Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Captain America,Chris Evans Wins the Role

After nearly two years of speculation, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news on Monday that Chris Evans will be playing Marvel Comics' iconic hero Captain America in the big-screen adaptation.

The movie, titled "The First Avenger: Captain America," was announced in 2008 after Marvel Studio's first production, "Iron Man," became a box-office hit. The names of many actors -- from established stars to mostly unknowns -- have been rumored to be up for the role for months. Action movie veterans Channing Tatum ("G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra") and Garrett Hedlund (the upcoming "Tron Legacy") were reportedly considered, as were TV regulars Chace Crawford ("Gossip Girl") and Scott Porter ("Friday Night Lights"). Even wild-cards like "The Office" funnyman John Krasinski tested for the part.

Chris Evans was a late addition to the roster of potential leads, but he had already established himself as a comic-book hero by playing the Human Torch in the two "Fantastic Four" movies. This goes against director Joe Johnston's stated intention to use an unknown actor for the role. But Evans is an American, which was Johnston's other requirement (and left out foreigners like Australian "Avatar" star Sam Worthington).

Finding the right actor to play Captain America has been pivotal for Marvel Studios because they have grander plans for the character beyond the one film. According to Johnston, "The First Avenger" is an origin story set predominantly during the 1940s, when the red-white-and-blue suited hero first appeared in comics. But the movie will also set up "The Avengers" -- based on Marvel's long-running team series -- where Captain America will lead a group of superheroes that will include Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man.

While fans of the comics have expressed their doubts at some of the candidates for the role, response to Evans has been uniformly positive. His performance as Johnny Storm in "Fantastic Four" and "Rise of the Silver Surfer" were widely considered to be the best parts of those movies. It's been said that Evans will sign a nine-picture contract that could see him appear as Captain America in multiple films, both on his own and with the Avengers.

Production on "The First Avenger" will begin in the U.K. in June. Hugo Weaving ("The Matrix") is in talks to play Captain America's nemesis, the Red Skull. It is the third movie in Marvel Studio's pipeline, following "Iron Man 2," which is coming to theaters on May 7th of this year, and "Thor," currently filming for a May 2011 release. "Captain America" is scheduled to open on July 22, 2011.

In the meantime, Chris Evans has two films set to open this year, both of which also happen to be based on comic books. Next month, he'll play a Special Forces operative in the adaptation of Vertigo Comics' "The Losers." Then in August he will appear in "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," based on the graphic novel series.

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