Chris Evans will reportedly carry Captain America’s shield

March 23, 2010 | 7:42 p.m.

Chris Evans

Over at the Heat Vision blog, our distinguished competition anchored at the Hollywood Reporter, there was a major scoop Monday as Borys Kit reported that the casting scramble for “The First Avenger: Captain America” is officially over. That role of the greatest patriotic superhero belongs to Chris Evans, a fellow with previous experience in the Marvel universe.

Here’s an excerpt from Heat Vision:

Sources tell us the actor has not only accepted Marvel’s offer, first detailed on Friday, but that the dealmaking moved so fast it’s now all about dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s.

Marvel would not comment on the development, and CAA, which reps the actor, declined comment.

Evans was offered the role in Marvel Studios’ production last week, but there was some question of whether he would accept. Factoring in to the choice was the fact that Evans played Johnny Storm, the flame-covered superhero known as the Human Torch in Fox’s “Fantastic Four” movies. 

The Fantastic Four films may reside in the Marvel universe in the minds of fans, but, of course, as a Fox enterprise, it’s separate and distinct from the Marvel Studios continuity. Same goes for Sony’s “Spider-Man” films and Fox’s “X-Men” movies.

More interesting, to me, is the test ahead for Evans, who will have to tap a different side of his acting craft to play the intensely earnest, dedicated and wholesome Steve Rogers without letting the character drift into two-dimensional cornball. The “Fantastic Four” films were awful (especially the first one), but Evans did have a spark as the self-absorbed wiseguy in the group. It’s a far tougher challenge to play an un-ironic hero in a period piece.

Avengers 4

I remember talking to Gabriel Macht, who portrayed the title role in “The Spirit,” rooted in another 1940s-era creation, and he moaned about the vintage dialogue and retro sensibility of a square-jawed hero who was plucked from the era of serials and dropped into a CG age. “You say it as honest as you can,” he said with a tight smile. Well, we all know how that turned out.

“Captain America” is being directed by Joe Johnston, and when I spoke to him a few weeks ago, he said one of the big challenges of the project was finding an actor who could present two physiques on screen — the “98-pound weakling” look of Steve Rogers and then the ripped-muscle frame of his heroic alter ego after receiving a dose of the ultimate performance-enhancing drug. Evans will be tested by that body-shaping, but also by the need to win the hearts and minds of 21st century movie-goers with an FDR-era champion; that will be especially interesting to watch as the movie ventures overseas, where the name of the film might smack of jingoism.

I hope the film does well. I think the maverick candor of Johnston is a breath of fresh air in Hollywood, and Evans (much like Chris Pine of “Star Trek“) has a sly intellect at play behind his eyes that makes him fun to watch on the screen, even in those creaky “Fantastic Four” films. If the actor pulls off this double-duty in the Marvel universe on film, maybe he’ll get a new nickname — the torch of freedom. If he doesn’t pull it off? Well, a demoted Captain America film will severely undermine Marvel’s audacious plan to bring together all their franchise heroes for the Avengers movie.

— Geoff Boucher


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6 Responses to Chris Evans will reportedly carry Captain America’s shield

  1. geoff boucher says:

    Bill I don't think anyone expects there to be a third F.F. movie with the same cast and continuity.

  2. Bill says:

    I'm not sure about this casting. It seems a waste to recycle someone as opposed to getting a fresh face. Plus what happens if they try to keep making FF4 movies? Having one actor play two heroes in the Marvelverse is confusing, even if the films are held by separate companies.

  3. This sucks. C'mon Marvey, what about Brad Pitt, Mark Valley, Jason Lewis, or Mike Rowe? I guess I'm happy it's not the guy from G.I. Joe, but Chris Evans? Really? Can this guy even ACT? Does his resume have any character descriptions that don't include the word "wisecracking"?
    And what is he doing in this photo? I said STEVE ROGERS, NOT MISTER ROGERS!

  4. Brett says:

    Several points:
    The Fantastic Four movies were NOT awful. The scripts were weak, but the performances (yes, even Jessica Alba's) were good. (Oh, and if they ever do another FF movie over at Fox, conventional wisdom has already indicated that it would be a re-boot with a different cast and director, so no worries about Evans having to pull double duty as Johnny Storm and Steve Rogers.)
    Chris Evans can play serious. Watch a couple of non-genre movies every once in a while; you might catch some of these actors in roles in which they display some range.
    Comparing what Evans has to do in "Captain America" with what poor Gabriel Macht had to do in "The Spirit" makes no sense. Gabriel Macht didn't play Will Eisner's character; he played the bastard love-child of that character and "The Dark Knight" from "The Dark Knight Returns." In other words, Macht had to deliver terrible film noir cliche lines written by Frank Miller, who, for some reason, is just fine with his own material (like "Sin City" and "300") but who was absolutely awful at writing and directing someone else's material. Yes, Evans has to be somewhat straight-laced in a "Cap" movie, but let's not forget that the first movie is meant to be the origin story. Steve Rogers grows into Cap with experience.
    If this wasn't the origin story and if we were filming modern day Cap, or even Cap 10 years after being revived from suspended animation, then Ambrose's suggestions about Pitt or Valley might make sense. However, when the studio casts this role, they are looking ahead to the possibility of a franchise, and let's face it, Pitt and Valley would be too old to play Cap by the time the first movie gets released in theaters.

  5. Chris says:

    the problem with this casting is: this guy is gonna bring some of the bad taste (and acting) from f.f. with him. and when cap is grown he has a nice Americana about him and maturity i just can't see this dude pulling off… brad pitt would have been a great choice as he does not suck and has done some action movies and creates a better belief system.
    then the peeps at marvel were never too bright, it's their comic staff that are the real heros. the movie staff sure can unbalance everything about a comic hero…

  6. Sean Chen says:

    Daddy, why did the Human Torch stop being the Human Torch and turn into Captain America?
    Isn't it better to fly and burn things than carry a shield around in a funny looking costume?
    Why don't they call him "Flag Man"?

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