Cinematographer Pawel Pogorzelski explains how he shot the two Marvel stars for the same cover despite their pandemic separation.

The end of the COVID-19 pandemic is in sight, but it's not quite here yet. So when EW was conceiving ideas for our new digital cover story on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, there was one big problem: Series stars Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie are currently in two different places, which means two different bubbles.

How to bridge the gap? Pawel Pogorzelski, the cinematographer who shot Ari Aster's Hereditary and Midsommar, came up with a concept that would take advantage of their separation and make it look like unity. By combining footage of Stan and Mackie to make it look like they're mirroring and becoming each other, the cover design the emphasizes the stars' roles as dual leads in the new show, as well as their characters' relationship as competing heirs to the Captain America legacy.

Behind the scenes of Sebastian Stan
Credit: TOM JONES for EW

Since Pogorzelski is currently working on the upcoming Mimi Cave-directed film Fresh with Stan, he was able to work with the Winter Soldier actor in person, but had to appear via video chat for Mackie's shoot.

"It was super tricky, but thankfully we were able to do Sebastian's part first and be there in person so we could give him an idea of what it was going to look like in camera," he says. "Then Anthony had that part, so with playback and split-screen I could explain the concept and show him a rough idea of what it was gonna look like."

Before you get worried, rest assured that both shoots were organized according to strict COVID-19 safety protocols. Per Pogorzelski, the crew that worked on Stan's shoot not only wore masks and face shields on set, and only a minimal amount of people were allowed in the studio at one time to maximize airflow — especially when it was time for Stan to be filmed without a mask. Plus, everyone who's already working on Fresh with Stan is already getting tested three times a week.

Behind the scenes of Sebastian Stan
Credit: TOM JONES for EW

But even with these precautions, Pogorzelski says both Stan and Mackie's star personas were able to shine through.

"Working with Sebastian is fun because he's very professional and a very fun guy who wants to try things to make it great," Pogorzelski says. "I saw something about the Avengers movies how when Anthony arrives on set, everything just slows down because he likes talking so much. That was very much the case here, he comes in and chats with everyone. It's so great because you get to just wait and listen to his stories."

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The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
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