Sib­ling di­rec­tors Joe and An­thony Russo


The Gulf Today - Panorama - - Front Page - by Frank Lovece

With more su­per­heroes per square inch than any movie be­fore, Avengers: Infinity War launched into the­atres on Thurs­day, as the be­gin­ning of the end … of ac­tors’ con­tracts. While some Marvel Cin­e­matic Uni­verse stars will con­tinue on to the un­ti­tled se­quel be­ing re­leased next year, the char­ac­ters of oth­ers may meet their doom. Death be not proud, but it doth re­spect bind­ing le­gal doc­u­ments.

Who­ever lives or dies, such he­roes as Cap­tain Amer­ica, Iron Man,

Thor, Spi­der-man and the Black Pan­ther will be ar­rayed against the cos­mic con­queror Thanos. As pre­saged in many of the pre­vi­ous ilms, he has been hunt­ing the six Infinity

Stones, which var­i­ously con­trol time, space and other pri­mal con­structs. With them, he plans to de­stroy half the uni­verse in or­der to achieve some sort of pur­ported equilib­rium.

Brothers An­thony and Joe Russo, who to­gether di­rected the well-re­viewed hits Cap­tain Amer­ica: The Win­ter Sol­dier (2014) and

Cap­tain Amer­ica: Civil War (2016), re­united with those ilms’ screen­writ­ers,

Christo­pher Markus and Stephen Mcfeely, to shoot

Infinity War and its se­quel back-to-back. The af­fa­ble sib­lings, call­ing sep­a­rately by phone from the movie’s press tour in Sin­ga­pore, spoke with Newsday con­trib­u­tor Frank Lovece.

You’ve called this a heist movie, but those gen­er­ally are about the clever me­chan­ics of an elab­o­rate bur­glary. This seems more a war movie, which tra­di­tion­ally is about char­ac­ters forced to work to­gether and show­ing their deep­est selves un­der ex­treme pres­sure.

Joe: A lot of times we talk about genre el­e­ments to make a movie ac­ces­si­ble to an au­di­ence, so they un­der­stand the story struc­ture when they come into it. But also, these movies work much bet­ter when you cross-pol­li­nate them with an­other genre. Thanos is col­lect­ing the stones, and there’s a tick­ing clock: That’s where it relects

a heist movie. And it cer­tainly lines up with a war ilm be­cause it puts

char­ac­ters in a po­si­tion to deine them­selves and deine who they are …. The themes of Infinity

War are: What is the cost of be­ing a hero in a com­pli­cated world, and does the value of do­ing what’s right out­weigh the cost?

Loki has grown from a mur­der­ous an­tag­o­nist in Thor (2011) and

The Avengers (2012) to be­come a con­flicted ig­ure who can ind

him­self do­ing the right thing, al­beit on his own terms. Who is Loki now, to you, in Infinity War?

Joe: Re­formed-vil­lain char­ac­ters are typ­i­cally the most in­ter­est­ing — and I would also put Natasha Ro­manoff in that cat­e­gory — be­cause they har­bour a dark past and they un­der­stand dark­ness. But now they can try to em­brace good­ness in a way that makes them more com­pelling be­cause they’ve been to the other side.

An­thony: It’s a tough ques­tion to an­swer without get­ting into spoil­ers.

In gen­eral, what ap­peals to my brother and me about movies in gen­eral, char­ac­ters in gen­eral, is the com­plex­ity that you can ind within them.

Peo­ple aren’t sim­ply this or sim­ply that. Loki is a great ex­am­ple — some­body who is torn in two di­rec­tions. We tried to do a sim­i­lar thing with Thanos: Even though he is so­cio­pathic, he also has a strong emo­tional life and a lot of in­stincts that can al­most be called al­tru­is­tic. It’s a very com­plex ex­pres­sion, and I think we’ve seen that with the jour­ney of Loki as well.

About the se­quel, the “un­ti­tled fourth Avengers movie” — what’s tak­ing so long to ind a ti­tle? You’ve filmed it al­ready! You know what it’s about!

An­thony: We do know the ti­tle. We spent a long time de­vel­op­ing these sto­ries with be­fore we went and shot both ilms back

to back. We haven’t an­nounced the ti­tle be­cause we thought it would be bet­ter to hold it un­til peo­ple had the ex­pe­ri­ence of this movie irst.

The ti­tle might be a spoiler?

An­thony: Per­haps, yeah.

Stan Lee is now 95 and not as spry as be­fore. A cou­ple of years ago, James Gunn di­rected three Stan cameos at once, for his own Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.

2, for Scott Der­rick­son’s Doc­tor Strange, and for an­other, un­re­vealed ilm. Was that this movie?

Joe: We di­rected ev­ery­thing. We brought him in for both his cameos the same day.

We know he’s shot a cameo for July’s Ant­man and the Wasp. Do you think next year’s

Infinity War se­quel might be his last?

An­thony: That’s a very hard ques­tion to an­swer. It’s en­tirely pos­si­ble. I mean, he is very old.

And we’ve watched him trans­form over the last cou­ple of years as we’ve been work­ing with him. All we can do is we can hope that his health stays strong and that he re­mains vig­or­ous enough to keep ap­pear­ing. But at that age you just can’t say. When we did shoot with him, I could not be more happy and grate­ful that it did work and that he was happy to do it.

Avengers: Infinity War brings to­gether a record num­ber of su­per­heroes to fight the com­mon en­emy Thanos.

The Russo brothers to­gether di­rected hits Cap­tain Amer­ica: The Win­ter Sol­dier (2014) and Cap­tain Amer­ica: Civil War (2016, below).

The Avengers (2012) was the first film in The Avengers film se­ries.

The film­maker brothers are known for their work on sea­son 1 of tele­vi­sion se­ries Ar­rested De­vel­op­ment, for which they won an Emmy Award for Out­stand­ing Di­rect­ing for a Com­edy Se­ries in 2004.

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