Captain America: Winter Soldier — Building The Cast: Sam Wilson

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While the Winter Soldier proves to be a mysterious and lethal threat to Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D, Steve Rogers gets some assistance in battling the deadly assassin from Sam Wilson aka Falcon, played by Anthony Mackie. The film marks Falcon’s cinematic debut and the filmmakers had years of source material to draw from in developing the character for the big screen.

Anthony Russo explains how Sam Wilson fits in:  “In the film, Cap suspects the halls of power have been corrupted. His bosses deal in shades of gray, and he’s not comfortable with those shades. Then he finds Sam, a character far away from the halls of power, an everyman vet whom he trusts, who has a very specific talent and access to some very interesting technology.”

Comments Anthony Mackie, “The filmmakers did a good job of making Falcon his own entity. I feel like when you look at Sam Wilson and when you watch this movie, there’s nothing unforgiving or cheap about him. I feel like he’s a standup guy. He’s morally sound and he works with Captain America and follows him through it all because he believes in him, in the American dream and what America stands for. So I think that says a lot about him.”

Describing the friendship and bond that develops between Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson in the film, Mackie says, “Basically Cap and Sam Wilson connect on the idea that they were both at war and came home, and have to deal with the ramifications of waking up every morning knowing that they lost a comrade in battle. Sam works at the VA. He counsels and helps soldiers who have come back from war, and he brings Cap into that so he can see that he’s not out there on his own. Sam can empathize with the idea of what he’s going through, so they become friends on that level. Sam admires him; he admires the legend; he admires the stories of Captain America. It’s his admiration for Cap that puts them in a position for friendship.”

For Chris Evans, that personal relationship between the characters is essential to counterbalancing the larger then life aspects of the genre. “In these types of films you have to work hard to ground every character,” says Chris Evans.  “My character is a guy that’s wearing a red, white and blue suit, so you really have to make the Super Heroes very self-aware, otherwise it’s kind of silly what they’re doing. I like the relationship between Steve Rogers and Sam. I think they each have trust issues. They’ve each been on the frontline; they’ve seen battles and lost friends.”

Joe Russo comments, “Mackie has great integrity as an actor. That’s what we love about him. He has incredible screen presence. We wanted Falcon to be part of a team with Cap, not a sidekick. In order to do that you need an actor who can hold the screen opposite all the other great actors that are in the film.  You need somebody who can flesh that character out with limited screen time in a very three-dimensional way—that’s Mackie. The tone was really important to that character as well, because Sam is a guy who’s his own person who can challenge Cap when he needs to challenge Cap and can support Cap when he needs to support him.”

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