Before the Russo Brothers had to wrangle together a few dozen Marvel heroes for Avengers: Endgame, they had to contend with…the Study Group. The filmmaking duo served as executive producers and directors on the first few seasons of Community, Dan Harmon‘s genre-bending ensemble comedy that ran for six seasons but, tragically, not a movie. As of this month, all of Community is available to stream on Netflix alongside Extraction, the action-thriller produced by the Russos through their AGBO division that debuts April 24. So when Collider’s own Steve Weintraub sat down (digitally) with Joe Russo to talk Extraction, we also asked if all that renewed Netflix interest might finally spark a Community movie after all.
The response? Hopefully optimistic!
“We’d certainly be willing to do it. We love our Community family. That cast, we’re all still very close to all of them. It’d certainly be schedule-depending for us. But I believe there will be a Community movie, especially now that it’s doing so well on streaming. Someone like Netflix could step up and make that movie.”
Russo noted that the beauty of Community is how contained it was, which means a movie could be made for a budget a bit smaller than your average Endgame.
“I don’t think you’d want to see it with a really big budget. Part of what is so compelling about the show is that it’s very quaint, it’s Greendale as an underdog. I don’t think you’d want to suddenly execute it with crazy high production value and set design. Unless we were going somewhere fantastical or doing one of our genre exploration concepts. But I think you’d easily pull that movie off for a budget.”
Community rarely left the confines of Greendale Community College, although it did occasionally transform it into a Wild West paintball shoot-out, a lava-strewn Mad Max dystopia, or a Fincher-style mystery about ass-crack violations. For Russo, playing around in such a small sandbox with such a large cast—and so many genre subversions—was basic training for the large-scale mega-events of the MCU.
Certainly, if you look at the trajectory of our career, you’ll see that we’ve worked with ensembles almost exclusively throughout our career. Eccentric ensembles with diverse characters. From Welcome to Collinwood through Arrested Development and on to Community. Certainly we learned how to tell stories with many characters, an ensemble amount of characters, in a compressed time frame. Sometimes we’d have 20, 30 speaking roles in an episode of Community that’s 21 minutes long. There’s certainly a lot of time spent, and energy spent, training ourselves to do that and doing that in a credible way where the story and characters hold together.
Another thing we learned from working on Community is that we were just constantly exploring and subverting genre. It seemed every week we were chasing up our style and our tone, the look and feel of it, the score, the way the characters behaved. We were able to explore genre on a very deep level. When you’re subverting genre, you’re studying it to such an extent that you’re really understanding the nuances of it. That was critical and certainly the paint ball episodes were a huge part of our Marvel career.