In Captain America: Civil War, the Marvel Cinematic Universe transports us to far-flung planets like Sakaar, the wonders of Wakanda, the streets of Sokovia, and, uh, airport tarmacs and parking garages. But here’s the insane part: the majority of it was shot in Atlanta, Georgia. Actors are still seen working in front of green screens in massive warehouses in behind-the-scenes videos from their films. People couldn’t help but laugh at a recent interview with MCU head Kevin Feige gushing about the wonders of shooting without CGI outdoors.
In a new Variety profile of Chloe Zhao, who recently became the second woman to win a Best Director Oscar for Nomadland and whose next film is the MCU’s The Eternals, Feige is quoted as saying that he watched the footage she filmed for him. Zhao was all about “fighting for realistic locations,” according to Feige. Her previous films, such as Nomadland and The Rider, were also shot in the wilds, with real people she met on the spot. Zhao and her crew cut a demo reel for The Eternals for him to watch, which was full of actual locations, and it blew Feige’s mind:
“And I had to keep saying, ‘This is right out of a camera; there’s no VFX work to this at all!’” Feige says. “Because it was a beautiful sunset, with perfect waves and mist coming up from the shore on this giant cliffside — really impressive stuff.” Later, watching “Nomadland,” he saw similar shots. “Oh! That is not just what she wanted to bring to Marvel,” he remembers thinking. “This is a signature style.”
Of course, Zhao’s “signature style” is not unusual outside of movies that are largely made in giant warehouses with an army of effects artists. For over 125 years, movies have been made by going outdoors and turning on a camera. So when Feige’s gushing quote about something that’s been a normal part of cinema since its infancy, people pounced.
I love me a marvel movie. I truly do. But has anyone seen Kevin Feige outside in the last 10 years.
— Jessica Ellis (@baddestmamajama) April 28, 2021
mist just … hangs in the air? above the water? near a cliff?? and you don't need bids from eleven FX shops?
— Dan Kois (@dankois) April 28, 2021
CHLOE ZHAO: what if we have actual human beings acting in the same room together
KEVIN FEIGE: goddamn that’s crazy do other studios know about this
— Emperor Norton (@ashleynaftule) April 28, 2021
Some even dug up one of the first movies ever made: Auguste and Louis Lumière’s The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station, which, as the story goes, was so mind-blowing to audiences of 1896 that some in the audience freaked out, thinking the train would emerge from the screen.
Still, good for Kevin Feige! He’s rediscovering that movies can create real-life by just, like, shooting real life.