As far as Marvel Studios' Phase Two films have been concerned, it's fair to say that Captain America: The Winter Soldier has probably been met with the least amount of curiosity and/or excitement. Captain America: The First Avenger was one of the lowest-earning Marvel Phase One films, and the hiring of the Russo Brothers (Community, Arrested Development) as directors didn't exactly instill skeptical fans with confidence. Add to that heavy subplots involving S.H.I.E.L.D. and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Captain America 2 quickly felt like it was underserving its titular character in the same way The Avengers did.
Well, the tide of opinion may soon change thanks to Comic-Con 2013; our Rob Keyes is already making the claim that Winter Soldier may be the most entertaining and action-packed Marvel movie yet.
While at Comic-Con 2013 we had the chance to sit down with the supporting cast members of The Winter Soldier for a little Q&A, including:
- Anthony Mackie as The Falcon - Cap's high-flying S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent buddy.
- Emily VanCamp as Agent 13 - Cap's mysterious new liason in S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow / Crossbones - a mercenary hunting Cap.
As always, the Marvel movie stars were locked down under a blanket of secrecy, but we did get to know a little bit more about their characters and the overall story/thematic arc of Captain America: The Winter Soldier in general:
Let’s go around and start with the basics talk about who each of you are playing, talk a little bit about your characters and how they are going to be realized in this version of the Marvel movie universe.
Emily VanCamp: I play Agent 13 Sharon Carter which everyone knows but we don’t really touch on that in this film. We’re just sort of introducing her. When we first see her we realize she’s living next to Captain America we don’t know why I can’t really tell you why. But they sort of have a little thing going on and as we all know in the comic books they had a love affair off and on for years. They had a very complicated relationship. It’s almost as if they are planting the seeds now. Sort of leaving room to go wherever they want to go with it. It’s fun.
Frank Grillo: Rumlow, Brock Rumlow slash Crossbones [is the character I’m playing]. It’s kind of the same thing, introducing the character and he is a bad ass guy. Pretty much beats the shit out of everyone in the movie and that’s really it. I can’t really say why he does that or who he is - we’re not allowed to give too much away. But I’m sure [Anthony will] tell you a lot about falcon.
Anthony Mackie: Yes I will. I didn’t get any talking points I can say whatever I want.
Frank Grillo: You didn’t get any talking points?
Anthony Mackie: Nothing they just said go. I got a computer I wrote my own.
Frank Grillo: Let’s go: what do you got?
I know when a lot of fans heard [about Falcon] they thought Falcon is a hard [character] to realize; let’s talk about your version of Falcon, who’s obviously more military based, and his technology and all of that.
Anthony Mackie: The Falcon and the way in which they are introducing him now is more of the later version of him. He’s more of a military operative soldier and even in the comic books as well of the film he and Captain America form a bond that’s not like a work bond like Batman and Robin is more of a friendship, a camaraderie and a lot of it has to do with their military background which all military people will understand and agree with and they even say in the comic book. He’s more so of Cap’s friend than he is his servant or his coworker.
Emily, when you were preparing to do this role was there anything you had to play off of Hayley Atwell’s performance or did you get room to kind of do your own thing?
Emily VanCamp: You know it’s kind of…I’m not allowed to talk about too much in terms of their relationship and her connection in this film with Peggy. Definitely you want to do your research and know what you are sort of getting into. In terms of mimicking we’re talking about different generations and I think this whole movie had a different feel from that film and everyone was sort of bringing that to it.
What kind of feel does THIS film have?
Emily VanCamp: First of all it’s modern day so there’s not that period element to it. When I met with the Russo brothers they kept bringing up [having this] 70s thriller type of feel. Just rooting the performances in reality and giving it just a real feel that it could actually be happening right now as oppose to something so heightened. I think it really seems like they’ve accomplished that.
Frank Grillo: Yes and it’s very political the movie, it’s more of a political thriller.
Frank Grillo: It’s more of—I don’t think I’m letting the cat out of the bag—it’s more of two sides of an idea than it is good vs evil. It’s not Batman and Robin vs The Joker it really is a smarter version of what a lot of these superhero movies are.
Could you tell me, thematically, what the idea is?
Frank Grillo: You know…I can’t I really can’t. I don’t know what to say. If you want to think about North and South Korea I don’t think who’s bad who’s good for us we know who we think is bad or good but if you’re talking to the people themselves it’s two sides of a very [complex story].
[SIDE NOTE] Actress Cobie Smulders, who plays S.H.I.E.L.D. operative Maria Hill, shed a bit more light on this two-sided war of ideas Grillo mentioned, indicating that it has to do (at least in part) with S.H.I.E.L.D.'s attempt to maintain order and control in the world, after the game-changing revelations of the battle of New York:
We’ve seen a lot of the designs for costumes certainly Anthony we’ve seen the design for [Falcon] but we haven’t seen the design for Crossbones yet is there anything you could tell me about the costume design?
Anthony Mackie: He [Crossbones] just shows up in boxer shorts.
Frank Grillo: In the early stages of introducing the character it is very military based and in the pictures that have been out it is a kind of classic, special ops kind of look for the character right now.
Do we get to see you in the skull face?
Frank Grillo: I can’t tell you.
We later got a chance to pitch Grillo and Mackie similar questions - just to see if they stayed consistent - while on the press lines for Winter Soldier. Watch that below:
Speaking of "military based": I know that some concept art was launched right before we all came to Comic-Con and it was a pretty epic battle scene - I think it seemed like it was at the end of the movie. Could you guys talk about working with the Russos and maybe some of those big action sequences?
Anthony Mackie: The action aspect of this movie is really interesting because I’ve never done anything like it before it’s more live action than CGI. They’ve really stayed true to the idea of all of us—not even our stunt man—doing a lot of our stuff. So you have Sebastian [Stan] strapped to the top of a car going down a highway in Cleveland and you have me jumping off a five or four-story platform, plunging face-first to the concrete.
Frank Grillo: We were on high wires. We were 50-60 feet in the air on wires dropping down. They really made us do [these stunts] when you see our faces, it’s our faces.
Just to wrap it up I guess I’ll direct this to Anthony, everyone is going crazy right now they just made this Superman/Batman announcement from WB - so can you give me some good Avengers news? Anything about Avengers 2 you want to say?
Anthony Mackie: I can tell you this about Avengers 2, this is breaking news no one knows this ok? So I’ll probably get in trouble for this…everyone who is in Avengers 1 is in Avengers 2. Deal with that!
But the important part is: Are you [in Avengers 2]?
Anthony Mackie: I don’t know, I don’t know if you don’t know - there’s no way I can know. Every time I go online you all know more about me than I know about myself. I didn’t even know I was in Captain America!
He's (slightly) joking of course; and when the first footage from Captain America: The Winter Soldier comes online, we're pretty sure everyone is going to know that Falcon is in this movie (Caaaaw!).
Captain America: The Winter Soldier will be in theaters on April 4, 2014.