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June 2016

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DIRECTOR'S CHAIR 22 POST JUNE 2016 he Russo brothers have quickly become Hollywood royalty thanks to their Marvel Studios directorial debut, the critically lauded box office blockbust- er Captain America: The Winter Soldier (which broke the opening record for an April release and went on to gross more than $714 million worldwide), and its fol- low up, Captain America: Civil War, which has already grossed over $1 billion. Not bad for two kids from Cleveland, OH, who began filmmaking in the mid- 1990s when they used credit cards and student loans to finance Pieces, a local- ly shot experimental comedy about a criminally inclined trio of brothers. Their gamble paid off when the film screened at both the Slamdance and American Film Institute festivals in 1997, earning Joe a Best Actor award for the latter. The Slamdance screening caught the attention of Steven Soderbergh, who, along with his producing partner George Clooney, asked to produce the brothers' second film, the 2002 crime comedy, Welcome to Collinwood, which was also set and shot in Cleveland. Captain America: Civil War, which features an all-star cast that includes Chris Evans (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Avengers) as the iconic su- perhero character Steve Rogers/Captain America, Robert Downey Jr. (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Iron Man 3) as Tony Stark/Iron Man, and Scarlett Johansson (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: The Winter Soldier) as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, also boasts a stellar creative team, including DP Trent Opaloch (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Elysium); editors Jeffrey Ford, ACE (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and Matthew Schmidt (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Iron Man 3); and visual effects supervisor Dan Deleeuw (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, see Post's May cover story). Here, in an exclusive interview with Post, the Russos (collectively) discuss making the blockbuster, their love of post and VFX. How different was the approach on this film compared to Captain America: The Winter Soldier and what sort of film did you set out to make? "We wanted to continue the story of the last one — especially the relationship between Cap and Bucky, which was very much left unresolved. There was a lot more story to be told about them and their relationship, but we were also think- ing about taking it into a new area, and exploring new facts of who the characters are. So while we very much thought of the last film as a political thriller, we thought of this one as more of a psychological thriller, even though it has political dimen- sions as well. It becomes a very compli- cated psychological study, and stylistical- ly, that's where we tried to go." Brother directing teams are rare — there are the Coens, the Wachowskis, the Duplasses and the Farrellys, to name a few. How does directing work with the two of you? "All directing teams probably work dif- ferently in the same way that all directors work differently. It's very much a function of personality and process. We like to collaborate on everything, so we have no formal divisions on where we each like to focus, and we like to put our brains togeth- er on every aspect of a project. We just have a non-stop dialogue with each other, and sort through things that way. We'll take different POVs on various aspects and ex- plore ideas and creative choices that way, and that really helps us see the pros and cons available to us in those choices. And then we'll usually end up leaning one way or the other. That's basically how it works." What were the main technical challenges of pulling it together? "One of the big ones was logistics and scheduling. When you're dealing with a cast this big, and with so many movie stars, just even getting them all togeth- er in one place when you need them is quite a trick. Sometimes we'd have to schedule around people and their other projects, and trying to shoot with those constraints is quite challenging. And with films like these there are so many aspects and moving parts to them that you need an immense amount of prep. We started months and months ahead just to get it ready to shoot, and then all the post orga- nization is even more complicated, as we had so much VFX work to do." How early on did you start integrating post and all the VFX? "On day one of prep, basically. A lot of our earliest work speaks to the VFX and our overall visual plan for the film, and we do many, many drafts of where we're going to go with a sequence on a visual level. We'll do storyboards, turn those into previs and remake the sequence over and over again in previs until we know exactly how we want to shoot it. And it's kind of a fun pro- cess as you get to make the movie several times before you actually have to do it, and I think it's an invaluable tool in exploring how you want the movie to be. And also, if you land on something, it's a great tool for communicating with the rest of the crew on exactly what you're going for. It's such a large crew that to have a visual reference ANTHONY & JOE RUSSO: CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR HOW THE SIBLING DUO STRUCK BOX OFFICE GOLD BY IAIN BLAIR T One Civil War challenge was getting the whole cast in the same place at the same time.

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