[Interview] How ‘Rogers: The Musical’ Came To Be In ‘HAWKEYE’

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Courtney Howard // Film Critic

If you saw the trailer for HAWKEYE, you probably were obsessed with the snippet of “Rogers: The Musical,” which spoofs The Avengers trials and tribulations in a big Broadway show. Centered on Steve Rogers, who sings his iconic phrase “I Could Do This All Day” with bombastic bravura, the musical is a substantial sequence that opens up Marvel’s new DisneyPlus series.

When we’re reintroduced to Avenger Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), he’s with his family seated at the show a few days prior to Christmas. He’s still struggling with PTSD after all the events he’s been put through as an integral team member and, suffice to say, he’s not totally up to seeing it portrayed for entertainment. Yet an audience member, you absolutely will be.

At the show’s virtual press conference, director Rhys Thomas and president of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige spoke about how they brought that segment to life, starting with Feige agreeing to attend a party – something he rarely does. He says,

“There was an idea early on about why he comes to New York. I loved the idea. I had met the amazing composer Mark Shaiman at an event. I’m not a social guy. So, to even say, I met him at an event – it was, like, 1 the 3 events I’ve been to in the last 10 years. He and his husband are giant Marvel fans.”

Thomas had pitched the idea earlier never thinking it would be something that would come to fruition.

“It was an innocent suggestion in one of our calls that I quickly tried to backtrack on.”

Feige loved the idea and felt it grounded Barton in a unique way and helped account for the character’s scarred psyche.

“When Rhys said that, it gave us context for the opening episode – context for why Clint is in New York, context for Clint seeing himself in the way the way the world sees Hawkeye. And gave us an opportunity to have an amazing song by Mark Shaiman.”

Renner didn’t really see Clint as suffering from Survivor’s Guilt so much as it was just feeling grief-stricken.

“I suppose it was survivor guilt outside just dealing with the loss. There’s a lotta things that are lost. You know what I mean?  That’s addressed in the show, which is beautifully intimate. It brings our characters closer together. There’s a lotta weight that’s carried. There might be a seemingly veneer of grumpiness in this resting face in the show. But it ultimately comes from just the weight and the horrors, and the tragedies and loss that come with the [superhero] game. It’s managing losses. The lightness and brightness that Hailee’s character brings in counteracts that and gets it to level out some.”

Renner loved tapping into those facets of his beloved character and found it therapeutic.

“It’s pretty cathartic, and I think quite beautiful.”

Hailee Steinfeld, who plays Clint’s de-facto mentee Kate Bishop, added she’s excited to show their dynamic together as mentor and mentee.

“Kate sees Clint as someone, despite his past, as someone who wants to do good and wants to help people. That’s all she wants to do in life, and she’s inspired by him and motivated by him and wants to be at his level and is very over-eager. He puts up with a lot.”

If this show is setting Bishop up to be a part of the next phase of Marvel’s Young Avengers, Steinfeld feigned cluelessness gracefully.

“Listen, this feels so crazy to me right now just sitting here with this group of people. I’m so grateful to be a part of this show and this universe. It’s only the beginning. The show’s not even out, so I’m looking forward to that day.” 

HAWKEYE begins airing on November 24 on DisneyPlus.

About author

Courtney Howard

Courtney Howard is a LAFCA, CCA, OFCS and AWFJ member, as well as a Rotten Tomatometer-approved film critic. Her work has been published on Variety, She Knows and Awards Circuit.