Joe Russo: Talking about the kiss for a second. That was something that got picked out in the room - we were all like can we do it, can we not do it? It’s such an old trope.
Steve McFeely: Yeah, that’s true.
Chris Markus: Well, you know, it’s the debate of are they actually gonna - is there gonna be romance between them for real in the movie? And I think eventually we decided that there’s no time and it sorta sells both characters short, that the only reason you’d have the Black Widow is so that there can be sexual tension. But a kiss is always fun. Plus it leads to this conversation which really cracks Steve open.
Anthony Russo: Wonderful scene in the movie, Chris and Scarlett - you really see their chemistry here. This scene greatly benefited from their working history together, the fact that they know one another so well. I remember reading this scene before we shot it in the trailer with them.
Joe Russo: And making adjustments with them.
Steve McFeely: I think they tweaked it, the practice part - they wanted to put the practice line in.
Joe Russo: Right. So a lot of the bantering back and forth, the playing off of each other, came from the work in there. I think it was in Scarlett’s trailer we were all sitting around reading the scene, work-shopping the scene a little bit. But it’s great because it gives it a nice energy and a spark. And you know what’s interesting about this scene is the first time since The Avengers… which is this cultural phenomenon where you get to see two of the characters from that group behaving like friends. Or at least behaving in an intimate fashion and having a conversation - you know they’re talking about things other than saving the world.
Anthony Russo: What a pivotal moment in the movie narratively and on a character level for him to be looking for a friend and for her to tell him no.
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier Blu-ray Audio Commentary
Growing up, I came to appreciate more and more those moments when you get to see the superheroes relax in-between battles, playing cards or shopping or anything—and talk. It may be funny when Sue Storm remarks that all the Avengers do is play poker eating pizza or Chinese takeaway, but in those action-free spaces there is also, simply, life. Not the job, the person, which can only have great incidence on the hero.
I think it’s also great, coincidentally, that two characters may be allowed to have such amazing chemistry and not be pronounced madly, albeit secretly, in love with each other. Natasha actually subjects Steve to a test in this scene, asking him what he would like her to be, and Steve proposes friendship; he lets her decide of what she wants and whether she fancies herself ready to show loyalty for free. And this is someone who knows what she’s capable of, knows her professionally, and may appear to be very different from her.
And yes, she tells him no. In a way, she does. So that when Steve tells her that now he does trust her, she takes it all in the teeth, and it hurts so visibly there is no irony possible—but it was necessary, because at this moment Natasha can make her own choice, and she doesn’t make it because she is forced or because she owes him a debt, she makes it in the name of what could be—I reckon this is called hope—and upon her own conscience. This is a moment when Natasha Romanov is stripped of all her outer skins and is asked to take a decision for herself.
By the way, this is also Steve Rogers taking a stand and realising that he can exist in this era too, that he can make connections of his own free will and according to his tastes, but also that he needs to make some. Trust him to think outside the box.
This was interesting and I really like the idea of them as friends.