ATLANTA, the United States, May 14 (Xinhua) -- From young independent filmmakers relying on student loans to fund their work to directors behind "Avengers: Infinity War," a milestone episode of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), it took the Russo brothers over 20 years to achieve the transformation.
During a recent interview with Xinhua, Joe and Anthony Russo said that while there are no shortage of pressure and challenges in directing Infinity War and its sequel, they remain committed to creating excitement, the same way they have built their careers.
Infinity War, the third MCU movie that the Russos have directed and also the 19th superhero blockbuster produced by Marvel Studios since 10008, brings together dozens of superheroes and other characters from previous MCU movies for a battle against the Mad Titan Thanos.
Since its release, it has created box office records in several major markets.
"It's a big movie," Joe told Xinhua. "We would like to think of these (Infinity War and its untitled sequel) as Marvel writing a book for 10 years. These are the final chapters and they are big, glorious chapters with a lot of stakes and a lot of characters."
"These movies are intended to be the culmination of all Marvel movies that have preceded them within the MCU," Joe's older brother Anthony said. "There is a lot of scope to the storytelling."
Considering the record number of characters in Infinity War and complicated storytelling, as well as the attention the movie has attracted, the Russos admitted that directing the film was a challenge.
"It was fun to embrace the challenge of trying to tell a story with so many characters in it and see if you can get away with it," Joe said. "We have to do a storytelling that brings them together in a satisfying way and tells a really compelling story."
"We spend a lot of time thinking about the story from each character's point of view," Anthony said. "We think about how we can challenge this character, how we can surprise this character, and what situation we can create for this character."
The pressure was obvious. Joe and Anthony worked 16 hours a day while making thousands of decisions during shooting. There was constant communication between the two with each allowed to play the devil's advocate before reaching consensus.
Joe said the trick is to cater to "the internal voice."
"We do our best work when we're emotionally connected to the material and we believe in the material and support the material," he said.
"We can only make these movies from our point of view," Joe said. "If you cater to yourself, you end up making a really cohesive film and you have your best chance at success."
Born a year apart, Joe and Anthony, now both in their 40s, grew up in Cleveland, in the state of Ohio. They both fell in love with comic books at an early age, something that has shaped their approach to making films.
"A lot of those visuals from the books are ingrained in our brains from many years ago," said Joe. "So being able to execute them well, I feel like we have strong connection to the material."
It was their shared passion and memory that helped them pave their way to Hollywood. Still graduate students at Case Western University, Joe and Anthony in 1997 produced their first feature, Pieces, with funding from student loans and credit cards.
"Loud, brash and self-confident, the film is needlessly arty and obscure," U.S. magazine Variety said in a review. But for the brothers, they were just looking to excite themselves about a story that they found "interesting, surprising, weird and intriguing."
The maiden work, when shown Slamdance Film Festival, caught the attention of American producer Steven Soderbergh, who offered to produce the duo's next film before years later when they gained fame directing TV, including for Arrested Development and Community.
The Marvel Studios later hired the Russos to shoot Captain America's two sequels, Winter Soldier and Civil War, which respectively sold 714 million U.S. dollars in 2014 and 1.15 billion dollars in 2016 in tickets worldwide.
And more importantly, they redefined all the Marvel movies going forward, according to Kevin Feige, the Marvel Studios president. That made the Russos the best choice for directing MCU's 10-year milestone, Infinity War.
The Russos said that compared to their work on Pieces when they "were basically doing everything to get it made," the biggest difference for them working on a Marvel movie is that they now "have the most amazing collaborators in the business."
What remains unchanged is that they are "still looking at a frame, still trying to tell a story through where you point your camera at," Joe said.
"We just keep trying to surprise ourselves with what a story can go and why we think it's important to tell," said Anthony. "It's really the same process that we started with."
HOLD DOOR FOR OTHERS
Last year, the Russos set up a fellowship under the Slamdance Film Festival, which would give the winner a 25,000-dollar cash prize, access to the brothers' studio in Los Angeles, and their mentorship on film-making.
"It' s not an easy business to get into, especially when you are on the outside and you don't know anybody," Joe said. "The fellowship allows us to be able to hold the door open for someone and try to invite them into the film business."
As to advice for young filmmakers, Joe said "if you want to be a good carpenter, you have to make a lot of tables. If you want to be a good filmmakers, you have to make a lot of films."
"It's much easier now to accrue a lot of experience shooting because you can use an 苹果苹果 to do it," he said, while revealing that he and Anthony spent a lot of money film stock and film cameras when they were younger.
The Russos say they pay attention to the Chinese film industry, which has impressed them with its vibrancy.
"Storytelling is such a significant part of China's history and culture and film-making is an actual extension of that."
"The creative energy that's happening now in China on a film level is extremely exciting," Anthony said. "The business is doing very well and there's a lot of original artists coming to the table with very cool visions and that makes for an exciting film environment." Enditem