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 third part in a series of articles from that trip. You can read previous interviews with Chadwick Boseman and Mark Ruffalo here and Anthony and Joe Russo here.
While audiences were first introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man, within the universe, Captain America was truly the first Avenger. From the first time we met Steve Rogers, who is played by Chris Evans, his commitment to saving the world for the greater good was clear.
However, the events of Captain America: Civil War changed everything. With the members of the Avengers picking sides, Cap found an ally in Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow, who is played by Scarlett Johansson. Together the two tried to pick up the pieces of what was left of the Avengers.
“Between the events of Civil War and now, Steve and Natasha have been together, that’s how we imagined it,” said Johansson. “I think they’ve kind of been sort of flying under the radar but still taking care of business in the way that they know how to do, and I think when we find them in this film, they are just a fine, well-oiled machine. They sort of have a seamless communication between them.”
She continued, “But they’re more hardened, I think, and I think when you are working underground for such a long time and you don’t have—not that they need to have any sort of back-patting or recognition exactly—but I think when you’re sort of fighting for something that you know is important but is not being really recognized or supported by a larger organization or even like, society as a whole, I think that makes—it takes a certain toll, and you can get feelings about it in a way. So that’s kind of where we find them [in this film].”
Evans wasn’t coy though, admitting that it has been a tough time for Cap. “I’ve dropped the shield essentially,” he said. “I kind of went rogue a little bit. But again, I think it’s in his nature to be of service, and I think to some degree in order to maintain sanity, he had to kind of function within a system. That’s how his brain works, there has to be some kind of functioning factory that he can operate within. I think Black Widow kind of, to some degree probably has a similar output, and I think we leaned on each other, especially in the face of that kind of loss coming off of Civil War. And so he’s been running these missions, answering to nobody, really. I mean, it really is the sign of a broken person.”
As for the division within the group, Evans sees hope for some peaceful unification with his old friend Tony Stark. “I don’t think either one of us are ones to hold grudges,” he said. “I think we operate a very binary, utilitarian approach to most things we do, and I don’t think we let emotion dictate our reality. It’s been a couple years, so I think we both, to some degree … not moved on, but maybe buried some things.”
“I think Cap knows how to compartmentalize,” he continued. “I think he’s becoming disillusioned as he gets older. Every single movie, he learns a little bit more that the world isn’t the way he kind of wants it to be, and I think that’s why there’s a connection between him and Black Widow. Black Widow has seen a lot more than he has, and is … a little more calloused, and I think in a lot of ways, he looks up to that and learns from that. First it was kind of the hierarchy of a kind of government structure that fell apart, and then there was a friendship that … betrayed him, or abandoned him, I should say. I think when those things happen, it’s like a destruction of a belief system to some degree, and you … can be a little cold as a result. And I think you lean on people that have walked familiar paths and there’s no denying that Black Widow has certainly faced a lot of those challenges. I think he’s compartmentalized it enough to put it as a lower priority than what’s at hand.”
But that doesn’t mean all is forgiven and the Avengers have gotten back together. “I don’t know if I would necessarily say that this is the group of Avengers,” Evans admitted. “Just circumstances have dictated that we come together.”
Of course, those circumstances surround the ever present Thanos—and both Cap and Black Widow—have a bit of an idea for what they are in for.
Johansson added, “I think our characters, after encountering all that we have, whether it was Ultron or any other kind of psychopathic person, or being—my character in particular is very strategic, and it’s not something that she can necessarily wrap her head around. We’re a little bit blind going into this. I don’t know that we … necessarily know—we are wary of what we’re up against, but I think it’s very abstract.”
Evans agreed. “I think in some degree, it’s probably worst fears come to reality. I think the first time the sky opens up and aliens pour into the city, you kind of realize, well that’s a possibility, and we handled it this time, but who knows how powerful these people can become? And I think this is kind of a worst-case scenario where you find out all the potential of someone trying to destroy your planet can be.”
“We have had a little bit of a taste of what’s coming. We have a different perspective,” Johansson said. “I think one thing that [our characters all] share in common is they don’t make decisions emotionally, especially, I think, Natasha. I think they’re wary of what they’re up against.”
As for their new teammates, the idea of bringing together the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe is exciting to the actors.
“It was fun with Avengers, bringing all these characters to life,” Evans said, “but they weren’t all separate threads of characters that’ve had their own separate adventures. I don’t think this has ever been done before, where you have so many different franchises coming together to … really try to make one stew. Like I said, Avengers was pretty ambitious, but this really blows that one out of the water.”
Avengers: Infinity War, hits theaters April 27. Check back here on Monday to read more from our trip to the Infinity War set!