Friday, May 27, 2011

Emails #48: Bucky, Brooklyn and Beyond

RICK: Okay Alpi.

I see you.

I have a few minutes....

Nice conversation. Touched on several elements of Steve Roger's illnesses, why neither HULK movies hit the mark, Spider-man I, II & III. Iron Man I & II, Thor, Samuel L Jackson as Marvel savior, Cap & Red Skull in WWII and in modern times and what it will take for Cap to become a true leader... more soon.

BEN: Yes, it would seem we should probably multiply 10 minutes by 6 when we talk:) BTW, I agree that the iron lung isn't something I'd recommend for Stevie per se. With his history, he might not survive polio. To keep things concise, I think keeping him to bed is fine. For some STRANGE reason, doctors came to you back then... Might not be bad to include polio reports in the newspaper or some such.

One other note, I think what we have done is delve into the history and culture of the time. Other folks might rely on their production designer to just make things look right while they thumb through the comic book. For us though, it's not just the comic that we're interested in, it's the times that inspired it. Why did Kirby and Joe Simon create him? What is it about him that has kept his comic alive all these years? If we look at the roots of the story as well as the character, we'll create a superior film. How many long anthropological conversations and archeological digs must the Nolan boys done to get inside Batman? You know they didn't just say "This dude drives around Gotham and likes rubber nipples. Got it." They probably studied old Chicago. They studied why people like super heroes. They studied myth and symbolism. In a corrupt (Gotham) and technological world (our world), the Nolans made a super hero believable. Not to say every super hero should get that treatment, but it made sense for Bats. The point is getting inside the skin of the characters. Something I think writers do more often than directors or even actors, sadly. Guy Richie's Sherlock Holmes set out to knock that mythos on its head. He succeeded, but without really knowing the source material, he also kicked it down the stairs. Great concept, but lost it 1/2 the way through.

Sherlock Holmes is a pretty good example of a character who developed through serial writing as did Cap.

I was reading the bio for Cap in the Ultimate Avengers. Born in Brooklyn. Protected from bullies by "Bucky" Barnes. No mention is made of religion or illness. It made it seem as though Steve Rogers fights for justice because he hates bullies. In shorthand, it makes sense but on even the tiniest degree of closer examination, The Ultimate Avengers bio falls hopelessly flat. It is a thinly veiled revenge/power fantasy. Steve Rogers could have had this in mind but the patriotism isn't there. Germany, why don't you pick on countries your own size? Steve Rogers wants to enlist and face certain death because he wants to fight back at bullies? It is utter absurdity. Does he think his pal "Bucky" will protect him? I can't imagine any other motivation except revenge. As we have discussed, revenge is not patriotism. Works for Batman. Spiderman. And is rubber stamped for so many others but revenge is not a heroic quality.

Steve Rogers loves his country. That is why he tries to enlist. It is not to impress some girl or because three generations of Rogers have defended the country. It is not revenge that motivates him but honest to God love. His heroic quality of putting his life on the line for what he believes in has nothing to do with bullies. When he can't pass the physical he cries long and hard. You see, he is still a boy even though his passion is great. He is powerless to overcome his obstacles and it is only an act of seeming miraculous proportions that he becomes Cap and combines his love of country with the strength to back up his passion. No revenge. Even a hint of it deflates the transformation.

Cap is from the mid west. Bucky is from Brooklyn and a year or two older, maybe nineteen. Italian or maybe even Jewish. Part of the melting pot of NYC and the first generation to go to school. He is assigned to Cap after the experiment turns him into a super soldier.

Totally hear you and agree. I think we discussed having Bucky as you describe. Sounds like an even better idea now. The Bucky I envisioned years ago was kind of more cool and collected. Not the happy-go-lucky Robin character. The script snippet that I wrote, he looks generals in the eye. He steps up and has a one liner-- "What are you doing, sir?" says a young British soldier. Bucky pulls out a flair gun and says, "Lighting the fuse." He has a real sense of the Cap phenomenon and what it means to the war. I don't know if my Bucky had the same kind of idealism as Cap-- my sense is that he was a little more pragmatic, but he certainly wants to take down the Nazis and support his country. I just think he loves America as well as Europe so, a slightly different, more worldly perspective.

If I think about Bucky long enough, I come to understand that he doesn't really exist without Cap. Now don't get me wrong. There is a Bucky. Cap is too valuable to be let completely alone to his own devices.

I figure Bucky is two years older. He is smarter, more street wise and much more confident than Steve Rogers ever was. He lived a hard life going to school and hustling to support his parents and grandparents. Bucky is essentially assigned to spy on Cap and follow him around so he can be the eyes and ears on the ground. It doesn't take Bucky long to realise that Cap is onto something big and he might just be his meal ticket. The only angle he didn't count on was being infected with Cap's spirit of patriotism...

"I never told you Steve. They had me spying on you. I told them everything you said. I wanted to get out of the ghetto so bad, I would agree to anything..."

"I know Bucky. I've always known."

"I watched you inspire so many people and then I found myself inspired. You make me proud to be an American, proud to be a soldier and proud to be your friend."

"Red Skull knows we are here, Bucky. Its dangerous."

"United we stand Cap."

"Eyes open my friend."

One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!
-Winston Churchill

When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.
-Joseph Campbell

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