Yes, I attended an audition for the role of Morita. I was the last actor to read for that role. Three weeks later, I had a second appointment and thereafter was offered the role. As the script was being kept a secret, they had actors read sides from the film, "Saving Private Ryan". I later found out that all of my fellow actors read the same material for their auditions as well.
The atmosphere on set was relaxed at all times. That is a testament to the energy and attitude of our director, Joe Johnston. One might think the director of a $140million film is going to be stressed on set. If Joe was, he never showed it...always kept his cool. I think that atmosphere allowed Chris to be as relaxed as he needed to be and not worry about the burden of carrying a huge film like this on his shoulders. He could just be there and do his job, and he was terrific. As an actor, your number one asset is relaxation, and the set always had that calm energy that allowed all of us to do our best.
I was a comic book fan as a kid so I already had a lot of information regarding Captain America. I had never heard of the Jim Morita character. I went online and found any existing information on him which was minimal. What I did find was helpful. I also did a lot of WWII research especially in regards to the "Nisei" soldiers, or Japanese-American soldiers. I wanted to get as much true, real-life information for a guy "like" Jim Morita fighting in WWII. I felt that if I had built a "factual" basis for him, I could then let go and permit the character to exist in the Marvel Universe which allows for a lot of imaginative circumstances.
Absolutely. We arrived about a week before our first day of shooting. During that week, we had stunt training which was basically stunt rehearsals for specific sequences in the film. We had some tactical training; how we would move as a unit, why we would move that way, etc. We also had armory training. Each of us was given a breakdown of our weapon. We were trained to load the ammo, unload, move with the weapon, fire the weapon, etc. This part of the training seemed to be the most exciting for all persons involved. There was always a palpable feeling in the air of both danger and pure joy when we were firing our weapons.