Captain America: Civil War Set Visit Report: Choosing Sides

[Updated with more interview links - Robert Downey Jr., Anthony and Joe Russo, Chadwick Boseman, etc. and more coming!]

In late summer, 2014, we had the opportunity to travel to the new, top of the line Pinewood Studios outside of Atlanta. Marvel's Ant-Man was shooting here, the first film production at the brand new facility. We were told at the time that the studio lot we saw was just the beginning and that Pinewood would add several times more stages and facilities over the next few years. There was even a Home Depot on the lot, just for productions.

Skip forward nearly a year to June 8-10, 2015, and Marvel Studios is back in Atlanta yet again, this time with a much larger cast, and a much bigger job to do. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo and the largest roster of Avengers ever assembled were choosing sides for Captain America: Civil War, the 'biggest scope' movie from Marvel yet – according to those making it.

On the first day our large group of 17 online journalists head to the set in the late afternoon, the same day another large group of international press were conducting another set visit. We're only brought in on this day since Chadwick Boseman and Robert Downey Jr. were both there supporting #TeamIronMan for the media, coming in just for the interviews since Boseman wasn't working that day (although on Day Two we saw the first time Black Panther costume was on set) and RDJ not working at all that week.

Captain America Civil War - Cap vs Iron Man promo art

Click here for Chadwick Boseman Interview

  • Very interested in Wakanda history and culture – he was guarded in interview but Russos describe him as extremely passionate for the character, doing his own research to ground Wakanda in the real world, figuring out where it would be in Africa and designing an accent that fits.
  • He's a politician, a monarch, a prince, and unlike other Marvel superheroes, nothing about him is secret. His people know the tradition, know he's a warrior and worships him, expecting him to do what's necessary to protect them.
  • Says Wakanda is not in this film but we'll get a sense of it. I asked him if it's a secretive, high-tech society and Boseman smiled and dodged, repeating a previous answer.
  • Says solo movie story is being broken. There's a lot to draw from. Tries to share idea with us that there's always possibility of making it a prequel. That last part is unlikely, and outside of Captain America: The First Avenger, all MCU films generally take place in the timeline when they release in theaters. Civil War for instance is a year after the events of Age of Ultron.

Click here for Robert Downey Jr. Interview

  • Sporting another Bruce Lee tee, this one pink, matching his stylish pink hat.
  • Jokes about Ant-Man, praises Marvel's formula and the Russos, says they describe it to him as the "Godfather of superhero movies" and pokes fun at how big of a statement that really is.
  • Very much hopes (or is teasing Marvel) about Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) having a part to play.

After these two interviews we got back on the shuttle and headed back to the hotel. These two were guarded and divulged little, and on set, we didn't watch any shooting, see any sets or anything. Our real visit began on day two.

On day two, our full day, we began early, meeting at 8:15 AM and arriving on set nearly four hours earlier than the day before. There were a lot of interviews to fit in and the unit publicist wanted to let us watch a key scene (the "splash page" IMAX sequence) being shot before we left in the late afternoon. We were walked into the same building as the day before, empty, with lots of waiting in between a lengthy series of group interviews.

After seeing how guarded the cast was the year prior on the set of Avengers: Age of Ultron, where Chris Evans was hesitant to even mention that Ultron had an army and we weren't allowed in the art room, we were prepared to learn little to nothing about Civil War. Thankfully, the cast interviews were hilarious, and the interviews with writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, producer Nate Moore, and directors Anthony and Joe Russo were informative. Costume designer Chris Smith revealed the most but we'll talk about that at a later date. Throughout this report we'll link to interviews as they go live on and list highlights from each.

Click here for Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely Interview

Markus and McFeely are the writing backbone of the main story of the MCU. They wrote all three Captain America movies and are already at work on Avengers: Infinity War, serving to bookend both sides of Phase 3. Interview highlights:

  • Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) is still a factor in that she still has an effect on Steve Rogers.
  • Civil War avoids the cosmic threads. Think grounded, Earth-based like The Winter Soldier, instead of the Avengers movies with their alien and Infinity Stone connections.
  • Black Panther has a great place in Civil War. He's "better" than Cap and Iron Man, represents the bigger picture idea that their quabbles don't matter to him.
  • When it comes to picking sides (and the film isn't clear cut like that, but for the sake of discussing…), Black Widow has the toughest choice of all the characters. Note: the Russos add to this in a big way later saying they made a big, tough choice in designing Widow's arc in this film.
  • They don't want Steve Rogers to be a "boy scout." That's a term used by Evans frequently in his first years playing the character. The goal is to have audiences split on who they side with. Note: Russos also expand on this explaining that every time Stark or Rogers goes to far or pulls back, the other must too in order to maintain balance.
  • Tony Stark has a very personal reason for doing what he does, something that happens to him early in the film
  • Captain America: Civil War takes place all over the world.

Click here for Chris Evans and Sebastian Stan Interview

Captain America: Civil War Bucky and Steve Team-Up Stance

Speaking with a pair of Captain Americas from Marvel Comics we didn't learn much. The pair were the most guarded since Evans is afraid to disobey Marvel and poor Mr. Stan had a sheet of paper outling everything he couldn't talk about (which in fact, was practically everything). We hit on a few good topics through:

  • Civil War picks up tonally and from a story standpoint from where Captain America: The Winter Soldier concluded.
  • The Bucky-Steve relationship is central to the main story of Captain America: Civil War.
  • Bucky is a very different person this time around, Steve not so much.
  • Evans looks forward to his scenes with Scarlett Johansson, and Stan is excited about working with Paul Bettany's Vision.

Click here for Elizabeth Olsen & Jeremy Renner Interview

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