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Captain America: Civil War - Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans interview

Captain America: Civil War

Interview by Rob Carnevale

ROBERT Downey Jr and Chris Evans talk about some of the challenges of bringing Captain America: Civil War to the big screen as well as their mutual appreciation for each other.

Evans discusses what Downey Jr brings to the movie, as well as an on-set injury his co-star provided assistance with, while Downey Jr discusses new Spider-Man Tom Holland and his own gratitude for the success of Marvel over the past 10 years. They were speaking at a UK press conference…

Q. If you had to use one word to describe each other’s characters, what would it be?
Chris Evans: Um, charismatic.

Robert Downey Jr: Turn my mic up! Thank you. [Leans forward] Rad-ass!

Q. You spend a fair bit of time in the film out of costume. What difference does this make in maintaining your superhero persona?
Robert Downey Jr: Well, I remember from the beginning, in trying to establish all of the Marvel characters we asked ‘how do you humanise them? Or make them relatable? I can only relate to someone so often when they’re all gussied up, so…

Q. Have you two ever fallen out over something silly on-set?
Chris Evans: God know. Not at all. That’s one of the best things about these movies. They really somehow manufacture an environment where I can’t imagine arguing with any person on this set. And listen, sometimes that happens on film sets. But for some reason, you step on a Marvel film set and it’s like summer camp, it really is. You can’t envisage a world where there would be some sort of friction. And even as they grow the universe, every new person they add is right. No one is ever out of place. They always fit right in and feel like they’ve been there for years.

Robert Downey Jr: Speak for yourself! When my son Exton started wearing entirely Captain America PJs and everything, I felt a natural resentment towards him but being a consummate professional I didn’t bring it into the workplace…

Q. Robert, can you talk about working with Tom Holland, who plays Spider-Man. How was that bedroom scene?
Robert Downey Jr: Well, now that two out of three Spider-Men are English, I’m going to have to talk Tobey Maguire off the ledge! But with Mr Holland, I think anyone who experiences him will know that he’s not a work in progress. He’s really something else. I think you can tell by the way folks have reacted to this. He came on with a bang and I think there’s a lot of excitement about what’ll happen when he kind of holds his own.

Q. Has the emergence of The Justice League made you up your game?
Chris Evans: Well, I don’t think anyone in here makes movies based on what other people are doing. For the most part, we’re doing what we do because…

Anthony Mackie: We’re doing it really well.

Chris Evans: It really is the Marvel higher-ups that somehow figured out this formula of good movies.

Robert Downey Jr: Listen, when they get a Bucky we’ll start talking.

Q. The relationship between Captain America and Bucky represents the only connection to their previous lives for both characters. Was that interesting to explore? It adds a tenderness to this superhero thing…
Chris Evans: Yeah, that’s one of the best parts of the movie in my opinion. You have these guys who shared a battlefield together. And any guy who has actually been in a war will tell you that once you’ve risked your life and have seen war with someone else that’s your brother for life. And they were brothers even before that. But they’ve also both gone through such trauma. They’ve each lost something.

In Bucky’s case, they were taken from him. But as a result we both have even more of a bond and we are the only remaining elements of a previous life. So, it really kind of transcends that family dynamic that we have built in The Avengers where you see a guy like Cap, who does what people need. In this movie, he does kind of what he wants and priorities his personal ties over the needs of the masses. It’s all because of this brother foundation they’ve built.

Captain America: Civil War

Q. How do you see the characters progressing as the movies continue? And how much of the evolution is down to you as actors as opposed to what’s on the page?
Robert Downey Jr: First of all, I want to say that [Kevin] Feige and I were out to dinner last night and you’d have thought they’d dosed our monkey water. We were looking back at the last 10 years and all the kind of little miracles and blood, sweat and tears that had to happen to keep developing all of these characters. And we just kind of… not in a self-aggrandising kind of way, but just kind of giddy and being super, super grateful at how things have gone. I do have to say, because generally I give no kind of credit to writers and I’ll try not to do this again, but I really do think that Christopher Markus did an exceptional job on this, which was a really tall order. There, I said it.

Q. If you could switch powers with another Avenger, who would it be?
Chris Evans: Switching powers, I’d take Vision – but not switching make-up!

Q. Obviously, in most films you have to be cuddly and nice to everyone, whereas in this one you can be a bit more confrontational. Which do you prefer?
Robert Downey Jr: I think it really just depends on what the narrative of the movie is. As you can see, I’m a worker amongst workers and I like getting in where I fit in. Any movie where I can spend a weekend with [Jeremy] Renner… he is lord of the underworld. We have Pluto back here. He’ll get you home in one piece but you’re actually finally going to have one hell of a good time!

Q. What were your thoughts when you first read the script for Civil War?
Chris Evans: It was exciting. A lot of it rests on Downey’s shoulders, whether or not he would be willing to do this. You know right away that if you bring Downey into the equation, the movie is going to have a certain level of awareness and charisma. That’s what he comes with. So, it was exciting. You knew what it meant as a jump-off because obviously Civil War incorporates so many different characters. At the end of the movie, Marvel has this great history of never leaving you completely satisfied, but kind of anticipating the next chapter, and this would obviously leave the entire MCU in a little bit of disarray. So, that was exciting, too, because it’s only going to be more richer for the next Avengers. So, for me, I was thrilled. I mean, shit, I’ll take all the help I can get.

Q. One of the scenes people will talk about is the one involving you and the helicopter and the size of your arm. How much CG was involved or was that all you?
Chris Evans: I don’t think it was… Kev [Feige], did you [add any CG]? It was me. Luckily, between scheduling and stuff, you try and get those scenes as early on in filming as possible because you gradually shed weight as you’re filming. You’re wearing that suit every day and you just…

Robert Downey Jr: I was helping him work on his shoulder for about six weeks after that…

Chris Evans: I genuinely did mess up something in my arm. It’s not a natural position to be in. It’s really just trying to look good.

Paul Rudd: You really were holding back a helicopter too….

Chris Evans: It was on a rig, clearly! But the first take we did, it didn’t go far enough away so you kind of look silly almost. So you kind of go: “Guys, can we kind of get it to the point where you really are trying to hold something?” And we did! And all of a sudden you are trying to hold something and it really did something. There were many days when I would come into Downey’s trailer and he has all these amazing contraptions. He’s like… I’m not going to say it because we don’t want to bring DC into it… But he really helped me out.

Q. If there were really superheroes, how do you think governments would respond?
Chris Evans: Team Iron Man! They would because they would have to answer to somebody. You couldn’t just let this group of vigilantes answer to themselves. Right? That’s the sad truth. If there really were a team of Avengers, I would be Team Iron Man.

Robert Downey Jr: Sorry, I’m just having a really hard time grasping that concept.

Read our review of Captain America: Civil War