Russo and his older brother grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, attending the private, Roman Catholic Benedictine High School. Despite their scholastic background, the pair were enraptured by movies and comic books at a young age. After making their way through high school and college, the pair attended Case Western Reserve University in the mid-1990s for graduate school studying film. While there, they worked on their comedic debut feature "Pieces" (1997), which co-starred Joe. Financed by student loans and credit cards, they finished the film and took it to the 1997 Slamdance Festival. Celebrated director Steven Soderbergh saw "Pieces" at the festival and followed it up shortly after by calling the duo and asking to produce their next movie. Even George Clooney was involved, as Soderbergh and Clooney's production company Section Eight picked up the rights to "Pieces." For their next movie, Soderbergh at first insisted that they direct someone else's script, but the brothers were adamant about writing and directing their next project, which turned out to be "Welcome to Collinwood" (2002), a caper comedy starring William H. Macy that they toiled on for nearly half a decade. While that movie didn't receive a wide release, it got the attention of FX, leading the brothers to direct the pilot for "Lucky" (2003). However, the show didn't get picked up for a full series, but it still lead to greener pastures for the pair. Ron Howard saw that pilot and hand-picked the Russos to direct the pilot for "Arrested Development," which earned them an Emmy. Together, they directed more than a dozen episodes of the cult series before moving onto a variety of other TV pilots and series, as well as the Owen Wilson-starring "You, Me and Dupree" (2006). Two of those series were the fan favorites "Community" and "Happy Endings" (ABC 2011-13). Shortly after they directed the paintball-themed episode of "Community," Marvel's Feige contacted them, telling the pair that they should be making action movies. Soon, they began working on "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." Even before the film came out, Marvel announced that the Russos were going to return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe to direct the third film in the Captain America series for a 2016 release.