'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' Co-Director Vaguely Discusses Flashbacks And Cap's Evolution

The hiring of brothers Anthony and Joe Russo to direct Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a pleasant surprise. The two have experience on television (Community, Arrested Development) and features (Welcome to Collinwood, You, Me and Dupree) and their resume is just the sort that Marvel seems to really like at the moment. They're proven working in existing narrative environments, where they deliver on time and with budget restrictions. More important, they've got good chops with character interactions and ensembles.

But if this film sticks close to the comic book storyline referenced in the title, it will be something different from the Russos' previous work. The Winter Soldier is a military espionage story as much as it is a superhero tale — moreso, in some ways — and could provide a very specific challenge. Co-director Anthony Russo addressed some questions about the brothers' approach to the story in a recent interview.

The Huffington Post (and a few other outlets) talked to Anthony Russo as he did press for his TV show Animal Practice at the TCA Summer Tour, and got him to discuss the second Captain America film.During the conversation, Russo talked about the general goal for Chris Evans' central character:

...we're trying to grow him as a character, and certainly he's come a long way, from where he started in pre-World War 2 to where he is in modern-day America. So the character has room for growth because of that huge journey that he's been on, Number 1. Number 2, part of the appeal of these movies is the ensemble. Captain America isn't the only character in the film, there are other characters that are perhaps lighter in nature.

One character mentioned as a possible additional presence is Bucky, played by Sebastian Stan in the first film. He's not really "perhaps lighter in nature," however. In fact, the entire narrative drive of the Winter Soldier storyline as it originally played out in the comics was to turn Bucky into a man who is very specifically dangerous and intimidating. Not that this will necessarily be a straight adaptation of that story, as Russo addresses the question of working with existing stories:

In a way. I mean, they're all sort of rooted in what's come before, but they're all also their own jumping-off point as well.

Asked about the inclusion (or not) of WWII flashbacks, Russo dances around the question a bit, but does imply that we'll see scenes set in the past:

Certainly Cap has this complicated history. We're making the movie for first-time viewers, not just for fans, so, because Cap does have this complicated history — he was this skinny guy who became a super-soldier, he was born back then and he's living [now] — in the storytelling, you need to convey that to an audience who doesn't know Cap's story.

We do know that Anthony Mackie will appear in Cap 2 as Falcon (who plays a specific role in the Winter Soldier storyline as it was told in comic book form) but beyond that we don't know much about the returning cast.

Asked about Hayley Atwell's return to play the descendant of her original Cap character, Russo declines to answer. He also refuses to divulge info about S.H.I.E.L.D.'s presence in the film. (Which is more or less a given, again per the printed version of Winter Soldier.)

And what about making a WWII movie overall? The first film was very definitely a period piece, and it seems like this sequel will be primarily a modern story with a touch of classic flair. So what's the goal for the tone this time?

I have to be very careful how I answer this, because it does border on issues of what the movie is. But yeah, he is in a very different time and place. For as well as that style worked for his World War 2 experience and the origin of Cap — part of the fun of picking a guy out of one time period and plopping him down in another is that all bets are off. The whole world is different, and that's part of the struggle of the character and the challenge the character faces.