ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Where is Natasha’s head these days? In what state do we find her after the events of Age of Ultron?
SCARLET JOHANSSON: My gosh, this is like a therapy session! When we last saw her I think the stakes were astronomical. And she basically had to make this choice between [duty] and what she probably deserves. I think up until this point, she has put the hours in and is ready for…
To be, or not to be, an Avenger?
[Laughs] You know, I don’t think she’s ever aspired to become an Avenger. That’s not really a choice that she made. It’s kind of like the events in her life led her to that point and when we see her [in Civil War], she’s finally capable of making a choice for herself. Which is kind of a milestone in someone’s life when they’ve not really participated in the decisions that were made for them. She’s finally at a place where she’s going, “Okay, I actually kind of know what I want. And I think I kind of deserve it.”
But she’s still in the fight. So is that what she wants?
Unfortunately the events that took place … she has this kind of greater calling and this huge pull towards doing what’s right for the greater good. And she chooses that, and it’s a really heroic thing that she does, I think.
Widow appeared to be leading the team of new Avengers we saw at the end of Ultron, gathered at their headquarters.
Yeah, I don’t know if she’s leading this team but she’s certainly, she’s — I think Natasha’s a very strategic thinker and that’s her strongpoint. Her superpowers, if you want to call them that, are her experience, her ability to make usually the right decision in a quick moment, in a tight minute. And she’s not personally invested. I mean, that’s what she tells herself anyway. And so that keeps her head kind of level and clear.
She seems to be leaning strongly toward Iron Man’s side of things.
I think when you find her in Civil War, she’s looking to strategize her position, putting herself in a place where she is able to let the powers that be fight it out or whatever amongst themselves. She’s always a little bit on the perimeter so she can have a better perspective of what’s really going on.
Divide and conquer?
She’s never been one to divide and conquer. I don’t think that’s her. She’s seen that and it never works. She would see this as a kind of, it’s more complicated than picking sides, you know?
In the scenes you shot today, is she angry at Cap over what he’s done, the way Tony is?
You know, I think she understands where everyone is coming from. And none of it really matters to her, you know? There’s a bigger problem at hand and she’s, I think, strangely, kind of the mediator. Which is not exactly how you would imagine her to be. But I think she really does see both sides of the coin and I think her strength is that she’s not personally involved.
Kind of like that party scene in Ultron where she doesn’t feel the need to demonstrate strength or purity by trying to lift Thor’s hammer? She’s not out to prove anything to others?
[Laughs] Yeah, I think she knows what her strengths are, and I think she has the ability to be a leader of sorts, but she works well in a team.
How did Bruce Banner going away at the end of the last movie leave her feeling, after she reached out to him and he turned her away — then ran away?
I imagine that there are a couple of ways you could respond to that. Maybe you want to call it abandonment or whatever it is, exactly. Vulnerability, rejection. I think that you can turn inward and be very hurt and bitter and that would have been an easier choice. But she understands that Banner did what he had to do. Certainly she’s not going to be the person to chastise someone who’s not ready to open up. I don’t think she’s taking it personally.
Is she kind of like, “Hey, your loss?”
I don’t think even it’s that. I think she’s just, it’s not the right time. It’s one of those things where you think of the person with a lot of fondness. You keep that in a warm place in your heart for them. It would have been very easy for us to take that and turn it into bitterness in this film and have her be reactive. But that would be out of character, I think.
Will that storyline continue?
I don’t know. There is little room for romance in Civil War; I think there is a lot going on that doesn’t really involve big heart-to-hearts. I mean it’s certainly in there and there’s references to it. But this is not the opportunity for us to explore the Widow’s deep, personal backstory.
What do you hope for the character as the Marvel Cinematic Universe keeps expanding?
My hope for the Widow is, we’ve certainly grown from film to film. We’re building these different layers of her character. And seeing her, I think we’ve kind of grown together. She’s very capable — and I think she’s emotionally capable. I think you’ll see her coming into her own in this story.
Do you get much input into what she does and what she says?
Of course. And what her motivation is for making the decisions that she does. I had a lot of conversations with Joss about what she sees in Banner. Or why is she, at this point in her life, able to be open in this way? We both followed that storyline with a lot of confidence that it was the right arc for my character up until that point.
What are your feelings about the scrutiny Widow’s stories get?
You know, I’m happy that people scrutinize the Widow’s storylines and care about it and are invested. I’d much rather it be like that than have a kind of “meh” reaction. For me to have people say that would be, ouch, you know? Everything that I’ve done with the Widow, to me makes sense. It’s in line with active decisions that I’ve made for the character. I’ve been able to develop this character very closely with Joss and [Civil War directors Joe and Anthony Russo].
So when people get fired up, you’re like, all right, we pushed some buttons?
Yes, of course! That’s better than the mediocre reaction, definitely. We expect that. The character is so beloved. You can only hope that people are going have opinions about it, you know? She somehow ends up always on top, even if you’re not always in agreement with how she gets there.
The site, Super Interessante, began by mentioning the rumors of multiple Spider-Man costumes in Captain America: Civil War and wondered what Russo could say on the matter. "Well, we researched a lot and do a lot of experiments for all the characters. We did the same with Spider-Man," Russo offered. "We knew it had to be someone young, it was very important because we wanted to give this essence to the character, it is something unique in the Marvel Universe. Tom Holland is an amazing Spider-Man, people will love it. It was a very experimental process, placing it with other actors, especially with Downey Jr., we were learning as we did and are very happy with the result. But we are still working on some things, like the uniform. He's not ready because so much will be produced with special effects."
Civil War is loosely-based on Mark Millar's comic book mini-series. The Russo brothers had to change things up quite a bit but wanted to capture the essence of Millar's work. One small element from that story arc is that Tony Stark provides Peter Parker with a red-and-gold Spider-Man costume. Will we see a version of it in the film? "The film will show a mix of what everyone is waiting for and a little twist," Russo said. "So yeah, that's what I can tell."
"From the second that we had the idea that we were gonna do Civil War, Spider-Man was a part of the plan. A part of the story," Anthony Russo began. "It was a very complicated business arrangement for Marvel Studios to be able to use Spider-Man from Sony studios. So we were always told by Marvel, ‘Well, don’t count on it, you may not get to use Spider-Man, you may not get to use Spider-Man, you better have a plan B.’ We were like, ‘Okay, we get it we have a plan B, we’ll figure the movie out if we don’t get Spider-Man,’ but the truth is we never had a plan B. We only ever envisioned the movie with Spider-Man. He was always a part of the story. It was very important to us to re-introduce the character. We cast him young. Tom Holland’s a young actor, a teen himself. We really like playing to that nature of the character and we think it makes him very special in the universe of the Marvel characters."
He wouldn't share many details about the new take on the character outside of that, but he did say, "People are really going to love Spider-Man in this film."
However, he also added that it'll be Spider-Man and his other insect-themed hero who will provide the comic relief of Civil War. When asked where most of Civil War's lighthearted and comedic moments will come from, Russo responded, "It would be characters like Spider-Man, Ant-Man, who enter the story a little later."
Emily VanCamp is set to return as Sharon Carter in the first film of Marvel’s upcoming Phase Three, Captain America: Civil War, and while she can’t reveal too much about the upcoming Avengers showdown between Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), it’s pretty clear whose side she’s on!
“She’s definitely Team Captain America,” VanCamp said of the conflict when she stopped by the ET offices on Tuesday. “That’s who she is within the universe, I mean, she’s always had his back.”
Sharon even gets to hop in on the front lines and do some fighting in Civil War, the 29-year-old actress revealed. “I got to do a small fight sequence with Scarlett [Johansson] which was fun,” she said. “We’re all just kind of kicking ass in those movies.”
In the comic books, Sharon and Captain America -- who VanCamp says have “similar moral compasses” -- have something of a romantic history, which is complicated slightly by the fact that she is canonically the niece of “Agent” Peggy Carter (whom Cap romanced back in his pre-serum days). But will that romance ever play out in the Marvel cinematic universe?
“That’s where it all gets really tricky,” the actress admits, “because there are die-hard fans that want to see him with different people. There’s all the different camps, so hopefully people are happy with it.”
Another divisive element in the Marvel fandom is the central conflict of Civil War, which pits the former Avengers teammates against one another. VanCamp says even she was anxious to see how the battle played out.
“I sort of wondered, before I read the script, how that was going to pan out,” she admits. “But you really do understand and sort of see both sides of it. I think it was really well done.”
Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” finds Steve Rogers leading the newly formed team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. But after another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps—one led by Steve Rogers and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark’s surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability.
Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” stars Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd and Frank Grillo, with William Hurt and Daniel Brühl.
Anthony & Joe Russo are directing with Kevin Feige producing. Louis D’Esposito, Alan Fine, Victoria Alonso, Patricia Whitcher, Nate Moore and Stan Lee are the executive producers. The screenplay is by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. Get ready to pick a side and join the nonstop action playing out on two fronts when Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” opens in U.S. theaters on May 6, 2016.
"It was very important for us, we go young with the character," Anthony explained, "because what we love about Spider-Man is that he's a high school student. That's part of his vulnerability. And it is what makes him special in the Marvel universe. It's very unique. So we wanted to play with that aspect of the character. When we were thinking it about it, we wanted to say, 'Who is Spider-Man today?' Sometimes when you get interpretations of Spider-Man they are very nostalgic, the origins of the character. Sometimes there is an old-fashion patina to the tone of who Spider-Man is. We wanted to think about: Who is Spider-Man today? If he lived in Queens today: what would his life be like? What's the texture of his life like? What's the texture of his relationship with his Aunt [May] like, who he lives with. How can we make the relationship and the character very contemporary? That was our goal with the character. While also making him very young and true to his high school nature."
In Mark Millar's Civil War comic book mini-series, Marvel characters were either for or against the Superhero Registration Act. In Captain America: Civil War, they are either for or against the Sokovia Accords, which states: Superheroes "shall no longer operate freely or unregulated, but instead operate under the rules, ordinances and governances of the afore mentioned United Nations panel, acting only when and if the panel deems it appropriate and/or necessary."
In the comics, Vision rebelled against the SHRA, siding with Captain America, and played a important role in the climactic battle against Iron Man and his backers. But in the film, Vision will side with Iron Man. Why? We don't know yet. Perhaps, the part of the JARVIS A.I. that courses through his wiring makes him lean toward Tony Stark. Or, perhaps he just believes superheroes need some government supervision to keep them in check.
Sina Entertainment chatted with the Captain America: Civil War directors, Anthony and Joe Russo, and they were asked if the red-skinned android plays a big part in the film. The question produced a tantalizing response. "Vision is a captivating character, and he does play a critical role in the Civil War," Joe Russo told Sina Entertainment. "The comic fans might be able to guess what he is going to do."
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