Golden Success in Hollywood: The Life and Times of Anthony and Joe Russo

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As Steve Rogers continues his affiliation with S.H.I.E.L.D and struggles to embrace his role in the modern world, he's reunited with James 'Bucky' Barnes, who is now brainwashed Russian assassin known as the 'Winter Soldier'.
Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
April 4th, 2014

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Anthony and Joe Russo are U.S. directors who typically work jointly on projects. They have garnered reputations for the production of high-quality television programs and feature films, ranking the among the more successful directors working in the entertainment industry. Their most recent project is "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," a feature film released in 2014.

The brothers first hit the radar in Hollywood in a major way during 2003 through their work on the television series "Arrested Development," which ran on the Fox television network. Anthony and Joe took turns directing episodes of the show during its run on the small screen from 2003 to 2005. Although the show failed to capture high ratings during its initial time on television, it attracted a firmly loyal fan base. In addition, "Arrested Development" garnered a great deal of critical acclaim. Indeed, during its first season, the situation comedy received six prime-time Emmy Awards.

"Arrested Development" tells the tale of the wildly dysfunctional Bluth family, whose patriarch is incarcerated during a good many of the episodes for white-collar crimes. The brothers received accolades for directing a highly talented cast headed by actor Jason Bateman. Throughout the run of the series, Academy Award-winning director and former television star Ron Howard narrates the episodes and the plight of this extravagant, over-the-top family.

Because of its almost cult-like fan following and its solid critical reception, "Arrested Development" was revived in 2013. Video streaming service Netflix obtained the rights to the franchise and released 15 new episodes in 2013. Although the Russo brothers represent a fundamental reason why the show enjoyed the type of success achieved when it aired on Fox, the brothers were unavailable to direct the revived program on Netflix. There is talk of an "Arrested Development" feature film being considered, but whether the film is to be directed by Ron Howard or Anthony and Joe Russo is still up in the air.

A year after the first run of "Arrested Development" wrapped, the brothers turned their attention to the silver screen. They took on directorial duties for the comedy "You, Me and Dupree," which stars Matt Dillon, Owen Wilson and Kate Hudson. "You, Me and Dupree" presents something of a smorgasbord to the movie-going public. Part buddy flick, part romantic comedy, the film also stars Michael Douglas as a rather maniacal boss and future father-in-law to the character played by Dillon. 

"You, Me and Dupree" further cemented the success of the Russo brothers in the eyes of the entertainment industry. They managed the transition from successful television directors to doing a sterling job with directing a silver-screen production. Moreover, they managed a talented and well-known cast in their first major feature film, a task that is often considered to be a Herculean endeavor.

Despite significant success with "You, Me and Dupree," the brothers did not wholly divert their attention from television. They continued to direct and produce a number of shows. Along the way, and as is the case with television generally, they ended up involved in a few pilots that did not fly. Ultimately, they realized another hit in the NBC situation comedy "Community."

"Community" tells the tale of a group of community college students in the fictional town of Greendale, Colorado. The Russo brothers handled directorial duties during the first three seasons of the show. They departed at the end of the third season to begin work on their next feature film project, "Captain America: The Winter Soldier."

As with "Arrested Development," the Russo brothers direct an ensemble cast in "Community." The cast has included actors with a significant depth of experience, including "Saturday Night Live" legend Chevy Chase. Also like "Arrested Development," "Community garners high marks from critics. Moreover, "Community" has a highly devoted fan following that rivals that associated with the Russo brother's first major television hit.

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" brings the Marvel Comics character Captain American to the big screen for a second installment in this particular film franchise. The film is a sequel to "Captain America: The First Avenger," which premiered in 2011. Because of their solid track record in television and film, Walt Disney Studios and Marvel Studios, the production powerhouses behind the action film, called upon Anthony and Joe Russo to direct this film.

Thanks to the anticipated success of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," combined with their golden resume, Anthony and Joe Russo are set to direct the third installment in the "Captain America" franchise. The film is moving forward under the working title of "Captain American 3" and is set for release in 2016.