Avengers Filmmaker Joe Russo Talks Stan Lee During Q&A Session

Avengers: Endgame filmmaker Joe Russo took some time during a Q&A session on Monday morning to discuss the late Stan Lee.

The Q&A session took place on Monday in the historic Second City theater in Chicago. Russo’s appearance comes during the We Love You 3000 tour for the home release. Before taking questions from Second City Training Center students and others in attendance, Russo answered questions from Second City Artistic Director Matt Hovde.  The two spoke for the better part of a half an hour.

Joe and Anthony Russo

Before turning it over to the audience, Russo offered his advice to young filmmakers:

Joe Russo: We’ve done this for a long time and if I could pass anything along to young filmmakers out there, it would be this: Make the story you want to tell. Make what you believe in.  Make what you care about. Because I’ll tell you this—at the end of the day, if you try to predict what people want, you’re never going to succeed because they all want something different.  When you do that on a project and it doesn’t work, you’re going to wake up every day and go, Why did I do that?

If you make what you want and tell the story that you care about and hope that people like it, if it doesn’t work, at least you wake up every day and say I told the story that I wanted to tell—which is a lot better spiritually and it’s a lot healthier for you than trying to compromise and try to anticipate what people want.

We had a great experience with Marvel. We always say there are no director’s cuts that you’re going to get because you’ve got it. That’s it. Everything that’s in that movie is everything we wanted and everything we cared about. They were always very accommodating about that as long as the story was tracking because we’re vigilant and very hard on our material.  That’s a healthy experience of ours.

On his favorite memory of Stan Lee:

Joe Russo: He was always a bright light on set. Everybody loved it when he came. It’s so interesting. We have all these movie stars on set and whenever Stan Lee showed up for his cameo, it was like everybody was a kid again. Just hearing his voice was Pavlovian if you grew up watching the Spider-Man cartoon. He was a warm person and brought a lot of warmth to the set.

Avengers: Endgame will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on August 13, 2019.

About Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is a film critic and aspiring filmmaker living in Chicago. She is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle, Galeca: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, Alliance of Women Film Journalists, Online Association of Female Film Critics, Online Film Critics Society, and the Online Film & Television Association.

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