'Captain America: Civil War' Interview: Chris Evans & Sebastian Stan [Team Cap]

Even though we're getting a slew of characters from the Marvel cinematic universe in Captain America: Civil War, it's important to remember that this is still a Captain America movie. And the last time we were in the hero's own franchise, he was just getting ready to track down his best friend turned brainwashed villain Bucky Barnes, a.k.a. The Winter Soldier.

The credits scene that followed The Avengers: Age of Ultron showed us Cap (Chris Evans) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) finding a captured Bucky (Sebastian Stan) with his arm in a vice, trying to figure out what the next move is. And despite a large focus on the clash of superheroes coming in Civil War, the movie is also about continuing Cap's attempt to revive the friendship he once had with Bucky, trying to bring the Hydra assassin back into the world where he created so much chaos, albeit unknowingly.

While visiting the set of Captain America: Civil War (check out my report on what we saw filmed over here), we sat down with Chris Evans and Sebastian Stan for a chat about where we find these two characters in Civil War and just how integral their relationship is to the story. Plus, Evans talks about how this movie really pushes him to places he's never had to deal with before. Check out the Captain America Civil War interview after the jump.

First of all, following the events of The Winter Soldier, and the hints of what's to come from the credits scene in Age of Ultron, we're wondering where we find Cap and Bucky. Chris Evans immediately responded with the single word "risky" in a fantastic sing-song voice, but Sebastian Stan answered the best he could without getting in trouble:

I'll say this. Whatever notions you had about that post-credits scene where you see him in the museum and obviously he's staring at himself, whatever ideas you got from that scene, keep thinking about those and go with your own thoughts on that.

Writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely were somewhat more forthcoming about the mental state of the character and conflict that Bucky has within himself. When asked about the hints of Bucky potentially being involved with the death of Tony Stark's parents, McFeely doesn't go out of his way to confirm that:

It is implied that Hydra killed Howard Stark. I think we can say that. I think that's all we know, for sure, is that they did that. Bucky killed a lot of people. That's perhaps more important. When Bucky wakes up, or gets some semblance of his humanity back, if he were to get some semblance of his humanity back, how does he feel about the long list of kills on his record?

And Markus adds:

It was bad enough when Cap woke up after 70 years in the ice having done nothing. He woke up after 70 years having murdered a hundred of the best people of the last century. Do you want to go on? Do you want to be free? Do you want to put a bullet in your head? What is it?

That's not exactly much to go on, but it does tell us that Bucky is still struggling with who he is and who he wants to be. Thankfully Chris Evans was able to give us a little bit more about where we find Cap in Civil War:

He's still on the search for Bucky. That's the thing about these movies. You go do The Avengers, you gotta put your own plot on hiatus for a second, and then we try to pick up where we left off. A big piece of that is searching for Bucky. But at the same time, we left off The Avengers [Age of Ultron] with a new team of Avengers. So they're still trying to break in the new members. And I think it's no secret that what happens is there's a world around them that expects a little bit more responsibility for their actions. The Avengers have been operating independent of any government restriction, so I think there's plenty of people that makes nervous. I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying what happens is certain governments expect a bit of a change.

On the next page, find out how Cap is being pushed to new limits in Captain America: Civil War.

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With the laundry list of things that Captain America has to deal with, from the Sokovia Accords to leading a team of Avengers, it's a wonder he can keep his head on straight. Is he struggling with the fact that he's gone from being America's hero decades ago to being a guy on the run from the people who turned him into one? Chris Evans says:

Yeah, it's tough. Because ultimately he knows he has a good heart. The problem is we all think we have good hearts, we all think we know what's best. And this is the nature of compromise. It's tricky to understand where to bend. I think in the past films, in [Captain America: The First Avenger] we all know Nazis are bad. In [The Winter Soldier] Hydra is no good either. But this one, there's no clear bad guy, and I think that's far more parallel to the struggles we got through in our current political state. There's logic to both sides, and where do you bend? Where's the compromise? What's the goal? I think Cap's struggling because every time he has fallen in line, and has been a soldier, and has taken orders and leaned on the structure of society, it's kinda turned on him. And I think he ultimately feels the safest hands are his own, because at least he can trust them. But again, that's not gonna work for the masses. So it's the first time he really doesn't know what the right answer is.

Producer Nate Moore adds that they want to keep pushing Captain America to his limits, figuring out who he is in this complicated modern world where heroes and villains can't be painted in black and white, especially when they used to be your friends.

It's about challenging Cap. I think Cap is constantly putting him in situations where he feels protected in the modern world, because he is a soldier. Here's a guy who went away and came back 70 years later and almost everybody he knew was gone. So it made sense for him to look like a soldier with a shield. Well that goes away. What does he do? In Avengers: Age of Ultron, he goes, 'Well it doesn't seem like the family like is what I want. Maybe it's running The Avengers. Maybe that's the thing.'

So, again, to give him the maximum amount of drama. It's like what else can you strip away? Now what happens? So now he found a home in The Avengers. Let's take that way. Now what does that character do? It really forced Steve Rogers to grow and not just be the leader of The Avengers. We can tell that story and I think that's fun, and comics have done that for years and have been super successful, but I think for a movie you want to keep drawing the character and pushing the character in ways that are uncomfortable.

Chris Evans doesn't necessarily think this is the end of a trilogy, mostly because of what's to come in The Avengers: Infinity War, but Anthony Russo sees this movie as bringing him full circle:

Bringing it full circle is really important. We're taking Cap to a place, there's a level of detail that we have to be careful with, but we're taking Cap to a place in this movie that he's never gone before. That for us is taking Cap full circle. How do you take this guy that began where he began and had that great arc that he's had and still take him to a place he's never gone before? We always talk about him, he's such a tough character in a lot of ways because he's so strong and so centered, he has such strong ethics and morals, how do you upend a character like that? It's easier to upend a character like Tony Stark in some ways because he's a little all over the place and balanced and blah blah blah. You can spin him out easier so to speak. So how do you spin Cap out? We found a way to really get at the heart of who Cap is to shake his foundation, push him somewhere I think that's going to surprise a lot of people.

You can check out the entire interview with Sebastian Stan and Chris Evans on the third page.

Captain America Civil War

Chris, was there any question from you as they were adding all these cast members like, 'This is still Captain America: Civil War, right?'

Chris Evans: No, I'll take all the help I can get.

We were talking to Markus & McFeeley earlier, obviously there are a lot of characters in this movie, are they still exploring Cap's character?

CE: You look at the cast, and you ask how are they going to spread this story around, but they still do a good job of exploring Cap's throughline. We left a lot off in The Winter Soldier. There's still a lot left unresolved between [Cap and Bucky]. And I think the friction between myself and [Robert Downey Jr.'s character Iron Man], given where Marvel is gonna go in the next Avengers film, there's a lot of ripe avenues to pursue. But I still think Cap is the anchor.

Do you think tonally, it follows from Winter Soldier?

CE: Completely. That's the Russos. It doesn't matter what would be in the script, the Russos have done a really good job. Instead of making superhero movies with grounded elements, they make grounded movies with superhero elements. The Russos keep everything in a very real environment.

How central is the relationship between your two characters in the story?

CE: See, this is where we tread into dangerous waters. It's central. Any other person who has gone through what Cap is going through, I think there'd be a lot more...they'd probably bleed on people a bit more. Cap's such a selfless guy, he kinda stuffs all that down, which is a shame because there's a lot of good meat on the bone to chew on. In this one we get to explore that struggle a bit more. Again, I can't say too much, but this is a huge relationship. This is a huge piece of his history, it's a huge piece of his struggle, not just to have someone that he can connect to on a friendship level, but just the guilt that he must have. 'I let you go. I'm sorry.' Just the survivor's guilt element. So there's plenty to play with. They certainly do explore it. I'm not gonna go too far into how relevant it is to the plot though.

Sebastian, the screenwriters mentioned Bucky's journey as someone who has to wrestle with doing 70 years of doing evil. Can you talk a bit about your character's journey in this film and how his separation works as opposed to Cap's just being on ice.

Sebastian Stan: I think it would be similar to what [Cap] went through. Where we find the character is really where he's at the post-credits scene at the end of Winter Soldier. So that's where he picks up in this film. It very much is a big struggle, figuring out what his life has been about and what he's really been up to. That's what I think the similarity between them is. They're men out of time, struggling to embrace this new life, and how do they do it.

Can you speak a little more as to where he's at when we pick up with him? Is he a loner sort of drifting?

CE: Risky!

SS: I'll say this. Whatever notions you had about that post-credits scene where you see him in the museum and obviously he's staring at himself, whatever ideas you got from that scene, keep thinking about those and go with your own thoughts on that.

Where is Cap when we pick up in this movie?

CE: He's still on the search for Bucky. That's the thing about these movies. You go do The Avengers, you gotta put your own plot on hiatus for a second, and then we try to pick up where we left off. A big piece of that is searching for Bucky. But at the same time, we left off The Avengers [Age of Ultron] with a new team of Avengers. So they're still trying to break in the new members. And I think it's no secret that what happens is there's a world around them that expects a little bit more responsibility for their actions. The Avengers have been operating independent of any government restriction, so I think there's plenty of people that makes nervous. I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying what happens is certain governments expect a bit of a change

SS: That's why it's kinda cool, since it parallels a lot of the things we're dealing with now. Thinking about all the recent stuff about the government being able to look into your phone, to see what you're texting or who you're calling.

CE: Don't look into my phone. Career over.

SS: It's very relevant. That's where the Russos have been great, because the movie will be relevant to things that are happening today, that you read in the news.

It's interesting because Cap, in the first movie, he's the great leader of World War II, he's a great American symbol. In Winter Soldier he discovers that this organization that he's been working for is actually corrupt and now in this movie he finds himself in a position where he's kind of on the run from a situation where the government is trying to control and sort of regulate him. Where is he emotionally with regards to all this? Is it hard for him to make that change from being the great hero to being this guy on the run?

CE: Yeah, it's tough. Because ultimately he knows he has a good heart. The problem is we all think we have good hearts, we all think we know what's best. And this is the nature of compromise. It's tricky to understand where to bend. I think in the past films, in [Captain America: The First Avenger] we all know Nazis are bad. In [The Winter Soldier] Hydra is no good either. But this one, there's no clear bad guy, and I think that's far more parallel to the struggles we got through in our current political state. There's logic to both sides, and where do you bend? Where's the compromise? What's the goal? I think Cap's struggling because every time he has fallen in line, and has been a soldier, and has taken orders and leaned on the structure of society, it's kinda turned on him. And I think he ultimately feels the safest hands are his own, because at least he can trust them. But again, that's not gonna work for the masses. So it's the first time he really doesn't know what the right answer is.

What is Cap's perspective on Black Panther as a character and how does that come into play in the plot?

CE: Risky again. Real tough one. All these new characters, it's hard to divulge anything.

How does he deal with him as a leader of Wakanda?

CE: I don't know how much I can tell. I'm gonna get in trouble. I don't want to get in trouble. I don't want to be the guy. He respects anyone who's of logic. Any style of governing, I think he's gonna support as long as it comes from a place of rational thought.

At the end of Age of Ultron, Cap and Tony seemed to bury the hatchet, they seemed mostly okay with each other. Is there some kind of explosive event that makes them mad at each other again?

CE: That's a good way of putting it, burying the hatchet. We've had our growing pains as men, but I think we've found an understanding with one another. This isn't a character struggle, this is just a kind of execution struggle. How things should be done. I respect Tony as a man, I'm sure he respects me as well. We just each have different emotional concerns, I suppose.

How do the rest of the Avengers feel, along with Tony, about your desire to help Bucky be redeemed after being involved with Hydra as this organization of evil.

CE: Oh man. There is a way to answer this question. I don't want to keep saying I can't. There's a way to do this. I can do this! Nope, can't say that. This is gonna be process of elimination. This is a tough one. They sympathize. They certainly sympathize. Cap's done nothing but give himself to this group, so I think they understand the value of what it means to me to find him. And especially after [Jeremy] Renner's been brainwashed, Scarlett [Johansson's] been misled, we've all had our share of being taken advantage of, so I don't think they hold him completely responsible for some of his actions.

How does Cap's dynamic with this new Avengers differ from the previous group?

CE: I don't know how much it does. He's still trying to lead, trying be a good man. He's got a lot of newbies. People trying to get comfortable in their own skin. I don't know, I can't really answer that one either. This is so dangerous.

When we met Winter Soldier, he was geared up, he was wrecking shit. Does he get a lot of good action in this film?

SS: Yes.

CC: Nailed it. That's what it has to be.

In Winter Soldier, there's been hints that Bucky may have been involved with Tony Stark's father's untimely demise, is that something that may cause friction between yourself and Tony?

SS: I feel like it's pretty given if you know the comics. He's in a place where he's not very stable or healthy environment in his head. So he could easily go either way.

99% of your screen time in Winter Soldier, Bucky's brainwashed. So this is probably the first time we're gonna see this character on his own, with his own thoughts. Are you approaching the character differently? Is there more Jim Buchanan now that there's no brainwashing?

SS: I'm just trying to tie in to what we know in the comic books. I think it's going to be a mix of different things. He's not gonna go back and be the guy he used to be. There's just no way that would happen. He's definitely, probably affected for life. It's sort of learning about how you live with who you are now. Learning how to tame that wild beast that is a part of you at this point.

It seems like Cap takes solace in being in conflict. Even in Winter Soldier, he just seems comfortable in conflict. Is this the first time we're going to see him in a conflict he doesn't know how to handle?

CE: I don't know if he necessarily enjoys being in conflict. I think he handles it well because he is so selfless. He refuses to show the struggle. I think this is the one time there's a conflict where his compass doesn't know which way to point. I think he handles conflict well because he knows what's right and he knows the right thing to do. Sometimes that's hard, because it may affect certain people, and it may butt with what other people believe, but at least he knows his own mind. I think this is one of the first times he doesn't know. And I think when you're kind of aimless, I think that's terrifying. Whether rooted in conflict or not, he just doesn't know what the right move is.

In the action in Age of Ultron, there's a lot of good combos between the Avengers, especially Thor and Cap, cool moves between them as a team. Is there anything you're really excited about in this movie that we're gonna see?

CE: I think we can talk about that. I think that's safe. I feel comfortable with that. Yeah, when you look at the cast of characters, it's great. These fights are not gonna be boring. We got the same stunt crew from Cap 2. I've loved all the stunt work we've done across the board, but I have a soft spot for Cap 2 stuff. Something about the action in that I thought was great. Not just by their design, but the way the Russos shot it. It just felt good, it felt grounded. I think they're gonna outdo themselves on this one. I really do. There will be a lot of team combats.

This is a really big cast. Is there anyone in particular you were looking forward to playing off of, or is there a character you were hoping you'd get to interact with.

SS: Vision. I really have a soft spot for Vision. I haven't seen him on set. I have to say, Paul Rudd was pretty difficult for me to work off of.

CE: Did you just get in trouble?

SS: Oh I don't know. That could be just me walking by at the craft table.

CE: I've grown to really like my scenes with Scarlett. Something about that relationship, because I don't think it drifts into a romantic place. I think it's a place where we each just need somebody. She's kinda been a loner for a long time and probably avoided friendships for professional purposes. And I had no friends because I was frozen. But I think in Cap 2 there was this opposites attract thing where we kinda found camaraderie, and now it's like a really nice brother and sister bond. There's some nice scenes in this one.

Do you feel like this movie wraps up a trilogy for the Cap movies?

CE: Probably not. Just given what's gonna happen in the Avengers films. You can't really put a stamp on it and then dive into what they're planning on diving into.

SS: I'm so glad you know what's going on. Maybe we should talk a little bit more.

Anthony Mackie says that he only got a couple pages of the script when he was on the last Avengers movie. Do you get the whole script for this?

CE: Yeah! I don't mean that to sound bad. I think that's just Mackie though.

With all these new characters, is Cap trying to build something bigger with these new guys like Ant-Man or Black Panther or even Bucky?

CE: No, I think a lot of the things that happen in terms of new characters are born out of necessity in this film, which is always the most interesting thing to me. I think on the contrary, Cap is looking, especially at the end of Cap 2, questioning his place in the world. What's home? Like you said, he's always been in conflict. Even though he's always done well in conflict, I don't know if that's where he wants to be. And I think he's trying to struggle with his purpose, and in this one, stuff happens and he's force to dive back in and force to navigate waters with a new group of people and play the role of their leader whether he wants to or not.

What would Cap's favorite Earth, Wind and Fire song be?

CE: That's a good one. Is that a Mackie question? Ask Mackie what Falcon's favorite Beatles song is.