The Captain America European Press Conference: What did we learn?

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Contains some spoilers, but nothing big, don’t panic, read it anyway…

The Avengers reassembled for an 11-man and 2-woman star-studded press conference on Monday afternoon. The cast were, for the most-part, friendly with each other. But amid some great questions, some not so great, some participants on top form, others looking like they missed their superhero coffee; what did we learn?

The big headline was definitely Chris Evans revealing that if the Avengers were a political reality he would “be Team Iron Man” because the thought of these kinds of vigilantes was genuinely worrying and in light of the plot of the movie, it was an interesting statement.

Also, Downey Jr. mysteriously revealed that Jeremy Renner (who despite being seated, didn’t seem to be there at all) was “Lord of the Underworld” around the set at the weekends!

Here’s a breakdown of the other talking points…

  1. The Russos reaffirmed their commitment that “action sequences are part of the storytelling” and “all the sequences are designed around how it will take the characters through the movie”

This was certainly true from the preview we saw. Every fight was a consequence of the unfolding narrative. ‘Team Cap’ and ‘Team Iron Man’ only clash as a result of quite detailed and considered discussions. Surely, everyone was screaming inside about how Batman V Superman did the complete opposite and fell flat on its face…

  1. The directors were backed up by their Marvel Universe Overlord Kevin Feige as they clearly had to think hard about how and why each character would clash. “The chessboard in this movie was who would side with who – there were a lot of characters that went back and forth for a while” he said, adding that (first spoiler) the introduction of Black Panther who “doesn’t really give a shit” as “he has his own agenda” was an aspect he really enjoyed.

It’s certainly true that some characters are slower to take sides, or are introduced in different ways to others. The huge action scene at the airport which includes most of the cast actually contains a lot of nuance. Most filmmakers would have ended this film with this sequence; instead it both develops tensions between previous allies and is amazing superhero fun.

  1. Spiderman, as trailers ruined, is key to this nuance as raised from a cheeky question about the dubious moral angle to Iron Man effectively recruiting a child soldier. Iron Man recognises him as the “greatest non-lethal weapon to capture people you don’t want to necessarily hurt” and when Spidey gets in trouble Iron Man tells him to “keep his distance”.

This was some spectacular spin from the filmmakers as they both answered the ‘child soldier’ jibe and turned it into an opportunity to show the effort they had put in to develop the relationship between Stark and Peter Parker.

  1. Don’t ask Robert Downey Jr. an insightful and complicated question too early – he needs time to wake up.

He did warm-up as the conference progressed, showcasing the type of quick wit that makes him perfect for the role. His interplay with other cast-members and journalists kept everyone on their toes.

  1. Paul Bettany was on very dry form, putting in that it was no contest that Vision was the obvious superhero to pick out if one of them was actually brought to life to help remedy some of humanity’s real world issues. “It’s not that tough… I’m just saying he’s omnipotent and he can pick up the hammer”. Feige tried to answer the question ‘properly’ and y’know, promote the film, by saying “Tony and Cap have such strong morals” but Downey Jr. was having none of it as the question had insisted on a single hero. “I nominate Hawkeye because he retires every ten minutes; he knows how tough it is”.

This was the start of the bromance between Downey Jr. and Jeremy Renner, which flows mostly towards Renner it seems. It was another question that got the cast discussing between themselves.

  1. Make sure you know your Paul’s. “This one’s for Paul” didn’t go down well for a panel containing Messrs Rudd and Bettany. The question about being integrated into the cast was actually for Rudd, much to Battany’s feigned annoyance. “In my own town” he moans and tells the questioner to “just marry Paul”.

The actual answer didn’t give Rudd anywhere to go, but the running theme that Paul Rudd should answer all of Paul Bettany’s questions regarding Vision, definitely made it worth it.

***biggest spoiler so far coming up, you might want to skip this one, or not***

7. Daniel Brühl is happy to be alive. When questioned, by a German (who did acknowledge this was funny) about playing possibly the most human, sympathetic Marvel villain, he agreed that was “what attracted me right away”. He fumbled over whether remaining alive might open the door for future films though. Anthony Mackie stepped to his aid with the summary, “I hope so, but no!” That kind of question just traps an actor. Fortunately, they found a way out between them and this was the start of Mackie chipping in on other people’s questions too.
  1. Don’t ask a sexist question, although the response was awesome. Emily Van Camp and Elizabeth Olsen were representing for the female side of the cast in the absence of Scarlet Johansson. Severely outnumbered (11 to 2 on the panel and more heavily in the film) they were asked if they had to go “extra girly” or “bloke-ified” on set. The answer was basically ‘no’, with “I think just hanging as yourself is good” from Olsen which received a smattering applause. “It’s a lot of dudes” Van Camp agreed while she was also is visibly discomforted by the question.

Yeah, you tell ‘em Elizabeth. Rise above and stay classy.

  1. The airport scene was shot over “five months” according to Chris Evans. “Anthony likes to describe it as acting with a tennis ball” with green screens and CGI.

This was particularly interesting because it looked seamless. It must be a necessity with acting schedules and the computer animation required. It’s mind-blowing how painstakingly this must have been put together, with the overall effect producing such exciting action and snappy dialogue.

  1. There’s no CGI on those biceps though. One of the things you’ll come out of the cinema talking about is Captain America’s biceps. Evans revealed “you try to get those scenes in as early as possible because you gradually shed weight [over the shoot]… it’s not a utilitarian shot, it’s just trying to look good”. Paul Rudd just check that “[in real life] you were holding back the helicopter too?”. Unfortunately not, but it did leave Evans to say that he genuinely strained his shoulder in an attempt to make the shot look as realistic as possible. Initially the helicopter was too close and it didn’t look right. His injury meant he was nursed back to health in the five-truck strong Downey Jr. trailer complex though.

 

Captain America: Civil War is released in the UK on Friday 29th April.

George Meixner

Author: George Meixner

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