Joe Russo answered a question about balancing plot with action:
Russo: Action is very important to us, these movies are about action, the characters express themselves through action, action has to have story-telling to it [to not be] superficial, you’ll get tired of an action sequence if it’s not either defining a character or moving the story forward in some way.
Chris Evans discussed how the character of Steve Rogers as Captain America has evolved over the course of the films:
Evans: In terms of who he has been throughout the arc of his character, he’s always kind of fought for the greater good, he’s always kind of put the needs of the masses before his own desires, and that’s exactly what’s different in this film. Instead of kind of dedicating himself towards what others need in this film, he kind of prioritizes what he wants, which is a departure from what he’s normally allegiant to.
Bucky Barnes plays a more prominent role in this film than in the first two Captain America movies, and Sebastian Stan spoke on how the two very personas of Barnes and the Winter Soldier collide in Civil War:
Stan: I think [the writers] were the ones who figured the temperature of Bucky Barnes. How much of the guy is back from the first movie, how much of the Winter Soldier is there, and for me it was just sort of taking it off the page and following it from them.
Scarlet Witch plays a part in kicking off the conflict of the movie, and Elizabeth Olsen discussed the character’s evolution since her introduction in Avengers: Age of Ultron:
Olsen: I think what’s interesting is every superhero has a weakness, and I’ve always thought of hers as she’s the person who get’s in her way and [otherwise] she’s kind of limitless. That’s to me an interesting character trait… I think of her as being like an incredibly strong, powerful person.
For more on Captain America: Civil War, come back next week for my full review of the film!