The Direct was fortunate to be able to sit down with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier 's Indya Bussey, who plays the Flag Smasher character Deedee on the Marvel Studios Disney+ show.
Read on to find out Bussey's thoughts on her working with her fellow Flag Smasher actors, her dreams to appear in future comic book-based projects, and the messages she hopes fans take away from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier .
The Direct: How did you first get in the door with Marvel?
Bussey: "I had not auditioned for Marvel before. This [was] my very first Marvel project. That’s actually the first question I get every time [I do an interview]! I got it through my agency. I’m lucky and blessed enough to have a talent agency, and they’ve really been looking out for me, Houghton Talent really been looking out!”
The Direct: Did you know the project was for Marvel when you auditioned, and how much did you prepare for the role?
Bussey: "I knew who I was playing when I got the role, but before, when I was auditioning, everything was vague - every single thing! They didn’t tell me [to do] too much to get ready for it, I just took it upon myself to do the comic book research. [...] I looked it up, and I found DeeDee when I was doing my research, but I didn’t think it was me, because everything I read I was like ‘that doesn’t sound like who [my character is].’
I would Google, ‘DeeDee Flag Smasher’, ‘Flag Smasher’. I saw the whole comic with the [original] Flag Smasher by himself and then that’s when I noticed it was just him in the comics, and, like, we’re the addition [to the MCU version], like, the big group. That’s why a lot of Deedee, a lot of what you see is very original.”
The Direct: How much of the scripts were you able to see, and how much context were you given when you were filming your various scenes?
Bussey: "Just [as Marvel is] vague with fans and viewers, they’re kind of the same with us! I didn’t get a full script. I got my scenes, and that was that. I wish! Actually, you know what? I don’t even wish I got the full script because I’m so happy to be watching it, all the way through. There were scenes and there were people that I didn’t even know were on set the same time that I was on set, and I’m like ‘this is so cool!’”
The Direct: Were you able to work with any of the show’s lead actors?
Bussey: "They had us on set, and they literally told us ‘you have doubles, but we’ll let you do what you can do [action-wise].’ And I remember specifically being on set for the truck scene, and I was watching Jénel [Stevens, my stunt double], and I was watching all the other doubles, and [I was] like ‘that looks so cool. I wish I had the strength [and] the stamina to do all of that!’ But yeah, most of that was Jénel. Almost all of it; I’m pretty sure 99.9999999% of it was Jénel.”
The Direct: Those who have been following you and the other Flag Smasher actors on Instagram and other social media platforms know that you guys have a lot of great chemistry and camaraderie on and off-screen. Were there any particularly fun or interesting moments working on set with them?
Bussey: "Absolutely. Being on set with them was the highlight of this whole thing for me! Being over in Prague, and being with them. We had a whole surprise birthday for Erin [Kellyman] and it was so much fun because we were close enough to be able to do that, and we spent all night singing throwback songs, and dancing, and eating cake, and having fun. I love them so much. They’re literally a family to me, and the show really wouldn’t be what it is without them.”
The Direct: Is there anything you’d like to see her or the other Flag Smashers do next in the MCU?
Bussey: "I have always wanted to be a Wakandan soldier! I have a secret hope, a secret fantasy that Deedee will somehow turn out to be a [Dora Milaje]. I don’t know how that’ll happen, but I’m hoping the powers that be see that, and are just like, ‘Come on, let’s do it!’”
The Direct: Now that they’ve opened their borders to the rest of the world, maybe the Wakandans will see the value in what the Flag Smashers are working towards and recruit DeeDee into their ranks!
Bussey: "That was also something I was hoping people would take away from [this show]. I was just hoping people would see what [the Flag Smashers are] fighting for and that [they’re] really not trying to hurt anybody . I didn’t want to push Falcon off the semi! He was just in the way!”
The Direct: On a similar note, if you were to be brought into the DC Universe or back into the MCU as another comic book character, who would you like to play?
Bussey: "Honestly, [I'd be grateful for] anything [...] I’m just starting to get [into all of this] because my man, my dad, my brothers, they’re comic book people. This is their lane, so I’m just starting to get into it. But I have recently been keeping up with Michael B. Jordan and his producer credit on Static Shock . I would love to work with him on Static Shock ! That would be so fun!”
The Direct: With you being close to so many comic book fans, what has their reaction to your role on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier been like?
Bussey: "It was wild in our households, to say the least. [...] My dad is up religiously at 3 AM Eastern Standard Time to watch the episodes. Then he sends screenshots of me and he’s like ‘look at you!’ and I’m like ‘Thanks, Dad!’ So they definitely love it.”
The Direct: What was the environment on set like after the break as opposed to before?
Bussey: “It was interesting, to say the least. Nobody really changed, everybody was the same, everybody still talked. Tensions were running high because, we didn’t know what this virus was, but we still [had to] work. Even in Prague, tensions were high. We went right before [the shutdown] and then we went again in October.”
The Direct: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has ended up having a lot of parallels to what has happened in our world this past year, but it was definitely relevant to world issues even before all that. Do you remember having any particular hopes of what viewers would take away from the show before production had to pause and did it change after the world events that happened before you returned to finish filming?
Bussey: "Honestly, the pandemic kind of strengthened what I wanted people to take away from the show. [...] These are relevant themes that are not going away and themes that we have to work towards as a community, and I honestly am so blessed and honored to be a part of a show that’s bringing up these topics to make people talk about it.
I wanted people to pay attention to the Isaiah Bradley thing [and] I wanted people to pay attention to the Flag Smashers, because as small of a role that we seem to be, we’re really not. Nothing at all is small.
What I really wanted people to take from this is [the] villainy is a perspective theme. Are we really villains, or are we humans who are hurt? Because when people are hurt, they do crazy things; nothing is impossible when you’re hurt.”
The Direct: The break was when a lot of the topics and themes being dealt with in the show really moved to the forefront of the cultural conversation. Was there a heavier sense of purpose in telling this story after returning to finish off filming when so many events that closely correlated with the show’s plot had happened in the interim?
Bussey: "For me personally, absolutely, because I believed in this show so much at the beginning, I was just like ‘We gotta get this out. I can’t wait for this message to be heard, and for all of us to be seen because it needs to happen.’ So for me, it definitely picked things up and put that fire into me to really do my part in getting this [show] out.”
The Direct: Were there any conversations about these topics on set, or was it more of an internal feeling for you?
Bussey: "For me, it was more of a sense. We still had our [Flag Smasher] group chat, and so we checked in with each other [and] couldn’t wait to get back on set. But as far as being driven and being more determined, we didn’t really talk that much about it, but it was more of a sense for me. This was already my passion and what I wanted to do. I love telling stories, I feel like it’s my calling to tell stories, so I’m always ready to do that.”
The Direct: I don’t think it’s a secret that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier ’s production company entitled “Pandemic Productions LLC”, and that this title was given to the project before COVID-19 became a concern. Also, there’s been a lot of discussion among Marvel fans and insiders that the show’s story underwent some rewrites after the real pandemic hit the world. To your knowledge, were any of your scenes rewritten or re-shot once the crisis took the world by storm?
Bussey: "That I know of, no. I do remember scenes being added and scenes being taken away, but I mean, that’s also showbiz. I did notice Kari - I love Kari’s direction - she wanted to get everything , she wanted to get every shot, no matter what; every possibility, she wanted to get. [But] to my knowledge, I don’t know.”
The Direct: What are you hoping is the biggest thing viewers take away from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier ?
Bussey: "I hope that we all come together to do better. That’s the base for me because I know there are people doing things separately. And that’s awesome [for people to do their] part separately, but I also think we have to come together as a community and really work together. I do think that’s another theme in Falcon , Bucky and Sam coming together and working together, [and] the Flag Smashers were all different people coming together for the betterment of something.
So I just want people to not look at this as just entertainment and just a TV show, but a message. Like, let’s get going, let’s do better, let’s put people in office who deserve to be in office [and] who are going to actually change things and do what needs to be done."
For more of The Direct's exclusive interview with Bussey, check out her thoughts on whether the Flag Smashers are heroes or villains.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.