On April 27, 2015, principal photography commenced at Pinewood Atlanta Studios, marking the start of one of Marvel Studios most revered and coveted story lines. While the production would use Pinewood Atlanta Studios as its home base, it also shot in many practical locations in and around the Atlanta area in order to capture the visceral and grounded tone that has become the trademark for the franchise.
For directors Joe and Anthony Russo, shooting in practical locations was vital to the tone and style of the film that they wanted to infuse into the film. “We have always felt that at the end of the day what makes the Captain America character special in the spectrum of what the Avengers are, is that he’s the most grounded and everyman of them who people can relate to in a lot of ways,” says Anthony Russo. “So in the ‘Winter Soldier’ we tried to make the style of the film something that was human-size and more relatable to what people are capable of as opposed to what superheroes and demigods are capable of. So that led us to shoot more practical locations than we normally would and executing action in a way that’s more grounded and visceral, more real world rather than fantastical.”
The director continues, “We took that same style into this film even though we had to expand it a bit because this story isn’t confined to that type of super hero as much as it was in the ‘Winter Soldier.’ In this film we have other Marvel characters with much more fantastic abilities entering the equation. So we sort of took that grounded world of ‘Captain America’ and blew it up a little bit for this movie. But we still kept the same dynamic of staying rooted in that fidelity of real locations.”
With the production rolling through its Atlanta portion of the schedule, the moment the entire cast, crew and filmmakers were waiting for had finally come. On June 18th on the backlot of Pinewood Atlanta Studios, the first scenes of the historic “Civil War” scenes began shooting, pitting the Avengers against each other with teams led by Captain America and Iron Man. For Joe and Anthony Russo shooting the so-called “Splash Panel” Civil War sequence was something that they had looked forward to for a long time.
“For comic book fans it’s an historic day,” exclaims Joe Russo. “We refer to it as the ‘splash panel’ because it is like a double panel illustration in the comic book. You open it up and it’s beautifully done and you see all of the characters fighting each other all over the double panel. You look through it and you look for all the details of who’s fighting whom. It is one of the biggest scenes in the film and probably one of the most epic scenes in any Marvel film to date. You have almost every hero in the Marvel universe out here and they’re going to war with each other.”
Long before the sequence would be shot, the filmmakers would first have to decide which character would be on which side of the fence when it comes to governmental regulation of the Avengers. Because the Marvel Cinematic Universe does not always follow in line with the comics, the filmmakers wanted the film version of Civil War to have its own uniqueness as to which team—Team Cap or Team Iron Man—each superhero would align with.
With careful consideration and thought, the filmmakers decided on the split of the characters that would find Sam Wilson, Bucky Barnes, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch and Ant-Man following Captain America with Black Widow, War Machine, Vision and Black Panther following Tony Stark.
On Friday, August 21st after 80 days of shooting, the production would shoot its final “Civil War” battles scenes on the tarmac of the airport in Leipzig, Germany. For the cast, crew and filmmakers it was an amazing worldwide journey to bring one of the greatest story lines in Marvel Comics to the big screen.