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‘Black Widow’s’ David Harbour is game for a Red Guardian-vs.-Captain America movie

A man with a beard in a red and white costume
David Harbour plays Alexei Shostakov, a.k.a. Red Guardian, in Marvel Studios’ “Black Widow.”
(Marvel Studios)

David Harbour, a newcomer to the Marvel ecosystem, is already trying to shepherd new projects through the pipeline. Witness his performance at a “Black Widow” news conference held virtually Friday.

Harbour — whom director Cate Shortland had already dubbed “funny” and “eccentric” — joked that his character, Red Guardian, “is filled with grief and remorse about the choices that he’s made, like emotionally, spiritually, nutritionally.”

But that was no reason to team up with any other Marvel superheroes, except one. Maybe.

“Would I like to team up with — I mean, oh, God. None of them. I consider myself so extraordinary. They’re mere, you know, pedestrian powers ...,” the “Stranger Things” actor said. “But I really love the Falcon character.”

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Harbour also ruminated on the comic book history that Red Guardian, a.k.a. Alexei Shostakov, has with Captain America.

After a long road out of their COVID-19 funk, theaters are offering deals and special screenings of “Summer of Soul” and “Black Widow” to bring people back to the movies.

“What’s funny about Alexei is you have this big 25-year gap we don’t know about,” the actor said, adding, “I do think that the classic Cold War thing is a really fun and funny dynamic between these two guys and the fact that they basically came up as nuclear warheads, like in an arms race together.”

When everyone lit up with excitement over the idea of a film where Red Guardian and Captain America face off, Harbour went into producer mode, calling out, “Is Kevin Feige in the room?!”

Of course, the Marvel Studios president was there — along with director Shortland and stars Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz.

Shortland said she wanted to ensure star Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff character was always the focus of what she hoped was a “raw” movie.

While she was centering Romanoff, she said, one challenge was “making sure that we didn’t let the trauma of her past drag it down, but rather that we came up to answer it. And we often did that with humor.”

The South Korean automaker has partnered with Disney on an unusually wide-ranging promotional partnership using popular Marvel characters and other franchises.

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Johansson said it was great for people to see Romanoff “off her game” during the deeper dive into her past. She described her character as a “victim of the Red Room” — a Soviet brainwashing and training program that turns young women into assassins — who is in a suffocating situation.

Pugh, who plays Yelena Belova, described her character as “that wonderfully annoying younger sister that says all the right things and all the wrong times” — a role she said she had no trouble getting into.

“I think something that I really appreciated was Cate was so welcoming of me to figure out how [Belova] thinks and how she moves and what she was,” Pugh added.

“Black Widow” follows the events of “Captain America: Civil War,” as Romanoff must reckon with her past as well as the new realities of her life as an Avenger.

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After its original May 2020 release date was delayed three times due to the pandemic, the movie is due July 9 in theaters and on Disney+.


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