Back in June of last year, I got a chance to visit the set of Avengers: Infinity War at Atlanta’s Pinewood Studios. This is the eighth and final part in a series of articles from that trip. You can also read the previous interviews with Chadwick Boseman and Mark Ruffalo, Anthony and Joe Russo, Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson, Danai Gurira, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, Don Cheadle, and Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany.
As we wrapped up our day on the set of Avengers: Infinity War, we were treated to one final interview, this time with Bucky Barnes aka the Winter Soldier, played by Sebastian Stan, and Falcon, played by Anthony Mackie. Right from the start, we knew it was going to be a fun interview.
“Hello everyone. Welcome to Avengers 3. My name is Anthony Mackie. This is Sebastian Stan. If you have many questions, direct them towards us. We will answer them in a timely fashion. Do not ask anything about the movie because we will not answer. This will go extremely well and you will enjoy!”
Mackie was joking, of course, referencing the secrecy around the film and its story. But he then clarified that while they may not receive full scripts, they know the general story arch and what will happen to their characters.
“We have an outline,” Mackie said. “We have an overall idea of what the movie is. The Russo’s come to us and tell us where we are in the movie. You know for an actor, the most important thing is where you're coming from and where you're going, to explain what you’re doing in that scene. So they always give us that information.” Stan added, “There's also trust. We've been with these characters so long, I feel like they trust us. It's not like you're showing up to all new material. You come to it with a history, and that's part of it also.”
Just as Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany had mentioned, Mackie brought up how the Russo Brothers created such a fun, collaborative set for all the actors.
You know the great thing about their style of directing is it's really actor-first. It's really supportive of your craft and your process, and what you bring to the characters. The best thing about working with Marvel [Studios] is they know what everyone does well, and what you don't do well. So they put you around people who do well what you don't do well. So they put us in a position to win, every single time with every single scene. And [co-writers Christopher] Markus and [Stephen] McFeely work in that same vein. They know how to get the beats between the two of us. They know how to get to be between him and Cap. They know how to work Black Panther into it, and all of our newfound surprise, arriving here in Wakanda. So all of that works in there.
Speaking of arriving in Wakanda, the film will show Falcon, along with Captain America, reuniting with Bucky for the first time since he was frozen at the end of Civil War. And a lot has gone on since then. “We all kind of went on our separate ways after Civil War,” Mackie said. “We were in hiding because of everything that happened in Civil War. So now, we get the call to rally, and here we are. [Rallying for] freedom, truth, social liberties, and peace with all men and women.” But Falcon seems shaken by the arrival of Thanos and feels that something needs to be done. Mackie explained:
“One thing about Falcon I've always loved since the beginning of discovering this character is his military background; his belief that his job in life is to fight for his fellow man. So when he hears about this overall idea of world destruction, he's very disheartened and shaken by it. He's eager to get into the fight against this super evil, this diabolical demon known as Thanos.”
“[He’s been] dreaming in his little spacecraft,” Stan said. “Taking in the scenery [of Wakanda].” “Hanging out. Eating Wakandanese food,” Mackie added. However, Stan admitted that he feels that Bucky is still figuring out his journey and where he stands in the world of the Avengers. “It's certainly been a lot more of a stable situation for my guy from what we've been used to,” he said. “It's interesting, I'm really still discovering him. You can't just turn a hard right and everything's great. I'm still finding it to be honest.”
As for the reunion between Falcon and Winter Soldier, both Mackie and Stan felt good about it. “This was our first scene together, and I thought it was warm,” Stan said. “It was,” Mackie confirmed. “A warm greeting. I realized he’s had a rough few years. He’s been frozen. We’re just surprised to see each other again.” They consider this moment a “good sequel” to their moment with the car seat in Civil War.
As we all know, this movie will also unite the Avengers with the Guardians of the Galaxy. As these two worlds collide under a common cause, the actors and filmmakers have to come together to make everything feel natural. “It’s going to be challenging for sure because there's so many different tones to these films and that all of these characters carry,” Stan said. “So I think it'll be interesting to see how tonally everybody fits into the same world.” Mackie added: “The great thing is that tonally, how the movie's working now everyone--it's not like you see one person who is the lead of the movie. It's truly an ensemble movie. I would say if anybody is the lead of the movie, it's Thanos. And it's all of us working around, orbiting Thanos because he's such a big bad guy. He's the uber bad guy. He's the worst bad guy of all bad guys of all time. So you can't like put them in three scenes down, then a fight scene at the end. You really have to give them just due. So, our relationship and our scenes are more ensemble-based. Everybody playing with a relationship with each other.”
Especially after the events of Civil War, uniting all these teams brings their own alliances, along with a few… unexpected moments. “The thing for me is that continuous line, being a supporter of Cap and where he is in his journey,” Mackie said. “I kind of enjoy being along for the ride, step-by-step. You know when I first met the Avengers I was like, 'If the Avengers need me, I'm there!' You know it's just been ridiculous moment after ridiculous moment for me. So you know when I walk up and see a talking raccoon, it's just a ridiculous moment leading to the next ridiculous thing. You know, so it's always just a fun journey.” Stan had a bit of a different approach to seeing a talking raccoon, saying, “As usual, I question my own stability mentally and wonder whether or not I should have just stayed asleep.”
As we wrapped up our interview, as well as our day on the set, Sebastian Stan noted that we were currently in the same location where they filmed the tarmac scene from Civil War. With Pinewood Studios serving as the main hub for Marvel Studios for ten years, this spot has seen almost all of the individual films and characters come to life. Now, it serves as the location where all those stories finally intersect. And we can’t wait to see what happens next …
Make sure to see Avengers: Infinity War when it hits theaters April 27.