Josh Brolin Thanos

You’re doing something that no one in the MCU has done before and that’s shooting two movies essentially at the same time, but there’s been a lot of miscommunication about how they interact. Just talk about how you’re approaching that now, and why you’re shooting back to back and just really the schedule-

Joe Russo: Our approach has always been … we look at the process, as with Marcus and McFeely, it’s simply the same thing in the way that the Winter Soldier relates to Civil War, and the way that Civil War relates to Infinity War. These two movies will also relate, there’s a narrative thread that is connecting these films, but at the same time, there’s an independence in terms of what the experience is or where the story goes. It isn’t a true two-parter, and I think the two-parter concept came back when Marvel decided they were going to culminate the MCU, it was going to be a two-movie deal. But as we developed the movie, in execution, it ended up being more of two singular expressions. And I think that just what happened-

You were saying earlier that every character is someone’s favorite character. Is there anyone in particular that you guys are excited for the audience to react to?

Anthony Russo: It’s always tough because we’re going to walk back on set and somebody’s going to be really disappointed we didn’t say them-

Joe Russo: Anthony Mackie!

Is there a specific arc, or a specific character, or even a pairing-

Joe Russo: I think between Ragnarok and this film, I think Thor has a really compelling arc. I think he’s a pretty fascinating character and I think he’s going to jump to the forefront of people’s minds as a pivotal marvel character after Ragnarok.

Spider-Man Appearing in Venom

We’ve heard for Ragnarok that the way that Taika’s doing it, he gets to show off his sense of humor a lot more, which is obviously something that we’re excited to see, but is that tone for his character something that you’re trying to incorporate here?

Joe Russo: We grew up executing projects that were in a similar vein as Taika’s sensibility; Arrested Development, Community. So, we jive very well with Taika, and the direction he’s taking that character in. I think that we always want, and desire, as filmmaker, pathos as well out of our characters, and we find that humor and pathos in combination create a more profound experience for you, and I think that Taika has done that very well in Ragnarok, and we now get to take Thor on a really compelling journey.

You guys fought to make sure that Spider-Man was going to be in Civil War. Are there any characters you guys had to really, “We want these guys”? 

Anthony Russo: Everybody. Every character. All the deals are hard, everybody’s expensive. It’s very complicated to put together a movie of this scale. Sometimes it’s easier to just say maybe we should just not do it with these guys-

Joe Russo: These movies are a producing wonder, there are very few producing entities and producers like Kevin Feige, who can pull together something like this.

Anthony Russo: Kevin and Lou have out done themselves on this, the jenga puzzle of actor schedules that we’re juggling is staggering. And daunting.

Fantastic Four reboot

Have there been any conversations about Fantastic Four?

Joe Russo: I’m sure we’ve sat around at dinners, and after a few drinks we’ve all laughed and said “Hey, it’d be great to go after this person or that person,” but we know how the business is structured. I’m sure Marvel would love to work with all those characters.

You’ve been speaking extensively about the idea of getting together the different tones and the different stories and all the different genres, and we were talking to the screenwriters about the idea that the superhero genre is traditionally shat on by the Academy to put it frankly, but they were saying they believe there could be a tipping point, like at the end of Lord of the Rings that was finally the movie where they caught up and were like “Okay, we’re going to give fantasy it’s due.” I’m curious what you guys’ thoughts are on the Academy and their opinion of superheros and when you think that tipping point for superhero movies might be?

Joe Russo: It’s a hard question because we’re filmmakers. So all we do, we think these stories are very important. We love them. We find them as exciting and as complex and inspiring and heartbreaking, and we believe that there are real stakes in them, real emotional stakes. So for us, this is exactly the kind of movies we aspire to and exactly the kind of movies we look for as filmgoers in a movie theater. I think that you find that in the vast majority of the audiences. The Academy … sometimes plays a role in protecting films that need more support. The Academy has been very effective in promoting movies, and getting eyeballs, on movies that don’t necessarily get large audiences, and I think that’s been one mission of the Academy, and one very effective mission that they play in terms of pulling attention to movies that could use it. And stories that could use it.

Joe Russo: These movies are so highly visible, I think there’s less of a-

Anthony Russo: An urgency-

Joe Russo: Yeah, less of an inclination to say “Hey, we need to pay attention.” Everybody’s already paying attention, so I don’t know, it’s an interesting question but from our point of view, we take this as seriously as we take anything.

Because Avengers 3 and 4 are now more separate entities, is there a shift in focus on who the main characters might be, or a shift in style even, in the two?

Joe Russo: We always try to make each film different so they don’t get repetitive. This kind of serialized storytelling, outside of the Bond franchise or Harry Potter, which was a distinctive story that was told, Harry Potter was a distinctive story that was told over that seven movies, you have to keep evolving. You have to keep evolving who’s at the forefront, how you’re laying the story out, because I think rigor mortis will set in very quickly. So for us, we absolutely are very, very particular about who carried the ball on this movie, and who will carry it on this movie. Because each character represents a different theme, each character has different wants, and that can shape and color and re-tone an entire film depending on who you’re following. Especially in stories this big.

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