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Joe And Anthony Russo On Connections Between The Gray Man And Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Exclusive

Anthony and Joe Russo's latest movie, "The Gray Man," is a globe-trotting thrill ride that's full of action and intrigue. The story focuses on Sierra Six, a CIA agent played by Ryan Gosling, who goes on the run after he discovers shocking secrets about the agency. To prevent the truth from getting out, murderous mercenary Lloyd Hansen (Chris Evans) is sent after him, and the mustachioed black hat's complete lack of conscience ensures he's capable of doing whatever it takes to bring Six in, no matter how many bodies he has to drop to make it happen.

The movie is full to bursting with eye-popping action, yet beneath the rip-roaring fights and nail-biting chases is a story of clandestine government intrigue that plays on similar themes as "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," the first film the Russo brothers directed for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Both movies are remarkably entertaining while also including a political element that speaks to what's really going on in the world today. According to the Russos, that's no coincidence. In a conversation with Looper, the pair explained why they were attracted to the story of "The Gray Man" and how it relates to their work on "The Winter Soldier."

They want to deliver 'brain food' while entertaining moviegoers

"The Gray Man" is an action-heavy spectacle, but what really attracted the Russo brothers to the film is the way the story speaks to the current political climate. "[Anthony] and I like to infuse modern thematics into our stories," Joe Russo shared. "['The Gray Man'] is really a parable about good and evil. You've got two immovable objects that are on a collision course. One leans away from humanity, one leans into humanity, and there's a corrupt patriarchy at the heart of this."

He added, "It felt like a lot of things that we've been reading about and seeing, and very topical problems that are evolving in the world today and infused into a genre package in a way that you could either be consciously or subconsciously affected by the thematics. You're also going to get a big movie that is delivering you, hopefully, some brain food while it's entertaining you."

In fact, the directors' interest in "The Gray Man" stems from the same interests and observations that drove their work on "The Winter Soldier." "Joe and I are very politically minded. We're very sensitive to what's happening in the world, the social-political climate in the world. When you work within the genre, it gives you an opportunity to run right at what those anxieties are," Anthony Russo noted. "When we did 'Winter Soldier,' we were trying to be sensitive to ... what were our anxieties about where the world was at that time? Same thing with 'The Gray Man.' It's like, 'What are our anxieties about what's happening right now?'

"Both of these movies, we tried to make very specific to the current cultural and political climate that's happening not just here in the United States, but the entire world is aware of," he continued. "Those movies are connected on that level in that they're both trying to access a very similar zone of the human experience."

"The Gray Man" is currently playing in select theaters and will stream on Netflix beginning on July 22.