During the days leading up to the release of his latest movie, Universal's The Wolfman, now in theaters, director Joe Johnston spoke several times about the casting, plot, and characters of his next movie, Marvel Studios' The First Avenger: Captain America. In one interview with the L. A. Times, Johnston divulged that he needed to have the title role cast by March 1st and that he was "testing five or six guys" between the ages of 23 and 32 for the part.
Subsequent to Johnston's comments, articles and blogs speculating on the casting of Captain America (Cap) have proliferated online. One early rumor that spread like wildfire and quickly became misinterpreted was a blog on the entertainment site BigShinyRobot that claimed an anonymous studio source had confirmed that a number of television actors had been called in to read for the part.
According to MY studio guy, the rumors about Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill), Ryan McPartlin (Chuck), Jensen Ackles (Supernatural), and other unknowns/television actors reading for Cap are true.
Many blogs (and even a few news sites) took the admittedly unverified rumor to not only be true, but to represent the studio's "top three choices" for the role, prompting BigShinyRobot to add an update to the original blog to address the issue.
Now, another Cap casting rumor is causing a stir online. CinemaSpy posted the following excerpt of an email from a "tipster" claiming to be "well-connected" at Paramount that pins an actor already famous for playing a "Captain" on screen as Marvel Studios' top pick for Cap:
Anyway, just thought you guys might like to know that Paramount and Marvel are pretty close to closing a deal on casting Steve Rogers/Captain America and fans might be excited to learn that the short list includes somebody a lot of fans speculated about, Chris Pine. From what I'm hearing, he's the frontrunner right now, though that could change. Can't tell you who the other couple of choices are, cause that'll work against me for reasons I don't want to get into.
The first rumor may turn out to be true after all since McPartlin recently confirmed to Moviehole that he and "many other actors" were called in to read for the part. But, Captain Kirk in J.J. Abrams' revamped Star Trek as Captain America? That seems highly unlikely for a couple of reasons.
First, logistically speaking, Pine would have a difficult time committing to the kind of multi-picture deal that Marvel Studios would require him to sign when he's already locked into a multi-picture deal with Paramount for more Star Trek movies and to headline a reboot of its Tom Clancy franchise as the new Jack Ryan. In addition to The First Avenger, the actor chosen to play Captain America may also have to be available to cameo in one or more of Marvel's other superhero movies in development and will certainly have a major role in The Avengers in 2012.
Secondly, in an interview with Collider, Johnston said that he was "looking for a complete unknown" for the lead role.
I hope it'll be somebody we discover and whose never been in ... well, he's probably been in something ... you won't know who he is or recognize him. We'll surround him with more prominent names. That's who we're looking for.
Johnston's comment doesn't preclude the aforementioned TV actors from being considered, but it certainly implies that Chris Pine would not qualify for the part considering the success of Star Trek. Stay tuned: With Johnston's March 1st deadline fast approaching, a casting announcement should be imminent.