While the filmmaking duo of Joe and Anthony Russo are MCU royalty now, at the time when they first joined the franchise to direct Captain America: Civil War, the Russos were best known for directing several episodes of the cult classic show Community. The duo had no intention of leaving their tv friends behind after making the jump to movies, to the extent that they personally called Community star Danny Pudi to film a scene for their film with none other than Captain America himself, as Pudi told Collider.
“I got a text from Joe Russo, who was a director of Community at the time, and said, ‘What are you doing on July 4th?’ I said, ‘I think I’m with my family. We might go to this parade.’ And he said, ‘Do you have some time in the afternoon?’ I said, ‘Yeah, well, in the morning we’ll go for this parade and we’re having some hamburgers, but afterwards I’ll stop by.’ He was filming in Manhattan Beach. So I show up at Manhattan Beach, there are no sides, no script. I don’t know what I’m doing. He said, ‘We’d like you just to pop into this scene with Captain America.’ And I said, ‘Great.'”
The fact that the Russos were so casual about adding characters to their first Marvel movie shows how confident they were in their work. And with good reason. The Winter Soldier is widely regarded as one of the best superhero movies ever made, and set the Russos up as the MCU’s hottest talents. Danny Pudi recalls his own high-point within the movie involving a very one-sided battle against Captain America.
“They gave me a sheet of paper, on set, with a couple of lines, and then they made me give them the sheet of paper back. And then Captain America, in one take, punched me, and I was super excited because I thought this was going to be in the movie and I was like, ‘This is amazing.’ I want to take a punch and then I want to be able to stand right back up, you know? Just to be like, ‘Okay, I took a punch. It was hard, but I could get back up after being punched in the face by Captain America.’ None of that made it into the film. (laughter) Months later, I saw the film. I’m in it. All my friends were like, ‘How did that happen?’ I wasn’t allowed to tell anybody I was in it, and it was a surprise, and that’s pretty much how it came to be.”
Unfortunately, the final cut of the movie did not contain that particular scene. Instead, Pudi became known as the technician who was present in the S.H.I.E.L.D building that Captain America, The Falcon, Black Widow, and Nick Fury infiltrated in order to put a stop to the machinations of Hydra. Not a bad Marvel cameo, but it would have been way more interesting to see Pudi’s character go flying from a haymaker by the first Avenger. This news comes from Collider.