Joe Johnston Discusses Captain America Casting and Reveals Costume and Plot Details
Posted 02.07.10 by BrentJS
Director Joe Johnston recently said that he was ready to put his latest movie, Universal's The Wolfman, behind him and focus on his "next job," directing Marvel Studios' The First Avenger: Captain America, and that seems to be exactly what he is doing. While he has been making the prerequisite press rounds in support of The Wolfman, he seems to be talking far more about the upcoming adventures of the "Star-Spangled Avenger" than about the Universal update.
Last month, Johnston spoke at length about what interests him about the character and discussed the basic plot of the movie. In the past week, Johnston has updated the movie to "in prep" and said that casting of the lead role will happen "soon." Now, Johnston has divulged even more information pertaining to casting the lead role of Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (Cap), discussed his depiction of Cap's iconic costume and revealed what villain will be working to foil the hero.
At least a portion of The First Avenger: Captain America will be set in WWII Europe, so Johnson admitted to the L.A. Times that it was necessary to come up with a reality-based reason why Cap would be running around a battlefield sporting a brightly-colored flag costume.
The costume is a flag, but the way we're getting around that is we have Steve Rogers forced into the USO circuit. After he's made into this super-soldier, they decide they can't send him into combat and risk him getting killed. He's the only one and they can't make more. So they say, "You're going to be in this USO show" and they give him a flag suit. He can't wait to get out of it.
It was never in the comics because they didn't really need it. In comics, he puts on the costume and the reader just justifies because of the nature of the medium.
Johnston also said that the USO costume will not be the only costume that Cap dons during the course of the movie.
In the first USO sequences, the frustrated patriot will be wearing a version that is closer to the classic Jack Kirby-designed costume, but then later as the super-soldier hits the war zone he will be wearing a sturdier, more muted version that he makes himself that is more like battle togs. The stripes across his mid-section, for instance, will be straps, not colored fabric.
He realizes the value of the uniform symbols but he modifies his suit and adds some armor, it will be closer to the Cap costume in some of the comics in more recent years... this approach, it's the only way we could justify ever seeing him on a screen in tights, with the funny boots and everything. The government essentially puts him up there as a living comic-book character and he rips it off and then reclaims some of its imagery after he recognizes the value of it. We think it's the best way to keep the costume and explain it at the same time.
Johnston went on to tell the Times that he was currently "testing five or six guys" between the ages of 23 and 32 for the lead role and that he had to "have somebody locked in before I leave March 1 for London." At a recent press junket for The Wolfman, Johnston elaborated on the casting further, saying that he didn't think he could make the movie "without an American playing the part" and that he was "looking for a complete unknown." Johnston also said that the movie would be shot in HD, which could be converted to 3-D, if the studio decides to go in that direction.
We're not going to be shooting it specifically to be 3D, but this is the first film I will have shot in high def and I think it's one of the first's Shelly [Johnson, cinematographer] will shoot in high def too, [so] it'll be a new experience for both of us. And it gives you a lot of flexibility in post, which I learned from [editor] Walter Murch ... when you shoot a movie in high def if you want to zoom in 200% you can. But in film you can only go 15 or 20% at most before you start seeing grain and degradation. In high def you can basically reshoot the film in post — if you want to — so I'm looking forward to trying that.
Last, but not least, AICN and ComingSoon both report that Johnston has revealed the villain of the movie to be Cap's perpetual comic book nemesis, the Red Skull.
The First Avenger: Captain America is currently scheduled to begin production in June, with a release date of July 22, 2011.
Next Showing: The Wolfman
opens February 12, 2010