Following the release of The Avengers this year – with Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 due in 2013 – it appears likely that a second solo venture with Captain America will be the next movie on Marvel Studio’s to-do list. Screenwriting team Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have spent over a year now plugging away at a script for the Cap sequel – and, the most recent word on the project from costar Neal McDonough (Dum Dum Dugan in The First Avenger) was that production would likely begin before 2012 draws to a close.

Hence, the next obvious step for Marvel is to secure a director for Captain America 2. However, you’ll probably be surprised to learn just who is on the shortlist of candidates the studio is said to be eying for the job (right now).

Vulture‘s insiders are saying that Marvel has narrowed down its list of potential Captain America sequel helmers from ten prospects to three (one being a directing duo) – none of whom are the director of the first movie, Joe Johnston. All things considered, though, that’s not too shocking to learn – seeing how Marvel has already set a precedent for recruiting new filmmaking personnel for its comic book movie sequels (see: Iron Man 3, Thor 2).

Here is the shortlist of directors currently being eyed for Captain America 2:

  • F. Gary Gray, a director who’s worked in such genres as stoner comedies (Friday), high-octane capers (The Italian Job), and violent crime thrillers (Law Abiding Citizen).
  • George Nolfi, the co-screenwriter of such films as Ocean’s Twelve and The Bourne Ultimatum, who made his writing/directing debut with last year’s sci-fi romance/thriller The Adjustment Bureau.
  • Anthony and Joseph Russo, the brotherly filmmaking duo behind comedies like Welcome to Collinwood and You, Me and Dupreee. The pair has also served as co-showrunners/writers on Community.

Obviously the Russo siblings stand out as the odd choice of the lot to direct the Captain America sequel. According to Vulture, the pair hit it off well with Marvel head Kevin Feige while meeting about the project. More so, the two are already taking steps to avoid being pigeonholed as comedy directors – by working on the upcoming Ciudad graphic novel adaptation (starring Dwayne Johnson).

That Marvel is looking at either directors with experience working on grittier, modern action-thrillers – or, as is the case with the Russos, directors interested in handling such material – also makes more sense when you remember that the second Captain America movie is expected to be relatively darker than its predecessor (as perhaps best indicated by rumors that the film’s antagonist will be The Winter Soldier).

Markus and McFeely previously revealed that Captain America 2 will take place primarily in a contemporary setting. Hence, the sequel will see Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) continuing to struggle as he navigates his way through an unfamiliar present that’s far less black-and-white than the world he left behind in the early 1940s. In other words, the romanticized, old-fashioned adventure feel that Johnston brought to The First Avenger wouldn’t fit with that comparatively darker setup.

With all that said: Nolfi and Gray in particular read as filmmakers who can bring something worthwhile to the table with the Cap sequel. The former, for example, could do well handling Rogers’ personal journey as someone displaced by time and space from his loved ones – whereas Gray has demonstrated a knack for creating terse character interactions (see: The Negotiator) that would befit a Winter Soldier-centric storyline, on the chance that’s the route Markus and McFeely have gone.

Expect to hear an update on the director situation for Captain America 2 in the near future. In the meantime, be sure to let us know what you think of the proposed candidates so far in the comments section.

Source: Vulture