Overseeing any movie production requires a lot of patience and even more effort, bringing plenty of pressure and expectation for good measure, so you can only imagine how Joe and Anthony Russo felt after embedding themselves in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the better part of a decade.
The directorial siblings were first announced to be directing Captain America: The Winter Soldier in June 2012, and they didn’t have anything else on their minds apart from the superhero franchise until the release of Avengers: Endgame seven years later.
Prior to that, Joe and Anthony hadn’t helmed a feature film since 2006’s You, Me and Dupree, working mostly in television during the interim. As you’d expect, diving headfirst into the MCU and staying their for so long took a toll on them personally, professionally, physically and mentally.
An excerpt from new book The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe via TheDirect finds Joe Russo admitting that he’d often abandon sleep to meet deadlines, with his MCU exertions proving detrimental to his well-being.
“All you can do, if you’re trying to direct that machine, is you have to stay ahead of that. The only way you stay ahead of it is if you don’t sleep. You get up in the morning, you get ahead of that. You go to bed really late at night and try to stay ahead of that. And that’s all it becomes. You’re doing that for so long that time just disappears. It actually took a big toll on our health. That’s one reason for the exercise equipment. Because I had this feeling like ‘Holy sh*t, man, we have to be in the best shape of our whole lives because we are only gonna go downhill, hard, from here’.”
Looking at the number of projects the Russos have lined up at the moment including the Extraction franchise, The Gray Man, The Electric State, Saigon Bodyguards, The Thomas Crown Affair remake, Amazon series Citadel and Disney’s live-action Hercules, they’ve clearly overcome their MCU struggles to strike the right balance between work and play.