‘Black Widow’ Scene-Stealer David Harbour on Red Guardian’s Tattoos, Suiting Up and Parental Love

SPOILER WARNING: Do not read if you haven’t seen “Black Widow,” now in theaters and on Disney Plus.
“ Black Widow ” is full of layered surprises and heart, from Florence Pugh ’ s huge little-sister energy to Rachel Weisz ’ s stunning hog mind master. But truly the next break star in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov, a.k.a. the red Guardian .
In Alexei ’ randomness first few moments on screen, he flips a car, rides a plane as it takes off and forever betrays his juke daughters, little Natasha Romanoff ( Scarlett Johansson ) and Yelena Belova ( Pugh ). And that ’ s not even the rightfully harebrained part of this fictional character ’ s arc. Decades subsequently, he tops himself again by appearing as a done for super soldier, stuck in a prison rotting away with nothing but his fade tattoo to show for his years of of commitment to the cause. One would assume this negligence would dampen his spirit — not a find. Harbour ( with his imperial beard ) fills the sieve with an ego larger than Thanos. Fueled with the assurance of a man who never left his glory days, Harbour ’ sulfur energy and decision make it about impossible not to cheer on this flawed, flailing failure of a forefather .

assortment discussed the intricacies of playing Red Guardian with Harbour and whether or not his character will return .
Marvel is known for their great suiting-up scenes. Your version of this is quite different from what we’ve seen before. What did you and [director] Cate Shortland envision for this big moment?
In the script, it ’ sulfur very amusing. I think it ’ s an court to “ The Incredibles ” equally well — this guy, intelligibly past his choice. I don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate think it ’ randomness in the final cut, but we took about five hours [ to shoot that scene ]. It was no joke with different angles… [ Shortland ] shot a long ton of stuff around my quality, around Rachel ’ randomness character, about our connection… none of that gorge ’ mho going to be in the movie. But I will say for that particular setting, there were big moments and we truly sculpted a thing .
As we were shooting it, I went over to the mirror at one point — there ’ s evening stuff in the dawdler that I don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate think made it in the [ final examination ] hack — where I ’ thousand equitable bend and looking at myself and there is this ego. But there ’ second besides him seeing himself old age and confronting that ampere well. And then putting the blinders on and being ineffective to confront it and actually unable to see it. There ’ second a unharmed arc. When any of us look in the mirror, it ’ s such a personal thing to see yourself to know what you have looked like, and to actually authentically look at yourself then. And so in that way, I love that about him. I love the fact that Cate was unafraid of playing with those ideas. I like real bodies, I like bodies that can ’ metric ton get into jeans. Some people see it and they laugh, but to me, I like people like that because I feel like they have appetite and they have biography and like to live. It ’ sulfur amusing, but I besides like that guy .
Can you run us through some of your favorite Alexei tattoos? 

Oh god yes. My favorites were, he has “ Karl Marx ” written on his knuckles, like “ love ” and “ hate, ” which I thought was just hilarious. I love that. That was a last-minute addition. He ’ sulfur got a painting of [ Vladimir ] Lenin ’ s question on his abdomen. There ’ mho a identical intricate Russian gang tattoo that I felt looked a little piece excessively nazi eagle. I didn ’ thyroxine want people to get distracted by that, so we put these small parapets on it that made it our own. There ’ south all these russian words that were very personal to me. then on his neck is a especial custom tattoo we had built that is Rachel Weisz ’ s face in a bob haircut when she was younger. It says “ Melina ” underneath that. That was probably my favored one because I love Rachel Weisz .
How did you go about discovering who Alexei was and finding this character? 

Starting with the script, there are all these colors that are contradictions to him. I in truth liked not shying away from those contradictions. I think people are full of contradictions and they play different roles in different scenarios. Who you are when you talk to your dad is wholly different than who you are when you talk to your wife or your husband or your kids. Those contradictions are what made him bang-up .
From the beginning of the movie, he decidedly makes a option that is hard for an consultation to overcome. I think you have to gain a batch of ground subsequently on in the movie to get people to go with him because he does something that ’ randomness quite dramatic .
I started with this theme that he truly was a soviet in the sense that he grew up under a soviet Russia as opposed to the Russia of today. And then in that sense, he did in truth believe in a induce. I don ’ thymine know that Americans have the same belief in that cause. We have these ideologies of exemption and things like that, but there ’ s something about the Communist political orientation that was indeed strong and sol knock-down. And so I think that the sacrifices that he made were for that. so I dug in truth into that aspect of it, the philosophy of that, what it would ’ ve mean to be a extremely soldier in that world. It became about these colors of compunction, grief and having made the wrong decisions. Seeing these daughters that you thought that you were doing the correct thing by sort of surpasses you and the jealousy of that. All these very homo things. My procedure always kind of starts with the script and then gets very personal as I go along .
(L-R): Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), Alexei (David Harbour) and Yelena (Florence Pugh) in Marvel Studios' BLACK WIDOW, in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access. Photo by Jay Maidment. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
In the film, Alexei is excited that his “daughter” Natasha is an Avenger, but this flies in the face of many of his beliefs. Do you think Alexei is truly proud that she defected from the overall mission and plan?
well he does both. It ’ s the same thing that I think anybody does with their daughter. When it ’ s to his advantage he uses that as a thing. At one point he says, “ You capitalist. ” or something about. And then, when he wants to build her up, it ’ mho “ You ’ re such a big shot. ” I think it ’ s precisely more a product of them, it ’ sulfur father/daughter. He just knows her and loves her. When she annoys him, he lets loosen .
What attracts him about that Avengers thing is not sol a lot that it ’ mho Westernized, but the fact that she ’ s a ace in a populace that he wanted to be a ace in, besides. It ’ s not in occupation with the Communist political orientation, but he was the great hope of Russia in terms of this ace, and he never very made it. She kind of made it. She ’ s an Avenger ; they know her, she ’ s the one. I think he is both jealous, but ultimately identical proud of her ace status and how much she achieved with where he put her in the Red Room and how messed up that situation was, how much she got out of her life .
You slipped back into your character’s accent there, what’s the hardest part of mastering a Russian accent? 
Oh man, like everything. russian accents are identical hard. I do find that when I work on accents it ’ mho hard to be technical with them…If you ’ rhenium not careful, sometimes it can become an italian gangster. I would find myself slipping into Tony Soprano, and that was bad. Accents are hood, but it ’ s playfulness because you have a little act of a buffer in the common sense of, it ’ s not a full-on documentary here. It ’ s a adaptation of Russia that is populated with superheroes and external people. I do the best I can, but besides allow the quality to be the character and more than just the stress .
Will we be seeing more of the Red Guardian in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

They don ’ metric ton lashkar-e-taiba you say these things ! I would love for there to be more red Guardian. And I would love for you guys to love for there to be more red defender, because that always helps the cause. I love the character. There ’ s so many things you could do with him, right ? There ’ s this break of 25 years where we don ’ t know who he was, his version of events as opposed to the actual interpretation of events, and what happens to him after this movie. And why international relations and security network ’ triiodothyronine he fighting Thanos ? Where is he in that time ? What happens then ? When [ Natasha ] dies, what happens then ? I mean, it ’ s identical interesting to me and I hope that there is interest on other levels and possibly we ’ ll see some more .

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