Avengers: Endgame director Joe Russo says sitcoms influenced which characters to ‘get rid of’
Before directing four massive Marvel superhero movies, director duo Joe and Anthony Russo cut their teeth in the ‘rigorous’ TV industry for 10 years. What they learnt has gone on to directly influence their work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Joe has said.
The filmmaker is in India, the first stop in the global press tour for Avengers: Endgame.
“There are certainly parallels,” Russo said at a press interaction in Mumbai Monday. Having spearheaded the directorial voice of popular sitcoms such as Arrested Development and Community, Russo said both the shows and the Marvel films are united by ‘very colourful, well-defined characters’ and the necessity to have a ‘real story discipline and focus’.
He said it is vital to find ‘moments for characters’ and ‘make sure that they have motivation that validates their existence’, before adding a chilling addendum - ‘or you get rid of them’.
It has long been rumoured that several important characters will be killed off in Endgame. Whether it is a deduction based on the knowledge that contracts of actors such as Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans will expire post the film - both of whom have been there from the start - to assumptions based on tweets, there is a strong community of online fandom that is convinced that death is a real possibility.
Russo revealed that Community’s shooting schedule was ‘longer than just about any movie you can think of’. The cult comedy, about a group of misfits who find themselves at the same community college, was ‘shot for eight months straight’. “So when we had to shoot Infinity War and Endgame back to back for one year straight,” he said, “it was really like just doing another show.”
The Russos made their Marvel debut with the critical and commercial hit, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The have since helmed Captain America: Civil War - often dubbed Avengers 2.5, owning to its massive scale and cast - before being promoted to the Avengers.
But TV, Joe said, is still ‘by far and away the hardest medium.’ It prepared them psychologically and physically for the ‘rigours’ of making what is perhaps the biggest film of all time, rumoured to have been produced on a budget of more than $400 million.
Russo cited the example of several popular filmmakers, who graduated from the world of television after having received a thorough education, and made successful blockbuster films. “Joss Whedon (director of The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron), JJ Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Judd Apatow (Knocked Up),” have all been trained to deal with volume and the scale of these movies’ thanks to harsh TV schedules.
Avengers: Endgame also stars Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and others. The film is scheduled for an April 26 release in India, in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.
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