Director Joe Johnston is on a tight schedule at this point when it comes to the casting of the title role in his next movie, The First Avenger: Captain America. Previous reports have stated that he and the folks at Marvel Studios plan to have the role filled by the first of March, with is about a week away at this point. So it makes sense that today we’re seeing the first inklings of casting news from Mike Fleming at Deadline. He’s scored the studio’s short list that includes the names of six actors that Johnston would like to have test for the role.
Some facts though, before I dig into this list and bring down the thunder of my always insightful commentary. Fleming is reporting that the studio is dealing shrewdly with all of these actors, offering a meager $300,000 for the first movie and forcing them into a 9-picture deal that would include sequels, appearances in other Marvel movies and of course, The Avengers. This is great for the studio, and their ability to keep continuity with their Avengers characters, but isn’t quite so awesome for the actors. Then again, they will get paid to play Captain America. They’ll get over it, I’m sure.
Now, on to the list. It is more than full of surprises.
You know him from his work on good television shows such as Gossip Girl, and terrible movies such as The Covenant and The Haunting of Molly Hartley. Crawford certainly has the age and the chiseled All-American white boy chin, but he’s yet to show himself to be more than just a face that can also read dialogue. Steve Rogers isn’t the most charismatic dude in the world, but he is big, tough and grizzly. Crawford is neither big, nor is he tough or grizzly. It would be an interesting fit, at best.
You know Krasinski as Jim Halpert from The Office. He’s great as Jim, completely embodying everything that it means to be the anti-Dwight Schrute and eternal love of Pam, the uber-hot secretary. But he’s also not the rough and tumble type. I get the feeling that they may be looking for a slimmer, less intimidating Steve Rogers so as to make his transformation to Captain America more impressive. But I wonder how they would transform someone like Krasinski into an eternal badass like Cap. There’s not enough CGI technology in James Cameron’s garage to make that one work. I can’t support this choice either, no matter how much I think Krasinski should get more work.
You may know Scott Porter as Nestor in Caprica or as Rex Racer in Speed Racer. He might be one of the better choices on this list, as he’s a relative unknown who’s shown a bit of talent in his limited work. This is, of course, completely disregarding his work in Dear John, Prom Night and Bandslam. Though in fairness, every role he’s had has been relatively limited. He was momentary in Speed Racer and a supporting character in everything else he’s ever done. It leads this writer to believe that there’s something Joe Johnston and the folks at Marvel are seeing in his auditions that we clearly aren’t seeing in his other work. That said, he’s age-appropriate and not so scrawny. He may work.
You may know Mike Vogel from Cloverfield and the upcoming comedy She’s Out of My League. He’s not a bad choice either, and a very unsurprising choice for Marvel and their sugar-daddy Paramount. He’s worked well in the Paramount system since breaking out in Cloverfield and probably still works cheap. On screen, he’s a good-looking, potentially tough guy who could very easily be mistaken for an all-American fighting machine, assuming he gains about 20 pounds of muscle and scowls more. He’s also very charismatic, which can’t exactly hurt in the role of Steve Rogers. There might as well be a little personality under the surface. Vogel is a choice I could certainly live with for Captain America.
If you recognize Cassidy from anywhere, it would be from his stint on The O.C., his role as Grant Gabriel on Smallville or his work as Charlie Hogan on Privileged. Again, another young actor who’s been cutting his teeth on The CW. Perhaps a little pretty and undersized to play Captain America, but you never know. To be completely honest, I’m not all too familiar with Cassidy, so he’s a definite wild card in this group. He seems to fit right in with Chase Crawford though, int he category of face that can read dialogue, rather than actor who can act. Then again, that may not be what Joe Johnston is looking for here. I certainly wouldn’t put it past him.
According to Fleming’s report, Hedlund is also on the studio’s list but has not made the deal to come in an test for the role. This is a bit sad, as Hedlund might be the best possible choice of the bunch. He’s got the grit, got the potential and has shown himself to be able to play one tough mothertrucker – most notably in his role in Death Sentence. If I were Marvel (which I’m not, clearly) I would work to get Hedlund in to test for the role. They may find something in there that works perfectly for their formula – because despite the following he’s gaining online by being cast in films like Tron Legacy, he’s still a relative unknown. And he’s a damn good young actor.
Based on this list, who do you like as Captain America?