Director Joe Russo Calls 'Avengers: Infinity War' The 'Nashville' Of Superhero Movies

The Russo brothers may or may not have been exaggerating when they said Avengers: Infinity War would feature a whopping 67 characters, but the fact is, there are a lot of characters in their two-part film. While that might concern some Marvel fans, after seeing Captain America: Civil War, a movie that manages to juggle an array of superheroes and side characters, it's clear directors Anthony and Joe Russo and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely know how to tell a large ensemble story.

Below, Anthony and Joe Russo discuss the bringing all of the Avengers: Infinity War characters together.

Remember the days of criticizing superhero movies for being overstuffed simply because they had one too many villains? Some comic book movies struggle to tell a story only about a handful of characters, while the Russo brothers and Markus and McFeely need to tell a story about pretty much the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. If they manage to pull it off, it'll be no small feat.

In terms of the superhero genre, this is slightly uncharted territory, which is probably why the directors are taking cues from Robert Altman's sprawling epic Nashville. Here's what Joe Russo told Latino Review about Infinity War:

It's a culmination of everything that's occurred in the Marvel Universe up to the point where the Marvel Universe is released. Some of those films haven't even hit yet. We're going to be dealing with some of the characters from those movies who are going to be in Infinity War. They're massive in scope and scale but that's the point. The point is for them to be as ambitious as they possibly can be. They're going to be multi-perspective films. They're not called 'Captain America: Infinity War,' they're called Infinity War. You're going to be moving around through different perspectives of the characters. It's like Nashville for superheroes. It's storytelling that is vignetted storytelling. It's to composite all of them under one story — everybody. You can culminate without all of them, so...

We spoke with Anthony and Joe Russo at the Captain America: Civil War press day as well, and both of them were clearly aware of the challenges of making all these characters fit together in the two-part narrative. Here's what Joe Russo had to say:

Infinity War is following a different, complex template [than Winter Soldier or Civil War], because you've never seen so many characters in one movie. Obviously it has to be a multi-perspective film. Yes, we're biting off a lot, but we're just going to have eat the elephant one bite at a time.

Anthony Russo added:

We're still fine-tuning what those movies are, so it's hard for us to say totally succinctly, but it does have the dimension Joe is talking about, married to a very epic adventure and an epic saga.

Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1, which begins shooting this November, is still over two years away. Markus and McFeely are still working on the script, so it's probably difficult for the Russo brothers to give a definitive answer to, say, whether Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) will appear in the film. Whatever the case, this two-part film is a major undertaking, one that the Russo brothers are not taking lightly. They know what they are up against and they know that expectations are high.Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 opens in theaters May 4th, 2018.