Joe Johnston Discusses Shield-Slinging in Captain America: The First Avenger
06.21.11 by BJSprecher
Every notable superhero has some sort of special power, trick or gimmick that sets him or her apart from the rest of the countless comic book characters. Just take a look at the superheroes who have made the leap from the printed page to the big screen in recent years and it's evident that the best ones all have some sort of angle: Wolverine has his adamantium skeleton and razor-sharp claws, Batman has his vast fortune and cave filled with bat-themed gadgets, Iron Man has his fortune and nifty suit of armor, Thor has his godly heritage and mighty hammer, and, the most recent, Green Lantern has his power ring and battery. Marvel Studios' latest comic book superhero heading to the big screen, Captain America (Cap), is no exception.
Cap wasn't born a mutant, a god, or a billionaire, and he wasn't chosen by a dying alien to protect the planet, but what he does have is a nearly indestructible shield that he can sling at his enemies with deadly accuracy. The shield is so important to the character that it was recently the subject of its own featurette — take that Mjolnir (Thor's hammer) — and of an L.A. Times interview with the director of Captain America: The First Avenger, Joe Johnston, who described some of the shield's uses and said that Cap (played by Chris Evans) throwing the shield is so special it had to be reserved for "highlight-reel moments."
The whole thing about throwing the shield was given a lot of thought. And you know he just doesn’t do it a lot in the movie. I’d say maybe four of five times? But when he does, it’s a big deal; he really saves the day. He’s not slinging it around all the time and using it randomly. He throws it when it’s the right thing to do, and those are special moments. We opted to preserve those moment just to make them so special.
If he's not throwing the shield as capriciously as he does in the comic books, then what does Cap use it for? Johnston explained:
He uses the shield a lot for protection, as you would expect, and as a weapon, like a battering ram; he slams it down almost like an ax of sorts, and he uses it as a pry bar. But when he throws it, those are the highlight-reel moments.
Captain America: The First Avenger was written by Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus. The "good guys" cast includes Sebastian Stan as Cap's sidekick, James "Bucky" Barnes; Neal McDonough as Howling Commando Dum Dum Dugan; Hayley Atwell as Cap's love interest, Peggy Carter; Dominic Cooper as Iron Man's dad, Howard Stark and Stanley Tucci as the creator of the "Super Soldier" program, Dr. Abraham Erskine. The "bad guys" are played by Toby Jones as Nazi "mad scientist" Arnim Zola and Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull.