The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's Daniel Brühl Came Up With Zemo's Dancing Himself, Thank You

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"I could tell from the reactions that people were really not sure if that was serious or not," says the 'Falcon and the Winter Soldier' star.
Playing a villain isn't easy. That's why Daniel Brühl needed to get himself right when preparing to return to the sinister role of Helmut Zemo in Disney+'s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which meant playing a whole lot of his favorite sport—tennis. He sees it as something that requires the same intricate focus that a character as deliberate and scheming as Zemo needs to have constantly.

"You just depend on yourself, and it's such a good sport to focus, and to be in the zone, and to really concentrate on every single movement you do," he says over Zoom, wearing a brown jacket over a white t-shirt (a decidedly lower-key outfit choice than his on-screen counterpart). "Because the moment you get lazy, the moment you do one tiny thing wrong, you mess it up."

That mentality tracks, considering his character is the guy who, you know, managed to get the Avengers to beat each other up in 2016's Captain America: Civil War using nothing but his own cunning intellect. When Brühl starts talking about the purple mask most commonly associated with Zemo—a character who first showed up in Captain America #168, way back in 1973—a big smile comes across his face, hiding behind his particularly non-Zemo-like mustache.

Marvel Studios

It's been a few years since Marvel Cinematic Universe fans saw Brühl in action as arguably the most formidable human foe the heroes of Disney's ever-expanding multi-billion dollar franchise have ever found themselves up against. And The Falcon and the Winter Soldier changed that in a big way, bringing Zemo back into the fold in the series' third episode, "The Power Broker," as Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) are forced to team up with their former enemy to follow a promising lead.

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Brühl, a two-time Golden Globe nominee, is no stranger to television (he's starred on both seasons of TNT's period mystery The Alienist) or…
Evan Romano
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