Even with a new villain in their midst, though, the costar everyone talks about is Robert Redford. The legendary actor-director is making his first foray into the superhero realm to play Alexander Pierce, a senior S.H.I.E.L.D. leader. (When he appeared on The Daily Show last week, even Samuel L. Jackson said he couldn’t believe they got the Sundance Kid to do it.)
As producer, Feige is especially proud of landing him because he envisioned The Winter Soldier as an homage to paranoid 1970s thrillers such as Redford’s Three Days of the Condor. So how’d they talk the star into it? “The real secret to how we got Robert Redford …?” Anthony Russo says, “He has grandkids.”
His brother Joe laughs, and adds: “The thing to put in print was that ‘the script was incredible and he fell in love with the material.’”
Still, if the cast felt intimidated by the icon, they seem to hide it well, including those who didn’t even share a scene with him. “He’s scared to act against me,” Mackie says with comic bravado. “He said, ‘I can’t be on screen against Chocolate Thunder!’ ”
Of course he couldn’t. Never try to upstage a man in hummingbird wings.
For more Marvel news:
This is the extended version of a feature that ran in the April 11 issue of Entertainment Weekly.