Civil War Film Influences

We’ve already gone in to some of the surreal sights we witnessed on the set of Captain America: Civil War, and along with that came a chat with the sequel’s directing duo, Anthony & Joe Russo, who will also be tackling both parts of The Avengers: Infinity War at Marvel Studios.

If you’ve listened to the Blu-ray/DVD commentary for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, then you know that the Russo brothers frequently mentioned the specific films that influenced certain scenes in the movie. If you didn’t know that, you should go listen to that commentary. While we were on set, discussion turned to some of the films that were influencing Civil War, and their answers might surprise you. Find out about the Russo brothers’ Civil War film influences after the jump.

First of all, it should be noted that Civil War isn’t quite the same political thriller style that The Winter Soldier had, though tonally it certainly follows in that sequel’s footsteps. Anthony Russo says:

In general, just as a framing we always thought about Winter Soldier very specifically as a political thriller. This movie we think of more as a psychological thriller. It’s connected to what we’re doing in Winter Soldier, but it evolves into a more sensitive, complicated character thriller. Again, I think based upon the fact we’re dealing with our protagonists clashing with one another.

So what specific titles have they been using as reference points? Joe Russo explains:

The movies we’ve been referencing a lot on this one are Se7en, weirdly. We like smashing genres into each other, so if you can find something that’s really idiosyncratic in respect to superhero genre and you can smoosh it into it you usually wind up with something fresh and different. Se7en, Fargo, just as far as we’re not making comparisons in terms of quality we’re just talking influences, The Godfather, because that’s a sprawling film with a lot of characters that tells very intricate stories. Each character has an arc.

Joe also goes on to say that the work of Brian De Palma has an influence on Civil War, and his style is “the one carry over [from The Winter Soldier], because he’s so good at tension and empty space.” They couldn’t reveal much more as far as specific titles were concerned without giving anything away, but Anthony said, “We could probably talk about 100 of them.”

As for the facing off of our heroes in the movie, the Russos are going old school with some of their influences as Anthony notes, “We’ve been also referencing westerns a lot as we start to think about these character showdowns.” I wouldn’t expect to hear any of Ennio Morricone’s iconic whistling from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly when Captain America and Iron Man are starting at each other, ready to fight, but it’s cool to hear that the classic western style still has a place in modern filmmaking, even in comic book sequels.

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