The Gray Man: The Russo Brothers Explain The Movie’s Connection To Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Besides Chris Evans)

Chris Evans as Lloyd Hansen in The Gray Man
(Image credit: Netflix)

Since Chris Evans hung up his Captain America shield in 2019, the actor has been outstretching his acting muscles to new territories beyond the traditional hero and up next he’ll play a villain. The actor is reteaming with Marvel’s Russo Brothers for The Gray Man, which is among July’s Netflix releases. As we await their action movie, the Russos have shared its connection to Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The Winter Soldier is of course the first time Joe and Anthony Russo partnered with Marvel Studios, and the movie remains among our top ranking Marvel films. While speaking about The Gray Man, the filmmakers shared how the two movies fit together for them: 

We read it years ago while we were making Winter Soldier, and we actually did the first adaptation of it in between takes while we were directing Winter Soldier as a potential movie to direct after we were done with it. But then we got asked to do Civil War and then Avengers, so we put this on the shelf for a few years.

In an interview with ComicBook, the Russos revealed that they’ve been trying to adapt The Gray Man from Mark Greaney's novel since they were hired on their first Marvel project. However, they were not expecting to end up subsequently helming Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame following that. Four massive Marvel films took up their time, but they were eventually able to come back to The Gray Man and cast their Marvel star for a completely different role than Steve Rogers. 

Chris Evans was told of The Gray Man role at the end of Endgame’s production, when they asked him what he was going to do next and he shared with them he wanted to “take risks moving forward.” His mustache-wearing villain fit the bill of a “risk” with the character apparently being a “complete sociopath,” and here he is, starring in another Russo Brothers movie! 

The movie stars Ryan Gosling as the titular Gray Man, who is a skilled CIA mercenary who becomes the target of Chris Evans’ Lloyd Hansen. Evans also describes his character as someone who is “so liberated, and free, and honest,” making him an especially great villain to not only watch, but to play around with on set. 

Since the Russos had the major job of concluding the first era of Marvel films with Avengers: Endgame, they have been stepping away from heroics to pursue a string of adaptations and bringing Marvel actors along the ride. They made Cherry with Tom Holland, Extraction with Chris Hemsworth (as writer/producers) and they recently cast Chris Pratt in sci-fi project, The Electric State

The Gray Man is coming to limited theaters and will be available to stream with a Netflix subscription on July 15. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.