CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR Directors Reveal Their Take on Spider-Man
Joe and Anthony Russo – directors of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and its upcoming followup, Captain America: Civil War – have, among many, a big responsibility: they’re introducing Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Captain America: Civil War will feature not only a schism between the Avengers – with Captain America (Chris Evans) leading one faction of the heroes against Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and the government – but the superhero epic will also serve as Spider-Man’s debut to the interconnected universe, with young actor Tom Holland being the third actor to portray the webhead in live-action feature films. Unrelated to Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s iterations of the character, the Marvel Cinematic Universe Spider-Man will be “John Hughes inspired,” a 15 year old high school student living with his widowed Aunt May (Marisa Tomei).
Jon Watts – director of next year’s currently untitled solo Spider-Man outing – previously revealed that coming-of-age movies such as Say Anything, Almost Famous, and Can’t Buy Me Love are serving as inspirations for Marvel’s take on the character, which will be the youngest we’ve yet to see Peter Parker on the big screen. The “high school student/superhero” catch is what Spider-Man originated as: he was a teen superhero who wasn’t a sidekick. Additionally, it will introduce a nice dynamic to the Marvel Studios franchise – a young, naive, and inexperienced teenager interacting with the Avengers, seasoned and veteran pros.
In a new interview with Comicbook.com, the Russos discussed how they’ll be approaching the wall-crawler, who they previously revealed will be “a little lighter and fun.” Explaining that they took a “very personal approach” to Spider-Man, Joe Russo went on to share further: “We had thought back to the things that excited us about him as a character when we were younger, and one of the most important components of that was that he’s a high schooler burdened with incredible powers and responsibility. That really differentiates him from every other character in the Marvel universe as opposed to other superheroes. For us, it was extremely important that we cast somebody very close to the age of a high school student. The previous films had adults playing a high schooler. We wanted more of an authenticity to the casting. We were very specific about that. We wanted an energy and charisma from the character, an energy, but also an insecurity that would make him fun to watch in contrast to the confident superheroes.”
In the pursuit of authenticity, this Peter Parker will find himself in a more realistic setting – very much in line with the stark realism and grounded-ness found in The Winter Soldier. “It was also important to us that the actor that was cast feel contemporary because the other films that portrayed where he lived is more… they honored the comic books in terms of the choices. But you go look at the home that Tobey Maguire lived in in [Sam] Raimi’s Spider-Man was… those were very expensive homes. We wanted to relate it to the reality… A character growing up with his aunt in New York, a single income family… Where would they live? What would that look like? Where could they afford to live? We asked ourselves all those questions,” Joe Russo explained. “We try to take a very logical and realistic and naturalistic approach to the character. Again, in combination those are all of the things that we try to do, and of course, to bring our own touches, too.”
Anthony Russo then shared the directing pair’s experience with bringing in Spider-Man – generally a light, fun, and colorful character who is the opposite of Captain America’s often shady and murky world of espionage and shadows – into a Captain America threequel: “We’re bringing Spider-Man into the movie in that universe, now, in that specific tonal stylistic world. I think underscoring everything Joe was saying about your question in terms of how were we thinking about the character in relation to past interpretations of the character, part of our choices were all so colored by the specifics of the world what we were playing in with these two Captain America movies, meaning Winter Soldier and Civil War,” said the filmmaker. “It’s a very specific tonal world. It’s a little more grounded and a little more hard-core contemporary. That was also coloring our choices a lot about the character on Spider-Man.”
To end the interview, the filmmakers noted that they’re fans of Sam Raimi’s first two Spider-Man films, with Joe Russo adding that Raimi’s more colorful, comic book-y take on the character – which was largely based in the Silver Age, Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and John Romita comics of the 1960s – differs from the “feeling of naturalism” that features in the Captain America films. Spider-Man will premiere in Captain America: Civil War on May 6 before starring in his own feature coming July 28, 2017.