This past Sunday I had the amazing opportunity to go to the “Captain America: Civil War” press conference at the London Hotel in Beverly Hills. Having been able to see the movie the day before, I was incredibly excited to hear the amazing panel elaborate more on their characters and the making-of this epic film. Walking into the hotel, the lobby was packed full of other members of the press, all of us eagerly waiting to see the men and women behind our favorite superhero movies of all time, every Marvel fan’s dream!
Going with the theme of the Avengers being divided by their opinions of how they should be operated, there were two back-to-back panels; one for Team Iron Man and one for Team Captain America. On the Team Iron Man panel, there was co-director Anthony Russo, producer Kevin Feige, Paul Bettany (Vision), Emily Van Camp (Sharon Carter), Don Cheadle (War Machine/James Rhodes), and of course Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man).
Kevin Feige is the producer of this film, as well as the president of Marvel Studios. In hearing him speak, it is clear to see that he is passionate about the work he does, and has a genuine love for each and every film, character, and even scene in a Marvel movie. Feige said that he is in absolute awe of the line-up of talent in “Captain America: Civil War”, and is admiring not only of the actors when they are performing as their characters, but also of the character and scene work the actors put into this film off camera. Feige said, “There’s never been an ensemble like this in cinematic history.” He strongly believes that every character has an important message, purpose, and inspiration. Feige has been able to of course have a longer relationship with characters such as Iron Man and Captain America, having worked on many of the films surrounding their stories. In being asked how he felt about the newer characters in this film, he expressed that Black Panther (played by Chadwick Boseman) was the perfect addition for “Civil War.” Not only because he is a fan of the comic book character and felt Chadwick was the perfect person to be cast in the role, but he thought “Civil War” needed a character who wasn’t fully on Captain America’s side nor fully on Iron Man’s side, someone who could see points on both sides of the conflict to help the two main characters have some perspective for each argument.
Co-director Anthony Russo, having had a few Marvel movies under his belt, still loves making these films. As CGI and film-making technologies are improving rapidly, he always likes to re-visit the world of the Avengers every couple of years to get to interpret their stories and battles using the latest technology in the film industry. In addition to incredible visuals, he discussed that he feels that one of the biggest reasons movies in the Marvel cinematic universe are so unique is due to a relatively small crew mapping out the character’s stories. Russo explained how most big budget films have large crews of people working on story lines, climaxes, etc, but for these films it is him, fellow co-director Joe Russo, and Kevin Feige who are intimately working together to map out the next moves for each of their characters. Russo, like Feige, also felt the inclusion of new characters such as Spider-Man and Black Panther were crucial for this particular film. Since there were so many plot lines to keep track of and deeply rooted character’s backgrounds to visit in “Captain America: Civil War”, he felt having character’s without such long histories in the Marvel Cinematic Universe helped the movie have moments of humor to balance out the moments of high emotion and intensity. Russo said although their films always have plenty of intensity, action, and adventure, it is the character’s individual personalities, heart, and emotions that truly give the films their substance. He believes if you have a film rich in relationships, along with action, this brings a unique cinematic experience. If you just have action without the heart, it’s easy for audiences not to be captivated.
Prior to “Avengers: Age of Ultron” Paul Bettany voiced J.A.R.V.I.S., who then took a new, more human form called Vision. Bettany talked about how he quite enjoys playing Vision, since it’s an interesting task portraying a role of someone who is trying to figure out humanity and how to interact with the physical world around him. It is a character he has been familiar with for years, but now his character is experiencing more human emotions and even developing flaws.
Emily Van Camp, who plays Sharon Carter, said that she absolutely loves being a part of these films. Not only because she enjoys her character, but is a huge fan of action and adventure in film and television. She didn’t explicitly say at the press conference, but I got the feeling that we may see some more action from Sharon Carter in the future, and Van Camp would definitely be on board to film those types of scenes.
Don Cheadle, who plays Tony Stark’s loyal sidekick War Machine, or Rhody, as Stark lovingly calls him, went in-depth about his character. He discussed how Rhody’s main conflict is figuring out what he owes as a serviceman to his friend Tony Stark versus what his line of duty is for his country. His personal ongoing struggle is trying to figure out a system of checks and balances, and this uncertainty he has shows through the most in “Captain America: Civil War”.
Robert Downey Jr., just like Tony Stark, is quite the personality and incredibly interesting to hear speak. He had so much of the humor and confidence of Tony, but without the ego! Downey talked a lot about how he was over the moon when he found out Spider-Man would be a part of the film, he absolutely loves the comics and even admitted he “fan-boyed” a little upon finding out he would be included in “Captain America: Civil War.” He played a hand in the casting of Tom Holland as Spider-Man, and really enjoyed their scene work and time filming together. “Captain America: Civil War” was an especially interesting film for Downey since he feels that his character of Iron Man/Tony Stark has some really pivotal moments and emotions in this story. He explains how Tony is someone who is broken and narcissistic, and his character is beginning to realize that he is these things, and trying to heal and fix himself for the better.
It was an incredible event to say the least, to see some of the greatest movie superheroes in cinematic history in-person discussing their characters, and getting to learn more about this incredible film. Stay tuned for the second part of the press conference, where we hear from Team Captain America!