INTERVIEW: PRODUCER KEVIN FEIGE
Question: So I guess to start, Joe and Anthony Russo, their careers have been – they’ve done nothing even close to like this. What was it about them that you guys felt made them the perfect directors for this project.
Kevin Feige: Well, you know, it’s worked out well for us when we’ve taken people that have done very, very good things. Very rarely are one of those good things a big giant blockbuster superhero movie. You know. "Elf." Favreau. Good TV for Joss. Good Shakespearean drama 15 years ago for Ken Brown. And in the same way I was a big fan of – I don’t watch a whole lot of TV, but the TV that I was watching that I found interesting – their name kept popping up. And then I knew they had also – they made that Soderbergh produced movie with George Clooney. I said, “So obviously they’re interested in features. Let’s bring them in.” And like all of our director choices it starts with meetings. It starts with are we connecting with a certain idea. And I’d pitched them our idea for Cap 2. And you’ve heard me describe it which is a loose description, a broad description as a sort of ‘70s political thriller. But that’s what I pitched to them. And they lost their minds. I just believed they could pull it off. And now is where, you know, two-and-a-half weeks, three weeks from finishing I feel very, very good about what we have so far.
Q: Why is the time right for something like that now as opposed to maybe a third entry?
Feige: Well, this sort of is a third entry. I mean, right – there’s Cap 1 with his origin in World War II and only the last two minutes – oh my God, he’s in the modern day. Avengers played a little bit with his feelings of what it’s like to be in the modern day, but he didn’t have a whole lot of time in that film because he’s introduced to the team. He’s got to fight off the alien invasion. So it did feel like this was absolutely the right time to deal with how he can come to terms with a past that is long gone and is seemingly never coming back. Dealing with the shades of gray of the modern era and certainly of being a part of an organization like S.H.I.E.L.D. And then just as perhaps he’s finding a niche for himself, his past comes back and lands like a ton of bricks on his head in the form of Winter Soldier.
Q: We heard that the events here take place a year after "The Avengers."
Feige: It is, you know, smack dab between Avengers" and Avengers 2. So it’s sort of the continuity of the release of the film is the continuity of the film as well. Which was sort of the case with the first phase one films, but it was a little trickier. But this very much, you know, the ramifications at the end of this film go directly into Avengers 2. Much more so than the other films.
Q: Are some of the actors you approach – like Redford – surprised when you approach them?
Feige: I think it varies. I mean, sometimes they approach us. Robert’s not shy. Mr. Redford is not shy about the fact that his grandkids are a fan of his and he wanted to do something that his grandkids would watch him in. So that works out very well in those cases. You don’t have to do quite do the song and dance. They know what we are already and I do think until we royally screw it up they think it’s a safe place to come and put on a costume and stand in front of a green screen and at the end of the day come off, you know, very well.
Q: What are the sort of joys and pains of making movies the way that Marvel does with an eye on other movies and interconnectivity and an eye on secrecy – all of those elements that are pretty singular to the way Marvel does the books. For you what’s great about it and what is challenging?
Feige: Well, it’s all pretty great. I mean it’s, you know, as we keep making them we – I want to keep an eye on not painting ourselves into a corner or not – you know. Because again, a lot of what we’re doing is modeled on the comics, but there’s also pitfalls to look out for. There’s a reason, you know, comic universes have to reboot after ten or 15 years because they start to fold in on each other and it becomes very, very confusing. I think that’s less of a danger when you’re only doing, you know, four hours – four-and-a-half hours of entertainment a year – two movies a year. But that’s one thing that we want to be careful to avoid. I don’t think we’re anywhere near that yet. So, it’s really all just sort of fun to be able to have access to all those characters and all those stories as we make them. The secrecy thing…I don’t know that it’s unique to us. I think every filmmaker wants to save the surprises for the screen. You know, we’ve got security guys walking around on every set and holding up Don’t Take Picture Please signs and things like that. And everyone’s taking pictures of it – you know that’s gonna happen. We sort of stopped chasing that frankly. I do think people are savvy enough to know oh that’s not the way it’s going to look in the movie. So it’s just the way it is now. And I’ve always said the only thing worse than a photographer in a tree is no photographer in the tree because nobody cares.