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Read this: Screen International: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely

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Screen International: ‘Avengers: Endga…

Hello and welcome to the special edition of screen internationals Awards season podcast series The Avengers endgame, the Walt Disney studios motion pictures release has become the highest-grossing film of all time with 2.8 billion of the global box office Christopher and Steven are also co-producers on the fraction spoke to my screen international calling Michael Rosser about the screenwriter who must inspire them and their relationship with Marvel Studios president Kevin foggy, but first the Paris bonded to the films success of the box office in audience reaction force and it's my great pleasure to be joined by two writers who wiped out half the universe and then brought them back with a Saturday fingers, Christopher Markus and Stephen mcfeely welcome, it's been 5 months since the release of Avengers endgame, and it's been.

Audiences around the world becoming the biggest movie of all time at the worldwide box office with close to 2.8 billion to 5 months later in your own personal stories.

Have you had the chance to reflect on this amazing achievement thing to take him? It's it's like looking at the Grand Canyon very very big and kind of hard to find your spot in it, but I when I think about it you think about that box of number what number has 2 min is repeat viewings and that's not because you know people like the punching.

It's because there's a real emotional element in there and experience that they want to go to again and want to feel again and want to go through again and have achieved that on on this larger scales really satisfying it's repeat viewing and it's also international viewing and you shouldn't be doing this on YouTube right.

You shouldn't be taking your camera into movie theatres, but I could have watched shots of people in India and in other parts of the world and just get on the field and scream the prayers times in the movie theatre in the fact that that that that can happen to all the different cultures really gratifying it.

So that's why it's at 2.8 billion.

Is there a particular moment in sort of seeing audience reactions that you were pleasantly surprised that a gas for the big ones come at the end.

Me a but when if you're a fan in a passing fad, when Steve Rogers is facing a ridiculous alien horde and is clearly Go Down Swinging and distal crackle happens in his ear and saying Wilson who's been dead for 5-years on your left and the ripple effect of what that means is coming.

I've seen people cry.

You know it's not just the cavalry's here.

It's it's it's this explosion of emotion 22 years of built-up investment and that's all really talking about you get to that kind of boxing ever because of the Investment of the serialised storytelling that's a bit much for me.

Is that portal seen you know I know I know this has been a long journey for you both began around 10 years ago.

I think I'm Captain America the First Avenger can you talk about exactly when you heard about that opportunity and have you got the job Iron Man have come out?

I think I was gonna come out and we.

Our agent told us that they were thinking of making Captain America movie which was really interesting to us because we had actually talked about what if you made a cake.

Do you make a comic book movie that took place at the time when the character was actually created because someone who is Craig characters came out in 30s or early 40s and we're speaking to societal need the time and when you transpose them to now sometimes.

They don't work as well.

So what if you took.

Those societal needs and did it there and cap is probably the one who you need to do that most of all because he makes absolutely no sense unless he comes from now.

We are like that.

We want to go talk about that so we chased it all that summer 2008 decided we were very well that are men came out because we're opening our Men second weekend which was called Prince Caspian and did not do nearly the whole summer trying to get the job that men reading comics going to the bookstore Los Angeles and getting us big compendiums.

Don't have any colour in them.

You know just reading of a good and eventually got the job around the holidays 2008 mercy just by Sharon Tuesday as I don't know if it was any brilliant idea with.

those meetings were collaborative and in Marvel is a very collaborative company and

More than pictures they were sitting at a table with Kevin and Stephen broussard and talking about what a Captain America movie could be where you to tackle it and you know and I think we develop the relationship even before we have the job that is is part of the reason why weird.

The matter long run there is because that's how we like to work and it's are they like to work and it's a good fit and Narnia films right.

Yes, we were secondary return on the first one and then the soul riders with Andrew Adamson on the second one and then we were the first writers in on the third one and then were asked to leave earlier and I wonder if there's anything that you learnt in particular from you not working in that universe that you then brought to another universe what I mean that really was our introduction to big budget filmmaking.

We had one movie made prior to that and I think it should come out yet and the like and are very effective heavy and

There was a lot of a previous and watching the movie before it was made and it was very instructive about.

That level of storytelling but it was also kind of reassuring in that does movies only work when you are there with those kids emotions and to know that even even a movie of this girl in this budget is dependent on the person always depended on and the emotions of the characters as opposed to you know how many lions make talk so you went on to write Thor the Dark World in Parkdean cards and work with the Russo Brothers on the next to Captain America movies soldier and civil war so when were you first approached about writing Avengers infinity war and end.

It was maybe we were well into writing and prepping Civil War but we had shot yet.

So it's probably Christmas of 2014.

Comes in her office and said that point we were juggling the agent Carter television show and civil war and we were a bit fried because that was a long.

Day's, where does a rose room downstairs and we would visit there in the afternoon, but we crack the movie in the in the morning and Joe said that looks like they're going to the next Avengers movies and appreciate you you just groaned.

I mean it has been one continuous effectively since we got a point and

Civil War came very quickly after after Winter Soldier basically never never dismantle the team I just rolled into that and I buy I was looking forward to a break but instead came the two biggest movies ever made and we just kind of nodded and went but come back in touch with you again, but not we hadn't really think about what we wanted out of our lives and our careers and it meant this before the idea that scares you maybe you are trying to do it.

It's certainly is scary to see you gonna shoot two huge movies back-to-back with the cat the size of which we were talking about the ambition that infinity war connotes and so there was a Avengers

Huge big great movie you know I'll try and come out yet, but it's fine and so we don't know we're going to finally face or whether we could do this, but we was the biggest puzzle ice cream as we never have to put together and so that even even with other anxiety.

I think that's what pushes for is that the challenge is too great to pass up.

I've heard about this 60 page document going into this reveal about the contents of it.


You know we called it a manifesto which is really the wrong if the exact opposite of the manifesto.

It's 60 pages of of completely contradictory ideas the list of things that could happen.

You know storylines have been left dangling that you could pick up things that happened in the Comics did they have the rights to the characters for?

Is many a weird team up as we could think of where like these two people have never been on the screen together you probably need to do that and it really was a starting point to the like let's narrow down what the collective Consciousness is on this movie literally circle circle what you like get highlighter out and go like I like that like that now like that like planning your wedding.

You know when you have to sit outside with the neck is going to be in you have to take the chicken and take the position that your feelings about the happiness that you never knew you had vehemently opposed to certain kind of chair during the shooting of civil war where everyone else was very busy making that movie we would check in the morning rewrite when you will be rewritten and for free for the rest of the day too kind of

Read every comment but we could find an plumb the depths of Marvel and it was a lot of really important R&D just ingest in the weather the weather in it was literally the plot was going to be on screen it was you know we learnt everything because I wonder if there's a sort of Marvel list of do's and don'ts like when they went to work with them or something that they say you know let's let's not do this environment is Kevin I think is smart enough to know that if he starts limiting you early.

He's going to cut off avenues that might be fruitful.

So there are some things that we pitch events that don't get any traction in there are things that will make a third and fourth draught eventually people that we probably either can't afford or don't want to do that, but that's not.

Really was just literally it's it's called infinity war to get Thanos in it and it's got six stones.

You know what those and he probably get them and we had a word with n a mission to make it as epic as you can make it use anybody you can use and there are so many moving pieces in the Marvel Universe they all need to connect somehow so to what extent do you work with the talent behind black panther Captain Marvel Ant-Man and the Wasp Spider-Man far from home all of which would impact and were enacted in some way by these movies that you can get a hold of movie you can get older and talk to the people when they're available sometimes.

It's literally I remember Steve coming back from the bathroom.

I'm going to take a whitey just like.

The circumstances that other times it's arranged meetings and you tried it absorb as much as they doing a lot of the time you have to go out on you and hope you know they've that you respect for the character.

Is is going to prevent you from doing something so egregious that it conflicts with them because the schedules is a varying that you know we'll be shooting stuff before they do when they're going to come out first and it it gets very it impossible to completely regimented marching order marble has their own internal logistics each.

This is one Kevin overall, but there's one producer and project and they're doing the talking from what I can tell the Marvel Parliament does the Parliament tonight.

It's despite that it seems very well run, but there are things that are seeded in these are the movie of payoff and and so is some of that, how much is that is by Design sometimes with Kevin 24-hours a day but I have to measure sometimes he giggles at the idea that this is a super plant right because there are certainly ambitions, but if this whole thing was regiment Lee scripted in planned for years and years out.

You wouldn't have very good movies you wouldn't have chatted to surprise.

So yes, there are there's an ambition like even probably in 2012 thinking would be great if then else came back and then United everyone against them but but didn't take too many steps to do that.

It is sometimes those things that deliberately planted.

Sometimes you drop you know you're when you know you're in an interconnected universe.

It's fun to just sort of mention things without knowing whether it's going to get picked up, but not like we we say the word Stephen strange in winter soldier.

I still don't completely know how they know about but it's just fun to do that and you can go go back later and going we can pick it up.

You did not fully have the intention of of picking it up again, but the general Martin wants to make the best movie in front of the house, so that there's a really can't think of an instance where I say something we used it is probably kicked you out the movie right because it would be better 6 years from now or something specifically speak to

The folks making a murderer wasp and Captain Marvel about like ok you to come in between our two movies we really need these two Endings worth yeah.

That's a big situation usually it's not there, but we needed this one person trapped in the quantum realm and everything so Marvel Studios president is very much seen as the architect of all this overseeing the incredible success of the mcu.

Can you talk about how your dealings with him shaped the endgame?

He said he lets people do their best work, but he is an incredibly sharp audience cover great storyteller and it doesn't really doesn't directory is a great story to tell her so he can I put this if you if you're thinking too small will remind you not to think small specifically remember.

We're making or bad to shoot about yourself for infinity war and he brought in through the big omnibus posted paper but not pages all over the place and he wanted to flip through and make sure that we would be in as crazy as Jim Sterling was right to make sure that there was a cosmic element to it that we are missing some of the trippy nature of of his comic because you know it's something we have to make a grounded movie and it kept always be this the strip.

Doing that a number of things got into the movie release we pushed we push things even further know things get sorted out.

I think that that that wizard duel on Titan the end of Infinity war Thanos vs.

Dr strange things get really weird.

It's sort of a child that strange was going to blow Thanos is mine.

It was not unlike when in the original doctor Strange movie the maximum the head he goes astro out of his body and experiences to the depths of the universe in fingers and weird stuff basically strange did the same thing that I know and we got a sense of.

Another destruction the bowsers cars do of the Universe and the souls that might be crying out for Justice and eventually he was brought before this character from the MCMC emu, the Living tribunal who is a cosmic judge with Three Faces who pronounced him guilty and very trippy but also.

Completely took you out your in the middle of bowel and then pressing paws Annabell to have a psychedelic experience and then come back takes you know the tension it also posits a higher authority.

You know whether it's a hallucination or not.

You know if you start saying there are God's not people then you're going 1 of what are the stakes now these guys can come in stop it.

There's a judge.

So it's not the kind of thing you want to drop likely into the fantastic.

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Podcasts with NOW TV including Bohemian Rhapsody and the 4th new movies added each month from Aquaman to How to Train Your Dragon 3 now TV's got you covered watching get cosy with the latest and best movies for just £11.90 a month search NOW TV today so 11 years 21 interconnecting movies this has never been done before it is usually drawn inspirations that inform how they tell their stories what else is there like this? I mean were there any movies at all that will come to mind when you were writing this so we talked about it.

But no you sometimes we talk about Game of Thrones in reminder cells that they were characters over the course of the series who we the audience very well in new series and were part of the story but never met you know that somehow didn't I was never triggered by that and then sometimes I would you to watch them meet and we knew that would be part of the secret sauce of this movie this the anticipation of your two favourite characters from different franchises coming together.

That was almost more more more than endgame.

You know we often do have template movies for the things.

We write where you can just learn you know the Winter Soldier is very much inspired by the seventies paranoid thrillers this really didn't I mean you can movies like Godfather 2 you know something giant in sprawling.

But it really is the end result of 21 preceding movies it's it is not beholden to the Comics it's not holding to you know Another Movie we were trying to eat.

It is it is the climax 22 movies of storytelling which I think you're right has never been done before I was kind.

It was a big challenge in a big honour to chew behind it all these strings from all these other artists to go in OK now timer and you know the invoice is remarkable to me.

How long did it take you to actually break the story well we got serious about breaking it since September of 2015 and that the next four months we were locked in a conference room.

Broke both swear to outlines by January of 16 and then went to draught on both those scripts not they changed plenty but the story is essentially with the saying there any of the first movie was a snapping the end of the second movie was Tony's death and Steve going back in time and all that so the big points are always the same thing you need it the death of Tony Stark was coming many years though.

We're sitting on Tony's just walk around thinking about my bathroom.

It's really important cuz I take pictures of the of the whiteboard at the end of every day to make sure that you know we don't lose any work and maintenance of something and if I were made from my phone.

It would be bad news from your phone as you say this now.

I've seen that I've seen that actually seen that photo and it just looks like Tony pies.

Who are your top movie writers of all time in one of your favourite script?

Like Lawrence kasdan minutes ago, I really I know when all the composer be nice to do this type types of movies Robert Townsend and Goldman limited TV and our office that always home in the lobby, and I just I lose many many minutes to bridge Casey and son has kittens just on all day.

I mean it's weird that we're subject to to the over promotion of directors throughout the ages as everybody else that hard to bring the riders names to mind of your favourite movies but there.

And now I'm doing this service to them, but obviously you don't having written many scripts itself.

Is that each have a script of someone else's that you are one of the reasons.

I just still listening Christmas getting answer what the reason we got into this is because we met in grad school around the time of movie called seven and we watched that with the bunch of friends and scare the pants off of us, but most importantly it was a tight typescript.

I mean it's dark in the car, but so much of the violence and gore is in your head.

It's not necessarily on the screen, but it's just a swatch of a movie that by the time he walks into the police station at the end of Act II and said detector with this movie is going and I love that and so that's 7 Walker and it is actually something we try to eat in civil wars the idea.

Quite know which is going to be because you're off kilter having this guy in the background.

We can talk about it.

You know until the movie Kumar I mean one because it is so complex, but it's also incredibly evocative and a scene to scene basis and for as much as it's unreal.

I think you still don't know I did something terrible happened to Jake back when he was a cop in Chinatown you never know like but it's it's the 8th hunting throughout the movie that is just beautiful make me happy.

I am I right in thinking that you were on set everyday.

I'm much more than one point where you went to the hospital to get well.

That was from Sackville road, as a result of me and you.

If you have like muscle strain that happens to be in your chest which is causing a pain in the area of your chest if you say that the set medic pain he is then required on Monday so I called in to address any issues like on those days with no we're not there just for you know sparkly personalities on a big movie like this when you're shooting holiday pay day the most important part of the day for the writer is the Beginning because you gonna block the scene in The Archers get took the director reasons for blacking out and decide what they're going to do for the day.

Changes come out of that either we realised the Store's actually Windows so we could be right there or an actor has inspiration or in rehearsing if someone has a great idea in that case as they go back to make up Chris Holder with Johnny Anthony Russo in this area has come out of this evening if you all for this idea or going to be right here with her so then Chris and valuable from 8:10 and then once upon its feet you know it's probably going to be that seen all day and so that's when we got a lot of the time also join Anthony you know that's when we can get Joanne anything between shots to talk about a differencing and they particularly on these movies they were assemble and edit with the editor without whom.

We would not be here every night.

They assemble what they've got and start looking at it and start.

Dreams about what they need and what are the time we meet with them on a Tuesday because Monday night they watch what we shot last Thursday and go like we need we need a thing that doesn't make sense so it was very much a sort of ongoing evaluation of what it comes before so on a daily basis there.

It's a symbol Avengers as well.

Played a particular example of something where they said we need to know for sure we all about infinity war there is a sequence doctor Strange and Tony and Peter Parker on a spaceship and they have to rescue make decisions that seem we promise that three times we had various ways to get Dr strange out of the boy and he was him but because that set was up it was so

The actor is it various times always we could take a few cracks at that seem so we eventually set on a much simpler seen it was very heavy action scene at the movie didn't want it so we have a much simpler scene where to aliens blowhole the ship and Indiana Jones actors have spent many years with these characters so that Robert Downey Jr suggest a different approach for his delivery he can do it does do it often be in a digest this whole thing Prior and that's his process is to sort of taking what you've written.

Verbalizer a dead never experienced anybody work this way he he takes in your script it comes back out of him.

Slightly rephrased he writes it down gives it back to you.

It's all it's it's fascinating it because it's part of him keeping it somewhat improvisatory for himself which is how he works even though it's 3.0 doesn't love saying the same line wondering.

What's so if we are having this in here is being interviewed and we did this take over and over again.

He wouldn't even if I said hi Mike in the next time.

Will it be in the next time of the Americas very good to see you too like you would never say hi Mike again.

Sometimes like really important nouns that you really need in there Fallout

Savers interest in there for that his death scene which I understand you know there was something something of speech understand that he took that down to and that's a good example of you know you can imagine when were writing it and we feel the allegation to send Tony Stark on his way to clean the first draught and we want to make sure that our readers which or in this case are the production people get a little tear in their eyes so we do our dangerous to to make that happen.

It's rather when he gets there and that approaching for many months.

He knows what's coming.

I'm serious thinking about and he's got ideas, then he wants he wants much less and he was right ultimately because what I didn't quite understand was the guy who always had something to say the right all these movies suddenly rendered speechless the most heartbreaking things you can do with that is really good instinct.

You know what I mean.

There's an a character Level Tony is so variable and you're always doing this tap dancing partly out of some sort of and he still had that even after he had saved the world and was about to die it actually would be tragic but there there is something great about him finally not having to do that anymore.

You know the voices in his head of quiet it requires dying, but it it's nice that it happened.

So there's a speech out there somewhere that will never see the light of day was it was so good of a receiving line.

Endgame is about 99% done before infinity war came out is that right in terms of the wonder if the reaction to infinity war from the overall movie theatre individual moments if that inspired any changes whatsoever to endgame that changes certainly a conference to lean in the things if such as if people had been totally say about the snap in the ending of Infinity war.

You know there might have been some sort of.

Rethinking of again because but I don't I don't know if we would have even had the ability to change anything by that point but we take a really long time sitting in the aftermath of the snap and I mean take 5 years and the taking it seriously and taking the after effects of a very seriously and what we are wanting to do when we set out if people will like that the gimmick.

You know those that that's nearly an hour if they've already dismissed as it doesn't matter because there were people crying in the movie theatre who didn't get up and do you know I just like it.

We knew it was going to work now Superhero movies have really been nominated for Academy Awards

For anything beyond the technical categories Logan was nominated for best adapted screenplay black panther and finally the hero movie to be nominated for best film at the Oscars in 2019 that the performances Direction and of course the writing deserve more recognition in that regard for the genre.

I can't speak I think it's it's on an individual basis.

I mean I think endgame is a unique bile are people you know what's the exchange we talking about the 22nd movie in a franchise that delivers the most emotional moments in cinema this year, so that's that's a testament to the convenient to Jonathan Russo

You know it's the departments that have been on this movie basically as I said earlier like we only got here because everybody from winter soldier in the civil war and infinity war games all basically the same team so there's this sort of a handcrafted message to all of this because we've been working together for so long.

I mean it's it is a testament to how genuine the work and his movies has been that the emotion is so high when they come to this Endpoint I mean when Tony that is this emotional payoff that has been building for however many of the 22 that he's been in and he has crafted a genuine character that people have fallen in love with and it is not really like that has the same every time he has a valve.

Just changed his overcome these difficulties in that.

that is a rare opportunity for an actor and I think he just destroyed it so

And you know and have you leveled reading level.

I think it is unprecedented.

So can you talk about what's next for you guys? Is it that long awaited vacation this this isn't this medication we started a studio with the Russo brothers and so we've been added about a year and a half now.

We're Chris and I love them sort of quality control riding room in a way so trying to replicate what we did with the process.

We we are developed working on for Marvel movies so just come in and sit with us and we help them create a story then they go off in right first draught and we give him notes in the ideas that it's like a proper studio accept the minute you get from Jonathan Merry Christmas from the executive not constructive creative cannot say that it's not just what we find that wrong.

What you've done, it's advice on how to fix it or you know really targeted criticism, so we'll write one big movie for the company and then a couple small ones and the first one that hopefully goes into production the crossing a road is a story about Cambridge analytica excellent and what's that called at the moment and I mean I know that Kevin 5-years sign up to work and Star Wars movie back to another epic universe the new.

And running has that is a lot of work.

I worry for yourself yet, so I'm interested to know where's Santa right.

I'm here but I would like to ask about how you split responsibilities as right you know and why do you work when I do all the verbs? We've developed the process of her 20-something years together where we outline it together another one hard.

Day's work really many possibilities in seems like nothing gets done and once we have a good outline usually accomplished by people paying us.

We will then split split up and so each of us.

Gets the pleasure of riding for straps on her own in her own time in her own space and put that together at the end of every week and read it but we won't touch it natural fibre six weeks of a messing will have this sort of ugly draught that then the third parties we we write that together and

Back in the same ruling get me another chair and revising things we haven't touched and that usually tends to legal drafting about 10 weeks 4 weeks off work, so well together.

If you don't have any choice we learnt the craft together that was that's an interesting idea.

It's just occurred to us that that is not like I was wasting Chris come join me or like it's moving into an apartment with your significant other right.

Do they move in with you or you or you moving to a new place the other so Chris and I moved into a new place together which was learning how to write screenplays, so I don't think there is any possessive about anything you know what the heck.

You're so looking back on the movie with some distance.

Do you have a favourite line from endgame?

When my car says it's going to work and he says I know because I don't know what I'm going to do if it doesn't please I will try with that the greater the world, but what it means and what the scene is when Kathleen's over it was for sale, Hydra and particularly chuffed about that such a juicy moment when the screaming sun fortunately that's all we have time for subject remains me to say thanks so much for your time Christopher Markus and Stephen mcfeely very much.

Thank you to our special guests Christopher Stephen mcfeely.

We hope you enjoy this special edition of the screen international podcast head over to screen to keep up with all of our words season podcasts the screen international podcast is a PPM production to produce Rebecca Drysdale Sherry that's all for now.

See you next time.

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