In all the Civil War trailers, the sequence where Captain America and his team run/fly at full speed down an airport tarmac is front and center. And no surprise. The Russo brothers directed that scene in IMAX and intend for it to be the centerpiece of the film.
“We”re referring to this sequence as the Splash Panel or the double panel. [It] is our live-action splash panel or double panel. It”s a big epic sequence.” explained co-director Joe Russo on set. There”s only one problem. In the film Team Cap is running full tilt down the runway of a German airport – Leipzig/Halle Aiport to be premise if the props are to be believed. But while the final cut would have the audience believe it”s a cool fall day at Germany”s 13th largest airport, it is a lie.
Captain America: Civil War filmed in Atlanta. In June. You know how in The Walking Dead the Group always looked sticky? That”s because going outside into a Southern summer is like watering it nearly boiling pea soup. We journalists had it lucky. The crew kindly set up a tent for us to stand under (after finding us huddled in the shade of a crane and taking pity on us). There were employees whose entire jobs appeared to be “Watermelon Carrier” and “Popsicle Savior.” Though I doubt very much those official titles will appear in the end credits. They were the real heroes of Civil War. They and the actors' assistants.
As cool as superhero costumes look, they don”t breathe well. That”s the assumption I can make based on the fact each member of Team Cap had a minimum of two assistants: one to use the industrial spritzer fan and one to hold the sun umbrella and water bottles. While this may seem excessive, I would bet anyone a shiny nickel those unsung heroes were the only reason the cast wasn”t unconscious or vomiting in the Georgia heat. Even Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), who had the least amount of (black! bless her heart) clothing on needed assistance to function.
“It takes me 30 minutes [just to go to the bathroom]. I have a onesie and a corset over my onesie, and a corset is a lace-up so that always take like 10 minutes. I had to do it yesterday during the storm by myself. I learned how to take off a corset by myself yesterday!” Olsen said at one point. I”m still not sure if she was joking. The woman has an amazing deadpan. When I asked why on Earth she was in a corset to begin with, she replied “To give me a waist,” without missing a beat.
While cast, crew, and visiting journalists dealt with the struggle of the Georgia heat, inside the film Captain America was dealing with his own struggle. Chris Evans talked at length about Steve Rogers” dilemma in Civil War. Of course, Evans could have just been stalling for time as the interviews took place inside the blessed sinful decadence of central air:
“Yeah, it”s tough. Because ultimately [Steve] knows he has a good heart. The problem is we all think we have good hearts, we all think we know what”s best. And this is the nature of compromise. It”s tricky to understand where to bend. I think in the past films, there were clear villains. In [Captain America: The First Avenger] we all know Nazis are bad. In [The Winter Soldier] Hydra is no good either. But this one, there”s no clear bad guy. I think that”s far more parallel to the struggles we go through in our current political state. There”s logic to both sides, so where do you bend? Where”s the compromise? What”s the goal? I think Cap is struggling because every time he has fallen in line, and has been a soldier, and has taken orders and leaned on the structure of society, it”s kinda turned on him. I think he ultimately feels the safest hands are his own, because at least he can trust them. But again, that”s not gonna work for the masses. So it”s the first time he really doesn”t know what the right answer is.”
Despite the sweltering heat, Team Cap put out maximum effort. The outdoor set was probably the length of a football field, surrounded on three sides by giant green screens. Even full out sprinting, the group was barely making a dent. At one point Olsen peeled off and stopped – though because she knew they'd be using VFX to make her airborne in post-production or because she was in stunt wedges is anyone”s guess. But at least Anthony Mackie (Falcon) didn”t have to run with physical wings. Mackie joked about what it was like to act and do stunts with phantom wings:
“They 100% add all the wings. I realized yesterday how stupid we look. They're “We need you to run, but before you break into a full run pop your arms out so your wings can extend and you'll fly.” I was like, “Okay, alright. I'm 36. Let's do it.” We were running and it's so hot. It's balls hot. So, I'm running and my goggles are filling up with water, right? The makeup starts getting into the corners of my eyes, so I start crying. I don't know how women do this, but it's torture. It's so hot… I can't really see anything and they're like “So, hold your arms out and just… fly away.” I was like, “Let's just do it, dude. F-k it, let's do it.” (laughs)
For all the miserable heat, everyone on set from the camera operators to the stars were in good spirits. They really believe in the film they”re making. Georgia summers may be an exercise in torment but it certainly hasn”t put a damper on anyone”s enthusiasm. Perhaps because everyone has been given enough slack to make Civil War the best it can be. Co-director Anthony Russo summed it up best:
I think we've said this before too in our experience with Marvel, one of the things we love about Marvel is they're very good about taking one movie at a time. They certainly don't get ahead of themselves. Even though you certainly have to think about things down the line, they want to give a wide berth so that every movie can be whatever it wants to be. They don't want to hamstring it with too many requirements. We did have a lot of freedom with what we did with him in the film.
This is only the beginning of our Captain America: Civil War set visit coverage! Be sure to come back tomorrow for the other side: Team Iron Man. Plus even more details as the week progresses!
Captain America: Civil War is in theaters on May 6, 2016.