Last week, I was invited out to Beverly Hills to attend a press junket for ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’, Marvel Studios’ newest film, the follow up story for Captain America, played by Chris Evans, coming off of ‘The Avengers’. While I’ll be posting my thoughts on the film later, I can say, Marvel brought their A game for this film, and it shows. This is a remarkably well made film, and I can’t wait to share my full review in the coming days. The junket had a lot of great information.
One of the questions brought up was framed with how well Marvel makes strong female characters, and they asked the studio head, Kevin Feige, about the possibility of a solo Black Widow film, that would star Scarlett Johansson. This has been coming up a lot in recent weeks, and Feige had this to say:
Uh, I think it could be great. We’ve got various outlines and ideas on where to take that. And Scarlett has already said there’s a big element of exploring more of her backstory in another upcoming Marvel feature. So the question really is, when would we want to take her out of that ensemble to go and do her own thing, and in fact, as you saw in this movie, and as you’ll see in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, she’s key to so much of the broader world.
So while a Black Widow movie could happen, it may not be any time soon, because Natasha is a big part of the universe as it is, and works so well in the confines of this ensemble. But never say never, Marvel is certainly thinking about it. Not long after that, Chris Evans was asked about his original reluctance to take the role because of typecasting and signing for so many films, and now that he’s done the role three times, how does he feel now. Chris was very open and honest:
Had I not done the movies, it would have been the biggest mistake of my life. It really would have been the biggest regret to date, and there are plenty. It’s changed everything for me. Not just what it’s enabled me to do outside of these movies, but it’s so comforting knowing you’re making good movies. It would be a nightmare to be trapped in these contracts when you’re making movies you’re not proud of. But Marvel has the Midas touch, so you know every time you suit up, you’re making some of quality. It’s rewarding on every level, so thank God I had the right people in my life pushing me to make the right decision.
It’s great see Evans is still this ecstatic over the role, and the opportunities it’s presented him. He seems very humble and grateful to have been giving the chance to take a part in this every growing Marvel Universe, and it’s great to know that we still have at least three more films with him in the role as Captain America.
One of my favorite questions of the day came from one reporting what it was like working with the Legendary Robert Redford, who plays the character, Alexander Pierce, in the film. He spends most his time with Evans and Samuel L. Jackson in the film, so they both had this to say:
He’s amazing. He was pretty intimidating that day, because he is a living legend. But it is always such a treat when someone you look up to that much lives up to the expectation. I mean, he could have easily come on set and hijacked the film, not just as an actor, but given his past as a director and his experience, he very easily could have taken over. He showed up with the utmost professionalism. I think the first day we shot was until one in the morning, and he stuck around for all the camera stuff. It was like it was his first movie. So he really is an example of what it is to be great.
Yeah, pretty much the same. I met Robert in a lot of different situations when I was going to Sundance, when I was a young actor. I missed the opportunity to do several films with him over the years. And that morning when I got to work with him the first time, we sat down and talked about a lot of different things. We talked about golf, we talked about life, about movies, so by the time we got on set, it did seem like we spent time together, or had some sort of past. It was a great experience. He’s everything Chris said, he’s professional, knew his lines, he wanted to make things better, and that’s part of coming into the Marvel Universe.
The question than came up to Kevin Feige, asking how much influence he has on the other Marvel films outside of the Marvel Studios banner, such as Fox’s X-Men films, and Sony’s Spider-Man films. Feige was honest, and upfront:
It’s limited. It’s very limited with the other studios. Mainly for two reasons. One, because we’re quite busy building our own cinematic universe, and also the contracts are very old, so the approvals are very limited. It sort of is what it is, the contracts are very old with those studios, and I expect they’ll be making Spider-Man movies at Sony for a long time and X-Men movies at Fox for a long time. And hopefully we’ll keep making MCU movies for a long time.
I’m glad Feige was upfront and to the point about it. He doesn’t see them getting back those two big franchises anytime soon. It’s a bummer for some, because it would be great to see those characters all come together under the Marvel banner, but the fact of the matter is, those contracts are ironclad and tight, and Marvel probably won’t be receiving the rights to them anytime soon.
Samuel L. Jackson was then asked what his thoughts and feelings were the first time he read the script for the new film, and what excited him most about it:
Man, that’s a lot of questions. I’m always excited to do more movies, and Nick seems to grow with each film. And I realized when I was reading that it was a bit more than just a comic book feature. That it had intrigue, and I’m sure that a lot of young people are going to be surprised when they get in the movie and watch it that they actually have to think about something, what’s going on, or they can’t figure out the plot, and that always excites me. It’s always a great, great joy that I’m going to be back in a space with all the people I enjoy working with, and being able to do the things that I did on a very small scale when I was a kid. It’s a dream come true. You sit there and read comic books when you’re a kid and you wonder if there’s a world like that, you grow up as an actor and they start making movies like that and you wonder, “How can I get in that movie?”, and the next thing you know you’re inside it going, “yeah!” So, it’s all plus there.
There’s a lot of great information that came out of this press junket, and as it wrapped, one thing was abundantly clear to me: people love working for Marvel Studios, and working in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They’re doing so much great work, and this is their ninth film in the ever growing sage of the MCU, with another on the way this August, with Marvel’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, and then all coming tying together the end of Phase 2 next May with, ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’. The studio, the directors, and all the actors know that they’re doing something very special here, and the love is flowing out of it. They’ve gained the trust of the audience, and now they’re hoping to keep them on board and giving them two more building blocks every year for the foreseeable future. It’s a great time to be a fan of the Marvel characters, and it’s great to see so many of them done justice on the big screen. I know for me personally, I love seeing my favorite comic book company taking on translating what made their comics so popular on the big screen, and I hope it’ll continue for a long time.