Behind the Shield: The surreal making of 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' -- EXCLUSIVE

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After tackling Evans over and over again in the broiling July heat, Stan is feeling the hurt now, too. Over three months of filming, that fearsome mechanical arm (really a rubber sheath marked with motion capture dots) looks like the battered aluminum ventilation tube on a clothes dryer.

Again, a squad of digital artists will come to the rescue later. “It’s gotten more flexible over time,” Stan says, working the enclosed limb back and forth. “It’s a lot like breaking in a shoe. I learned to live with it, but it didn’t always start that way. One version comes out and they see what works, what doesn’t, and eventually it got to a stage that it fits and moves well. Sometimes, by the end of the day, I forget I have it on.”

Just about everyone has their surreal experiences on set. Sometimes, for instance, you end up sharing a scene with your creator. Comic book scribe Ed Brubaker, who invented the Winter Soldier in 2005 as part of his acclaimed run on the Captain America series, fittingly has a cameo as one of the scientists who engineer and control the assassin. “It was a little bit surreal for him I think,” Stan says. “I mean, the whole look is just so right off the page. Some superheroes don’t make that transition well. But Winter Soldier didn’t have that problem. I think he was a little bit shocked.”

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As bad guys go, this cold warrior is no lightweight, and he has to take as much pain as he gives — not just from the guys, but from Black Widow.

Johansson says her most odd and uncomfortable day on the movie was the time she was “riding Sebastian Stan like a mechanical bull.” “I felt so bad for him — and me! They hoisted me up on poor Sebastian’s shoulders and I was holding on with my legs wrapped around. It was horrible!” Or, as Evans calls out after overhearing her answer: “Sebastian’s best day at work!”

“It was terrible!” Johansson insists. “He was like ‘Ow my hair.’ I’m whipping around him and choking him out. It’s a pretty great Widow move. But that day shooting it, I was looking at the directors going: ‘I hate you…this better look good!’”

NEXT PAGE: Robert Redford: Even Marvel marvels over this one …


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