Captain America: The Winter Soldier

In this film you get to a lot of new relationships and you get to build on a lot of old relationships. What direction do you think the character has been brought in because of those separate relationships? With Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie)?

Well, I think it's brought in more of a human direction. Cap's such a good guy, it's hard for him to bleed. Not just literally, but figuratively, you know what I mean? He doesn't want to burden anyone with his struggles, and unfortunately, that's what makes characters dynamic and interesting. So any way we can push him in more of a human direction, where he does show weakness, and he does struggle, and he does connect with people and show vulnerability, I think that grounds him a little bit. It just makes him more interesting. So all the relationships, especially with Natasha and with Sam. Even though we do have the Winter Soldier, he's more of like – we're doing third act stuff right now – so for the meat of the film, the majority of the film, the connections that he makes, I think, really bring him to life are with Natasha and Sam.

You’ve talked about how it was a big decision for you to commit to this character and the amount of films you'd be making. So three movies in, how do you feel about that and your relationship with Marvel?

I feel really good. I'd really be kicking myself if I hadn't done this. Oh my God! I'd really be kicking – oh, man, I'd be kicking myself [laughs]. It was just a matter of adjusting to lifestyle changes. My team told me this in the beginning because they knew I was apprehensive too. They said it comes in waves. You've got to respect the fact that when the movie comes out, there's going to be a surge. And there's going to be some changes, but then it's going to go away. It's going to die back down, just like any type of actor. When a movie comes out, you get a little bit more of a spotlight on it. And then, when it goes away… So you can monitor it. It's not like once these movies are out, your life is forfeit and you can't have any more control. So you've just got to take those periods of time in stride, and it will pass. And it will die down eventually, and things will go back to a relative level of normalcy. Aside from that, I love doing these movies because they're good. It's been one of the tricky things in my career. I'm sure you've seen some of my not so good movies. And it's disappointing when you put a lot of time and effort and sweat. It's a real – oh, it sucks. When you see the movie, you're like, "That is not what I read. And that is not what I wanted to be a part of, and it's a real disappointment." And these movies, you don't feel that. I mean, you feel that, but I've begun to just put my trust in Kevin Feige and all the guys at Marvel. They're so good at what they do. Their internal barometer of what is good and bad is pretty on point. Not just from the standpoint of the movie, but in the marketing and the trailers and the wardrobe. It's just going to look right. So it's scary diving into such a big endeavor. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work on a massive scale. But you feel a little bit more comfort in that you trust the people that are making these movies, and that's what acting's about: trust. If you don't trust someone every single take you're going to be holding back, and it's nice to let go.

The Russo brothers characterized this as a sort of rebooted tone, but Captain America was kind of the only super hero in the last decade or so who really was sort of resolutely heroic.


How does that change in tone affect him? And is there more of that identity crisis that other super heroes have gone through, or is it just a matter of placing him in a context?

Well, he is a really human super hero. He doesn't shoot lightning. He doesn't fly. It's very meat and potatoes type powers. So I think it's only appropriate that the tone and the theme fits more of a human element. It does have kind of a very grounded political thriller tone to it, and I think that just goes hand in hand with the character. It just works. And like I said earlier, they're also trying to infuse much more human conflict that doesn't necessarily have to do with fighting monsters and doing giant stunts. It's just about him coping with moral issues about right and wrong and good and bad. That's stuff we can all relate to.

But he's not necessarily questioning his identity as much as he is being comfortable with his identity in a more ambiguous environment?

No, no, no. I think he's fine with that. I think his question is how he fits into the world around him.

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