"It was interesting, because I was in Germany, so I was making tapes [for an audition]. One thing about living in New York is I always end up making tapes. I read this article about Vera Farmiga, and apparently she used to do these incredible tapes, and that really encouraged me. Sometimes in an audition room, it's hard to get there. I like making tapes. Anyway, I was in Germany and I made a tape before I left New York in early January, and then I made about two or three other ones from Germany. I got a good response. I'm originally from Romania, and after I finished "Apparition," I was going to go to Romania but I had this feeling that I needed to go to L.A. And thank God I did, because I went into the room with the guys — at the time, I was auditioning for the actual Captain America role — so I screen-tested for that role. Usually with screen tests, you can be very nervous, the stakes are high. But this one was actually really chilled out. I think a lot of that had to do with [director] Joe Johnston, because he brings such a good atmosphere on set. I felt very calm. I wasn't nervous. I felt like, for four or five hours, I was just playing. It was fun. Kevin Feige and Stephen Broussard over at Marvel asked me to sit down with them and they talked about the comic books and Bucky and his entire arc, and I was really attracted to that. I thought there's a lot to play with, so I was very happy."
"I didn't know anything about the comic books. Even when I auditioned, I didn't. And I liked that, because I didn't want to have particular ideas. I wanted to find the characters and connections naturally. And I did. Steve Rogers and Bucky are both orphans and kind of like brothers. They kind of grow up together and look after each other. It's a very human, relatable thing. And growing up in the Army is a very specific thing. There's a certain way these guys carry themselves, there's a certain etiquette, a certain body posture, the way that they interact. So I went back and read the comics and watched a lot of documentaries on World War II. "Band of Brothers" was very helpful. I wanted to make sure I respected the themes in the comics that people related to about Bucky. But at the same time, in my head, we were shooting a movie that takes place in 1944 and it is about a bunch of guys going to war and how they're going to look out for each other. Bucky always protects and looks out for Steve Rogers. I also wanted to look out for how their relationship changes once Steve Rogers becomes Captain America. There's always a competition and they're always one-upping each other. I paid attention to how Bucky is affected by Steve's change and suddenly Steve is this leader."
There's a lot of CGI stuff and working with a green screen. I hadn't done that too extensively before. That was very challenging, because you're just there surrounded by green walls, but there's explosions going off around you, so you have to factor that in and maintain that in your imagination. It helped to go back to the monitor or to check out the boards with pictures of what it was going to look like. Also, the stunts were challenging. You want to do the stunts yourself, so you feel like you accomplished it. But sometimes it's important to step back and let the real professional guys do it because you don't want to hurt yourself."
"The possibility of re-shoots is definitely a high percentage. But I think that always helps, because you can come back to it and see what it is that needs to be added or taken away. I think we'll have a little bit of that too."
"You always hope that you're going to be able to work with people that you get along with. Chris and I got along so well. I love that guy. Not only did he really fill out his shoes in terms of being a leader and taking the movie on his shoulders — he did that very naturally, he's a natural leader — but we also got along so well."
"Most of my scenes are with him, so I had the great ability to go to him to talk about the scenes. He became my right hand man throughout the process."
'I would say the scene at the end [of the film]. [Laughs] I don't know how much more I'm supposed to reveal! [Laughs] I'd say the scene that we shot earlier today, where we were hanging off of a train in the mountains. That was probably the hardest, just in terms of having to do it over and over again, having to be present and kind of fresh in the intensity of it. That was probably the one that's closest in my memory.'
You know, I was very fortunate because, personally, I feel like we found a lot of parallels. We met fairly early on and we got along right away and, you know, he's just a very generous actor. It makes it very easy in terms of just being able to talk about him, just kind of be comfortable when we go to different places. So from that point of view, the casting was pretty good.
It's just real easy to react off of him. He just makes your job easier because as an actor, you're so interested and captivated in what he's going to do next and his face has got so much expression. What he brings in terms of his voice and his accent and sort of, you know, everything. His presence. He just made it very easy. You're kind of in awe a little bit, which helps because the moment when he becomes Red Skull, you are in awe and freaked out. So, that always helps.
I would say so. This is the longest shoot I've ever been a part of. I find when there's a lot of changes [combined with] this length of time and how you sometimes work in portions, it's really important to keep the through line of the character and just always remember in your head where you are. Then, of course, there's a lot of that CGI stuff and the green screen. That's all about having that picture in your mind as to what you're looking at, even though it's just green. I found that stuff to be really challenging.
I would say it seems more realistic to me in the sense of, you know, he's still just a person. We seem to be in a world right now where everyone seems to be obsessed with vanity and beauty and creating the perfect human being. To some extent, I could see something like that, maybe one day, happening, especially if it's a soldier. So all those things are very real.
Yeah, I explored it. I didn't know anything about the comic book when I was auditioning for the movie. I actually didn't know anything about him. Once I was able to see who he was and, all that stuff that happens, then, yeah, I got real excited. What I really enjoyed about him was how complex he was as a person. That appealed to me.
Initially, I saw the character...This version was going to be a more relatable, real, honest take. And for audiences in 2011, we had to look at war and the realities of it. I found this version of the character to be very human. This is a guy who essentially grew up as an orphan. He's got Steve, whom he treats like a brother, this is his only family, and at the same time, he lives in a conflicted world. He was born into the military, but he has started to question himself. He has seen the horrors of war, he understands what it is. But he is constantly looking to better himself. Is he getting what he should be getting out of life? At the same time, the conflict is that he will never let anything happen to Steve. That ties directly into the circumstances that he is in. I think those are very real issues. Its not about, "Let's go kick some butt!" All the time. It's also about this internal struggle. I thought that was interesting.
The possibilities are endless. It's too early for me to say. Honestly, I don't know where this story is going to go. Obviously, there is a line in the comic books about where this could potentially go. I think the story is set up for any option. I think a lot remains to be seen.
That sounds a little far fetched to me. As an actor, I would look to see where the interesting scenes are, what it's about, and what the purpose of it is. Should this be the story? I would prefer that he be a version of Jason Bourne. If we do see him as an old man, I would hope that he'd wind up in a better situation than a retirement home. Maybe he will be somewhere on a ranch, with a really hot wife and seven kids. Maybe it will end something like that.
Yeah, I . . . you know the interest of course is there. I just think there is so much in terms of story that needs to be told until you get to that point. In terms of just tying in The Avengers and going into the future now, into present day with him [Steve Rogers] and sort of like as you know all their villains, it just -- I think that on a timeline basis that's how it's been set up and so on in the comic books. And whether or not that is going to be the way the films go remains to be seen, but obviously it's an exciting possibility.