Behind the Scenes: "Captain America: The Winter Soldier"

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
April 1st, 2014

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Steve Rogers, also known as Captain America, tries to find his place in the modern world after the events detailed in "The Avengers" until a new threat appears in the form of the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier. One of Captain America's S.H.I.E.L.D. friends comes under attack, so he must work with the Black Widow, the Falcon and others to silence his attackers and end an ever-widening conspiracy. Directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo and producer Kevin Feige modeled this movie after the Marvel comic book series, which was first published in 1941, and the story behind the production is as interesting as the film itself.

Cast and Crew

Robert Redford, who plays Alexander Pierce, was cast partially because of his past roles in the 1970s thrillers like "Three Days of Condor." He also wanted the part because his grandchildren love Marvel comic books, and he wanted them to see him in a movie rendition. Former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, who vacated his title at the end of 2013, plays Batroc the Leaper. The fact that the filmmakers were able to cast St-Pierre in the movie was not only due to luck on their part but also on the MMA fighter's part, as he wanted to land a role in a major action film.

Several actors were screen-tested for roles that were won by others. Actors who screen-tested for the role of Brock Rumlow, also known as Crossbones, include Josh Holloway, Kevin Durand and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, but Frank Grillo ultimately won out. Many actresses auditioned for the part of Sharon Carter, also known as Agent 13, including Teresa Palmer, Felicity Jones, Anna Kendrick, Elizabeth Olsen, Jessica Brown Findlay, Imogen Poots, Alison Brie, Emilia Clarke and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Emily VanCamp eventually landed the role. Interestingly, the creator of "The Winter Soldier" storyline, Ed Brubaker, makes a cameo appearance in the film.

This film marks the fourth time Chris Evans, who plays Captain America, and Scarlett Johansson, who plays the Black Widow, have worked together. They were even allowed to write dialogue for some of their scenes together.


One homage in the film includes a scene where Captain America jumps out of an airplane without a parachute, which is modeled after a similar scene in "The Ultimates" comic. Another homage has to do with a freighter Batroc hijacks at the beginning of the film. The name of the freighter is "Lemurian Star," which is named after the Deviant's sunken continent, Lemuria. This race of superhumans  on the continent was created by Jack Kirby.

Looking Natural

In order to prepare for his role as the Winter Soldier, Sebastian Stan spent the five months leading up to the film getting in peak physical condition. He also researched the KGB and other pieces of Cold War history via spy movies, documentaries and anything else he was able to find from that time period. Another way Stan prepared for his role was by walking around with a plastic knife between scenes and practicing his moves because he wanted everything he did for the film to look and feel natural.

Film Descriptions and Names

To keep the anonymity during the filming process, the working title for the film was "Freezer Burn." Anthony Mackie, who plays The Falcon, describes the film as "The Avengers: Part 1.5" while another description for the movie is "a 1970s political thriller masquerading as a big superhero movie," according to producer Kevin Feige. The filmmakers said "The Winter Soldier" is a "negative image of Captain America," according to IMDb.

From Comic to Big Screen

Comic book writer Ed Brubaker was pleased with the film adaptation of "The Winter Soldier." He was responsible for bringing back Bucky Barnes. Brubaker said the tone is exactly what he pictured. The character Alexander Pierce is based on the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in the comic book, and the outfit worn by Captain America is modeled after the "Super-Soldier" outfit from the comics. Mackie admitted that he wanted his Falcon costume to look more like it did in the comics than it did in the film.

The 2014 film "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" is closely based on the Marvel comic books and is a sequel to "Captain America: The First Avenger." This film, unlike many modern films, minimizes its usage of CGI, so the use of visual effects is downplayed while the actual live action is enhanced. If the producers and actors could do something themselves, they did, and if the desired movie sets could be built, they were built. Screenplay writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely hint on a few things that are sure to come up again in future films based on the comics, so viewers need to pay attention to the closing credits in case clues are given for films yet to come.