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The Russo Bros. Asked Steven Soderbergh to ‘Say Nice Things’ to Kevin Feige to Land ‘Winter Soldier’

Joe and Anthony Russo enlisted longtime pal Soderbergh to convince Marvel Studios head Feige to help them get their "dream job" directing 2014's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier."

Anthony Russo and Joe Russo at "The Gray Man" premiere in 2022

Anthony Russo and Joe Russo at “The Gray Man” premiere in 2022

dpa/picture alliance via Getty I

Steven Soderbergh is to thank for the Russo Brothers’ lucky break.

The “Logan Lucky” director worked his magic to help longtime friends Joe and Anthony Russo direct their first Marvel movie, “Captain America: Winter Soldier,” in 2014.

“The Russos are friends of mine,” Soderbergh told Rolling Stone. “Who knew when I first met them that this was what they loved to do and had a real feeling for? I didn’t know this until they called me and said, ‘We’re up for this Captain America movie [“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”]. Will you call Kevin Feige and say nice things about us?'”

Soderbergh continued, “And I said, ‘Yes, if you will answer me this one question: Is this something you’re dying to do or is it something someone told you you ought to be doing?’ And they said, ‘Oh no, we have this massive comic book collection. This is our dream job.’ And I said, ‘Oh, then of course I will.’ And it turns out they weren’t kidding.”

The “Magic Mike’s Last Dance” filmmaker added that the Russos’ passion for superhero films has since colored his own take on the genre.

“I’m happy for them,” Soderbergh said of the Russos. “That shit’s hard. I couldn’t do it.”

He continued, “I have no philosophical issue with those movies. The fact of the matter is: I’m not the audience for that. I never was. When I was growing up, I never had comic books. I’m not a fantasy person. I’m too stuck on the ground. So, I’m just not the target for that. I’m agnostic about them. I can tell you right now, just as a filmmaker, they’re really tough movies to make in terms of the stamina required.”

Soderbergh shared that audiences are “spending more money” to see Marvel and DC films than “mid-level adult dramas” in theaters, and it’s a “weird mélange of forces, both economic and cultural” that are behind the rise of theatrical dependency on superhero movies.

“Now, every time I lament, ‘Is this the way it’s always gonna be? Are we stuck here?’ Somebody, unbeknownst to all of us, is out there making something that’s gonna come out six months or a year from now that’s gonna invert the trajectory we think we’ve been on, and things will start moving in another direction,” Soderbergh said. “I always believe in the ability of filmmakers to turn the direction of the industry around. I believe in artists’ ability to figure shit out.”

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