Collider: Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan on Reuniting with the Avengers

Collider.com — Last summer, I was invited alongside a group of journalists to visit the Atlanta, Georgia set of Avengers: Infinity War. You can read a more in-depth account about my experience on the set here, but suffice it to say that it was indeed epic. The amount of star-power in this movie is mind-boggling, and over the next several weeks I’ll be publishing interviews with the cast and creatives behind it all. They couldn’t reveal much in the way of specifics, of course, but it was really fun to just see their banter and interactions — which is really the crux of what the Avengers movies are all about.

So much has happened in the MCU since we visited Pinewood studios, and we got a little update at the end of Black Panther about Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) , a.k.a. the Winter Soldier’s whereabouts. As for Anthony Mackie’s Falcons, one of the primary questions was that, for such a grounded character, what has it been like for his character to see things like a talking raccoon, much less Thanos? The two actors filled us in:

QUESTION: So what is Bucky doing in Wakanda?

STAN: The same thing he was doing in Wakanda the last time you saw him in Wakanda.

MACKIE: Hanging out. Eating Wakandanese food.

STAN: Dreaming in his little space craft. Well, that’s the last time you saw him, right? So, he’s here taking in the scenery, I guess. And the scenery ain’t great?

In between Civil War and Infinity War, has Falcon been with Cap and Widow?

MACKIE: No. We all kind of went on our separate ways after Civil War. We all kind of went on our separate ways and we were in hiding because of everything that happened in Civil War. So now, we get the call to rally, and here we are: Avengers 3.

What can you tell us about Thanos? What does Winter Solider think about him? What does Falcon think about him?

STAN: Winter Soldier is just enjoying his new arm. And that’s really where he’s at.

MACKIE: It’s a nice arm. All lubed up and ready to go.

STAN: And he’s learning new information as he goes along.

For Anthony, your character is a very realistic kind of guy, so what does he think when he hears about this all-powerful being whose going to kill everyone?

MACKIE: 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 Thanos and his 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.

Winter Soldier’s been through a lot of emotional trauma. Has he had some therapy since Civil War?

STANAbsolutely. Yes. Definitely. Much more.

So he’s more peppy and perky?

STAN: I’ll tell you, in the ten pages that I was allowed to read, I didn’t see that.

MACKIE: No perk.

How do your characters feel getting back together again, since we know you were best buds?

STANThis was our first scene reuniting, and I thought it was warm.

MACKIE: It was. A warm greeting. I realized he’s had a rough few years. He’s been frozen. I’m black so I haven’t aged. We’re just surprised to see each other again. On a new mission.

Is there another car seat moment?

MACKIENo no.

STAN: No, but I think we kind of found a good sequel to that —

MACKIE: — a good compromise.

What can you say about the reunion with Cap? How’d that go?

STAN: It went by fast. It felt pretty natural. We weren’t milking the moment or anything. It is what it is. I think the urgency of the circumstance that we find ourselves in kind of makes things go a little bit quicker.

What about bringing the other characters of the Marvel Universe together? You said you’ve only read ten pages so far, but are you looking forward to interacting with any characters or groups?

STANI don’t know. 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. So I think it’ll be interesting to see how tonally everybody fits into the same world. You’ve shot some already, right?

MACKIE: Yeah. 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.

What are you character’s reactions to seeing something like a talking raccoon?

STAN: As usual I question my own stability, mentally and wonder whether or not I should have just stayed asleep. Things clearly did not get better.

MACKIE: They did not work out well!

We’ve been told that for secrecy’s sake you’ve been getting script pages day-of. So what’s it like building the arc of a character when you don’t necessarily know what the scenes are going to be?

MACKIE: We have an outline. We have an overall idea of what the movie is. The Russos 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 your’re doing in that scene. So they always give us that information.

STAN: 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.

How does the Russos’ Avengers set differ from Whedon’s?

MACKIE: 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 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. They put us in a position to win, every single time with every single scene. And [screenwriters] Markus and 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.

Thanos is the main character with all you guys circling around him. The Russos said that every character has to have an arc, their own journey to go on. How do you feel about your character’s journey throughout this film?

STAN: It feels good. It’s certainly been a lot more of a stable situation for my guy, from what we’ve been used to and stuff. 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.

MACKIE: The thing for me is that continuous line, being a supporter of Cap and where he is in his journey. I kind of enjoy being along for the ride, step-by-step. You know when I first met the Avengers I was like, “Holy shit. If the Avengers need me, I’m there!” You know it’s just been ridiculous moment after ridiculous moment for me. So when I walk up and see a talking raccoon, it’s just a ridiculous moment leading to the next ridiculous thing. So it’s always just a fun journey.

Can you talk about how the team of the Avengers is seen by others? How do people feel about the Avengers when they take on this global threat?

STAN: I don’t think they feel too bad, considering what they’re seeing. Maybe for some people, you pick the least-worse situation … Avengers are always going to stand for more good than something negative.

MACKIE: And where we were in Civil War, we didn’t have the best moral support from the people because we were dropping cities on their babies. But now, people are starting to rally around this again.

Is there a lot of destruction on Earth, is that what people are scared of?

MACKIE: Dude, did you see Civil War? I didn’t see it. I heard it’s pretty good. The black dude is great.

STAN: Chadwick was pretty fantastic.

MACKIE: That’s what I heard. That’s what I heard! I heard he was pretty good.

STAN: This [movie also includes] planets and universes and stuff, so it’s more than just this planet.

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