Captain America Press Conference Transcript

Ahead of the Captain America The Winter Soldier European Premiere in London the directors and cast including Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L Jackson faced journalists for an in depth and often hilarious press conference full transcript below.

Q: In the film, Steve Rogers keeps a checklist of all the great pop culture stuff he’s missed out on in the last 50 years. So if you had to recommend anything for Steve, what would it be and why?

Anthony Russo: I think I would recommend him to check out Captain America: The Winter Soldier.


Joe Russo: That’s all you need to know.

Anthony Russo: I wanna know if we got it right. “Does it feel representative of your experience?”

Q: For him it would be a documentary. And you, Joe? 

Joe Russo: Four words: Fifty Shades of Grey.


Q: The whole trilogy or just the one?

Joe Russo: Just the first one!

Chris Evans: I would stick with music. I would probably do The Beatles, Led Zepplin.

Scarlett Johansson: Hmmm…Cake Pops. Because how do they make those things anyway?! (Laughter) They’re just so delicious!

Q: And Samuel?

Samuel L. Jackson: Um, RedTube.


Sebastian Stan: The Godfather, for sure! The Godfather, and maybe Coronas…I dunno.


Anthony Mackie: Any Eddie Murphy movie before The Golden Child.


Scarlett Johansson: I love The Golden Child!

Anthony Mackie: Anything before that! The Golden Child is included.

Q: You guys have such diverse careers, if you could take any one of the characters you’ve played and put them in the Marvel Universe, who would you pick and why?

Chris Evans: That’s so tough… if I can take any character I’ve played and put it in the Marvel Universe?

Scarlett Johansson: Does it have to fit in the Marvel Universe?

Samuel L. Jackson: He didn’t say they had to fit.

Chris Evans: My movies are terrible, I don’t want to do this…


Samuel L. Jackson: I’d pick Mitch Hennessy from The Long Kiss Goodnight, just because he’s so childlike and would be in awe of everybody in there but he’d claim he’d have a superpower.

Scarlett Johansson: If I could do the voice from Her it would avoid the early morning gym hours, so…I’m gonna choose that one!

Sebastian Stan: Well looking at my brilliant filmography (laughter) I started with Captain America movies, so I’m just not going to even speak right now, I’m just going to pour myself a glass of water…

Anthony Mackie: I’m gonna say Nate Ruffin –

Samuel L. Jackson: – Booty, from The Man!

Anthony Mackie: (Laughing) “Booty from The Man”! “Stellar work on the part of Anthony Mackie!” (Laughter) “Once again making Sam Jackson look good!” I would say Nate Ruffin from We Are Marshall, because he was such a cool, hip cat.

Q: Captain America is obviously a symbolic character, he’s a really, as said in the first film, “A Good Man”. I was actually genuinely touched, as corny as that sounds, by all of Steve’s journey over the first film and this film. But obviously the world’s a lot grittier now. How did you maintain the essence of how Captain America is “A Good Man” in this world with darker characters, without being corny? How do you keep that at the core, and also how do you get around that? 

Chris Evans: He just is a good man. It’s about developing a character. I don’t think the part of him is necessarily dependent upon his environment, he’s a good man essentially in a vacuum, he’s just a good person. He has morals and values and hopefully you can put him anywhere…whether that’s in the 40s, or the modern era or whether it’s a period film or a gritty political thriller. Hopefully the qualities of who he is will somehow still shine through. In terms of not making it corny…I think that’s more of a director question…

Anthony Russo: You know, not making him corny, you cast Chris Evans, right? He strikes the balance between somebody who is self-confident and focused and he puts the emphasis on that rather than on righteousness, which is important, but for us, we always liked the more complicated version of the character. This simple version of the character was never appealing to us. We tried to put him in a very complex situation and play with the complexity. He starts the movie off in a very vulnerable place. This is the first movie where we really catch up to him in modern day. We see what that means to him on a character level to have missed 70 years and woken up and found that nobody from his old life is around anymore. It’s a very isolated place, it’s a very vulnerable place, so his relationship to the other characters in the movie are even more important because he has nobody. I think that’s basically how we kept him grounded and how we approached the character.

Q: My question is for Scarlett specifically. Obviously one of the key components of the Black Widow character is this enigmatic past that is still affecting and defining her, but it seems at the end of this movie at least, she’s perhaps a little more receptive to what that entails. So would you as an actress be interested in going there and exploring that and realising it in a film, or do you think that perhaps some things are better left undefined and perhaps stop the character from having this very intriguing mystery?

Scarlett: Well you’ll get more of Widow’s backstory in Avengers 2…

Samuel L. Jackson: Really?


Scarlett: And I think her backstory, her rich, rich past as you’ve already described, she definitely comes from a really dark past…I think she’s really had to desensitise or dehumanise in a way to be able to do and see some of the things she’s seen and participated in willingly. I think she’s just now grappling with the fact that she may be experiencing some trauma from that, or at least she has some feelings about things. Maybe she doesn’t sleep so well at night. It’s just sort of hitting her right now that she’s kind of been acting as a sort of “gun for hire” and in doing that she’s never really made any active choices and that the rug has sort of been pulled from under her feet. So I think more interestingly would be to discover her progression of that story. Bring her back home…see where that kind of leads to, but of course that’s all in my imaginary next instalment. We’ve thrown the ball around a little bit but nothing is in the works right now.

Q: My question is for Samuel. In this film, your character has slightly more dramatic meat than in the other Marvel films, perhaps a little more to the humour that you bring while this is more of a serious tone to your performance. I wondered how that affects your experience when acting in this particular film than the others?

Samuel L. Jackson: I approach it all in the same way. You show up, you look at the relationships, what’s going on, take it all seriously, and still have as much fun as you can on the inside of it. I’m really glad that we saw more of Nick and what happens with him, how he reacts to situations, but as usual he’s always trying to be three steps ahead and all of a sudden when he finds out he’s been used it kind of ways incumbent on him to find out why. Use the tools that he has at his disposal to have that happen. As usual, part of that has to do with subterfuge and diversion, even down to fooling and hurting his most trusted compatriot, and we actually shot a scene where that’s explained. We had that moment, but I’ve been told it slows down the film in a significant way, and they don’t want to slow it down, but…when you get the DVD and you click on my face, there’s a hidden feature (laughter) that will allow you to access that scene and you’ll see more of what that means between he and Black Widow. But it was joy to be able to go into Nick’s workplace and to find out who he is in depth in certain ways and to expose some of the stuff through conversations Robert Redford and I had filmed.

Q: Anthony and Joe, is this true, is there a lot of stuff from the cutting room floor? Can we expect to have a lot of deleted scenes on the DVD and Blu-Ray?

Joe Russo: We were actually fortunate to have enough time to work on the script and prep the movie, prior to execution. I think there are six or seven minutes of deleted scenes? Not a particularly large amount.

Q: It used to be for where the films would stand alone and the one thing Marvel has done fantastically well as actors and writers and directors is create that universe. I’m wondering if that affects the approach to making the movie, when you don’t just have one story to tell, you’ve got a piece to tell, but you’re already planning to go up against Batman in two years time. Does that have to be a longer game, as it were, in the way you approach it?

Joe Russo: It is, it is a giant mosaic, and it’s a very ambitious undertaking. It’s probably as ambitious as movies have ever gotten in terms of scale and the amount of films that they are making that are interconnected…but the real secret sauce is Kevin Feige at Marvel, who is this auteur producer who is quite brilliant at what he does in terms of keeping that interconnectedness, but also focusing at the movie at hand. He’s very good at not putting any constraints on the movie he was working on because he has the belief that if you’re thinking about the future you’re not going to make the best movie you can right now. He really tries to make the best film he can and then figure out what the next move is from there, so it’s a very organic process.

Q: There’s a lot of physical action going on amidst all the other stuff. What was the biggest challenge for you guys, were there any injuries?


Chris Evans: I mean there’s always injuries, whether you end up in a cast or not. Doing stunt work is physical stuff, and even when you block a punch, that punch lands somewhere, so you’re always going home with bumps and bruises and we’re all getting older, so it has lasting effects.

Q: Was there anything in particular?

Chris Evans: Any fight with Frank Grillo! (Laughter) He doesn’t know how to pull his punches! Mack, you must know this!

Anthony Mackie: Yeah, we were hitting each other for real.

Chris Evans: You hit for real! If you don’t block Frank Grillo’s punch, you’re gonna get knocked out.

Anthony Mackie: That’s because he’s an actual boxer.

Chris Evans: He’s a boxer! And he doesn’t know anything but 100%.

Anthony Mackie: That’s because he’s a mean person.


Scarlett Johansson: Frank Grillo beat the sh#t out of me. (Laughter) I’m forever wounded from these movies. I have old injuries from Iron Man 2 days that I just keep reinjuring. That’s part of the joy. It’s part of the process, I guess. As you sustain more injuries over time and it hurts for longer…I like to be able to do as much of the stunt work as possible. I think you take a little bit of a risk with that, but I’d rather that than having to hand off my scenes to a stunt team, as amazing and capable as they are all the time. I’d rather do some of it and have some battle wounds, that way I can compare bruises!

Sebastian Stan: I feel like I got pretty familiar with Chris’ kneecap like once or twice. (Laughter) I don’t know, we were doing everything so quickly and we prepared for months doing those fight sequences so I honestly wouldn’t feel anything until once I was in the car on the way home when I couldn’t get out of the seat when I got dropped off at the hotel.

Q: And Sam? You weren’t on the end of a Frank Grillo punch at any point, but…

Samuel L. Jackson: Me? No!

Q: Any injuries?

Samuel L. Jackson: No! I use my stunt man extensively! (Laughter) I have no issues with him being hurt, that’s what he’s paid to do and he loves it, he’s from a stunt family. His father was a stuntman, he and all his brothers are stuntmen. Before they could eat breakfast in the morning their dad kicked them down in the stairs in the morning, or made them jump out a window to come downstairs to get their breakfast, so…(Laughter) I use Kiante [Elam] more than…my god, he works more than me sometimes.

Scarlett Johansson: Why didn’t I learn that from you? After so many movies. I’d come in limping going “I hurt so bad!”, it’s like, “Why don’t you let other people that are better than that do that job?”

Samuel L. Jackson: It’s way better to stand there, they throw a punch, you duck out of the way, they fight, and you get up and go “Urgh!” (Laughter) and then run off and do the next guy, that’s it! Believe me, it’s good for you!

Q: Scarlett Johansson. Captain America has his shield. Falcon can fly. You only have two small guns, have you ever asked for anything more to protect yourself in the film? And the second question is how do you identify with Black Widow?

Scarlett Johansson: Well I have a bite, I have a Widow’s bite…and uh…you know, all kind of things that come out of my belt. And I have my wit, of course…(Laughter)…My sensational wit. My kung fu-like wit. And I think part of the Widow’s fighting style and what makes her charming is her size against her opponent and it’s to her advantage that she’s fighting these big dudes and she’s kind of quick thinking and quick on her feet.

Chris Evans: A mouse that’s hard to catch.

Scarlett Johansson: A mouse that’s hard to catch! And I think that any character that you play you have to be sympathetic towards because you know, even if that’s a villainous character, that’s what you always have to have, that likeability to you. I think this character has a certain unexpected humility to her. She has that soft underbelly…and I have that same soft underbelly.

Samuel L. Jackson: That you do. That you do.

Q: A question for Mr. Jackson. I was wondering as a fully paid up member of the association of spectacles wearers, how do you cope with the wearing of the eyepatch in these movies? When one eye is closed it must affect peripheral vision, it might mean you bump into other actors, scenery, stuff like that, or is there any advantage wearing the patch?

Samuel L. Jackson: I learned to turn my head further. But the interesting thing about the patch is that I didn’t discover, until Captain America, the first one, was, because I didn’t have that many lines to say…was that all of a sudden I had dialogue and I would learn it the night before when I got to work…I could only see half the page when I put the patch on! So I discovered that I have to actually learn my lines with one hand covering my eye so that my mind will absorb what’s going on in there. And that’s the one thing, but I put up with both my eyes open, don’t you?

Q: Scarlett, you are a musician as well as an actress, I was wondering if the rest of you have any hidden music ability and if you would like to do “Captain America: The Musical”? (Laughter)

Anthony Mackie: Man, nah. (Laughter) I can deal with the trumpet a little bit. Growing up in New Orleans, you have to learn an instrument, so I could deal with the trumpet.

Chris Evans: The trumpet?

Anthony Mackie: I’m nice on the spoons. I can do a funky beat. (Drums beat on table) Aww, sh#t. Some turntables, you know…

Samuel L. Jackson: So other words, no.


Q: Sebastian, any musical talent?

Sebastian Stan: Nope, no musical talent. Just good old karaoke, you know?  That’s all I’ve got.

Anthony Mackie: Which we’re doing tonight at The Dorchester!


Samuel L. Jackson: I played instruments when I was a kid. I played trumpet, French horn, and flute. And I’ve learnt to play various instruments for different films like guitar, piano, and cello…but I don’t keep up with any of them.

Q: And Chris?

Chris Evans: Yeah, I played the piano and the guitar!

Q: Not at the same time, surely?

Chris Evans: Nope, at the same time, it’s amazing! You should see it, it’s really good!


Q: So Anthony and Joe I can expect that Captain America 3 will be a musical then? “Captain!” Exclamation mark.

Anthony Russo: Yeah, right?

Joe Russo: Frozen’s doing so well, so…(Laughter)

Q: My question is for Sebastian. You previously said you’ve got a nine-picture contract with Marvel…

Anthony Mackie: Damn, kid!

Samuel L. Jackson: That’s what happened to the rest of my deal!


Anthony Mackie: You know who’s paying for karaoke!

Q: Could you possibly see your character becoming Captain America in the future?

Anthony Mackie: I hope so in nine movies!

Sebastian Stan: I have no idea, man. I mean, I really don’t know. I’m still trying to realise that I’m sitting up with these guys, you know…(Gestures to everyone but Mackie). Wherever those two fellas want to take the story, is where I’m going so…(After Mackie jokingly gestures, Stan acknowledges him)…and also, this guy.

Anthony Mackie: Thank you! Damn, man. You just cut me out!


Joe Russo: We’re going to use this press conference actually to announce that Anthony Mackie will no longer be with Marvel…(Laughter)…Falcon was one-off…Iron Fist is taking over!

Q: Captain America 3 is going to up against Batman and Superman, you may have heard of them. Do you have plans to suitably up the ante, do you think you might see another Avenger?

Joe Russo: Celebrity boxing match! That’s what we’re working on right now, you know? I don’t know, I think who said this best…two cars are speeding at each other, one of them is going to have to veer out of the way at some point, so…

Anthony Mackie: Hell yeah!

Joe Russo: Listen, I think Marvel announced that date originally, if you go back historically and look at Marvel and I think Sony have been trading off on that May date for a long time and I think when Warner Bros. decided to move that film, they moved it to the May date. So I can see where Kevin says “I’m not moving off that date, so…” I don’t think that there’ll be anything to up the ante other than that hopefully we make a great movie and everybody is very excited to see it. What is it, May 5th, May 6th?

Anthony Russo: All we can do is just focus on making the best film we can make and when and how it gets released there’s other factors involved.

Samuel L. Jackson: And Marvel we have heroes, and there’s DC where you have interesting bad guys…

Anthony Mackie: We have Chris Evans, baby, deal with that! (Laughter) Yeah!

Q: I got a question from my six year old son, it’s for everybody. Basically The Avengers are obviously his heroes, who is your hero? 

Chris Evans: It’s so generic but I’ll say my parents. They’re the ones who shape you and make you and teach you how to love and how to feel pain and happiness and cope. It’s everything from birth until you’re in your teen years, that’s where you’re really forming who you are. I’ve really got to tip my hat to my parents, they’re my heroes. Good luck everyone else following that up!


Scarlett Johansson: David Bowie! (Laughter) That’s my hero. For obvious reasons.

Anthony Mackie: Samuel L. Jackson.


Samuel L. Jackson: I look at the young people that put their lives on the line for us, so we do have the freedom to make movies like this and tell stories like this because we do have a volunteer army now, you don’t have to do it. And those young men and women are going out there to put their lives on the line and go to different countries and they’re there. To make sure that we can do what we do. I admire them greatly.

Sebastian Stan: Well, my mom, definitely, and probably Jim Carrey. I was obsessed with Jim Carrey growing up, so it led me to acting, I guess.

Anthony Mackie: My two brothers. I mean, I spent the first 12 years of my life with them beating me up, and the past 22 of my life applauding me and building me up, so my two brothers.

Joe Russo: I can’t decide if it’s Superman or Batman…(Laughter)…Maybe if somebody made a film and put them both in that movie? Together…?

Anthony Russo: You’re going to be in for a really good weekend.

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