Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Mosul Director Reveals How Winter Soldier Inspired Its Action Scenes - Exclusive

When it came to shooting action scenes for his feature directorial debut Mosul, writer-director Matthew Michael Carnahan says he was greatly influenced by an iconic scene shot by Mosul's producers, Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, in their first movie for the Marvel Cinematic Universe six years earlier.

"It was the highway attack in [Captain America:] The Winter Soldier," Carnahan tells Looper in an exclusive interview. "That scene, when I was thinking about how I wanted to do the action, some of the standout moments of action — the Private Ryan assault on the beach, the Heat shootout, and the shootout on the highway from The Winter Soldier — was top of mind when I was thinking about action."

A Netflix original film, Mosul tells the harrowing true-life story of an Iraqi SWAT team who fearlessly aimed to take down ISIS militants who decimated their country's northern city in the years prior. Mosul stars Suhail Dabbach as the SWAT team's commander, Major Jasem, and Adam Bessa (who had a role in the Russo brothers-produced Netflix hit Extraction) as the newest recruit to the team.

Breaking things down to the fundementals

The Russo brothers, of course, had enormous success following Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as the film led to the duo directing Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. On a fundamental level, Carnahan says he gained a whole new perspective of how to break down a script thanks to the Russo brothers — even though he's earned an enormous amount of success writing the screenplays to such films as Lions for Lambs (for director Robert Redford), World War Z (for director Marc Forster), and The Kingdom and Deepwater Horizon (both directed by Peter Berg).

"Having sat with them and broken down a script, I realized how little I knew about breaking down a script," Carnahan shares with Looper. "Joe literally puts it up on a big TV and people sit around and he'll read every word just to make sure that it all works. If something isn't landing, everybody in that room figures out what will. [That way] you solve the problem, and you move on. There's no, 'Well, we'll get to it.' It's just, 'Sit down and put it up on the screen and let's figure it out right now.' There's saying you want to make it, and then there's actually making it. And I didn't really understand the difference until I started working with those guys."

Carnahan clearly left an impression on the Russos as well. The brothers brought the filmmaker in to polish the script for 21 Bridges, which starred the late Chadwick Boseman, since the crime-thriller was in production the same time as Mosul.

"Believe it or not, I did a pass [rewrite on 21 Bridges], so that screenplay was in existence, and Chadwick had signed on and this was all happened while I was editing Mosul," Carnahan recalls. "So, Mosul had been shot and they came to me and said, 'Can you spare a couple of weeks and punch up the [21 Bridges] script for us?'"

Mosul is available to stream on Netflix now.