Joe Russo stopped by the Assassination Nation panel at San Diego Comic-Con and talked about Avengers: Infinity War, the massive Marvel Studios summer blockbuster he directed with his brother, Anthony.
"Since Infinity War came out, I've been avoiding social media," said Joe, citing all the crazy fans on the internet, to much laughter from the audience gathered in Hall H.
Despite the Marvel talk, the focus of the panel was really on Assassination Nation, a Purge-esque thriller from writer/director Sam Levinson that the Russos' production company AGBO snatched up at Sundance with NEON Pictures. During the panel, Levinson said that the project was inspired by horror classics liie 1974's Black Christmas and 1982's Tenebrae.
The plot relies heavily on social media and is set in a small town whose citizens begin to violently turn on one another after a major data hack exposes some dark secrets. Bella Thorne, Joel McHale, Suki Waterhouse, Hari Nef, and Bill Skarsgård (aka Pennywise), are just a few of the movie's big-name stars. In particular, Nef compared the suspense and tension in the movie to similar moods created by Stephen King.
Given the Russo brothers' history in comedy (Arrested Development, Community) and comic books (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Infinity War), panel moderator Clarke Wolfe asked how the brothers decided to produce Levinson's movie. Joe stated that since he and Anthony got their start as independent filmmakers, who were then discovered by Steven Soderbergh, they sort of "owe a cosmic debt to the universe" to support a whole new generation of indie directors. By using their "leverage" from Marvel Studios, they can producer smaller stuff like Assassination Nation.
Released in late April, Infinity War dealt with the majority of the Marvel Cinematic Universe joining forces in the hopes of stopping Thanos (Josh Brolin) from uniting all six Infinity Stones. With its epic crossovers, incredible scope, and dark ending, the third Avengers movie was well-received by audiences and acclaimed by critics while also going on to make more than $2 billion at the worldwide box office.
Infinity War will be released on home video July 31 while the currently-untitled Avengers 4 (also directed by the Russos) arrives in theaters May 3, 2019.
Assassination Nation arrives in theaters Sept. 21.
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