Like many comic book characters, simply lifting a costume design from the source material into a live-action adaptation may not work or make sense within the context of which the story is taking place. Case in point: The X-Men and the major changes in costume design from books to movies.
That being said, sometimes it can be done right as we saw with Zack Snyder’s Watchmen. But what will director Joe Johnston do to include, introduce and utilize Captain America’s iconic costume design? He does have an idea for how to bring in a character costume that’s designed based on the nation’s flag into the movie but it’s not something we’ve ever encountered in the comics.
LA Times’ Hero Complex interviewed the director yesterday and here’s Joe Johnston’s explanation:
“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.”
He continues to explain how this plot point was obviously never in the books because in the comics it was unneeded and it makes sense for heroes to sport extreme costumes. In a major motion picture, this has to be introduced or explained so it makes sense within the realism of the movie and for the suspension of disbelief of mainstream moviegoers.
“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.”
I know there will be hardcore fans upset at this idea but I can see both sides and understand where Johnston is coming from. They do have to explain why the heck Steve Rogers would wear this thing during the war. However, what the director said later on the subject in detail may concern fans even more.
We know Cap will be a super soldier who they don’t want to waste, so they throw him in the United Services Organizations, the group responsible for entertaining and boosting the morale of soldiers overseas during wartime. This is how he gets the costume, but what we can we expect from his involvement in USO exactly?
“So he’s up on stage doing songs and dances with chorus girls and he can’t wait to get out and really fight. When he does go AWOL, he covers up the suit but then, after a few things happen, he realizes that this uniform allows him to lead. By then, he’s become a star in the public mind and a symbol. The guys get behind him because he embodies something special.”
While the song and dance bit blows my mind, the public fame and acceptance of him as a symbol and leader totally works. Johnston continues,
“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 also confirms that we will see more than one costume in the movie, specifying that during the epic song and dance USO sequences, he’ll be wearing something closer to the classic Jack Kirby design but later, when going all out into war, he sports a costume design that’s more practical, heavier and more muted in colors. An example of a costume change is that the stripes along Captain America’s midsection will be straps instead of colored fabric.
Yesterday, I put up two posts on The First Avenger: Captain America which heavily focused on what’s happening with the casting process. We know thanks to The Wolfman press event Friday that they’re aiming for an unknown actor to play Captain America as Marvel Studios did with Kenneth Branagh’s Thor and that they have to decide by March 1st. From this LA Times interview we know a few more specifics in that they have a final set of candidates and an age-range.
“Well, we’re testing five or six guys… The youngest is 23, the oldest is 32. Most of the guys in the war are just kids, 18 or 19, but we want to go a little bit older. We have to have somebody locked in before I leave March 1 for London.”
Aside from the obvious that this role is extremely important for the future plans of Marvel Studios and their Avengers project, the role is also difficult to cast for the requirements of the story. The character in the movie must go from a “98-pound weakling” to the large buff hero we know him as.
What do you think of Johnston’s ideas?
Iron Man 2 opens May 7, 2010, Thor opens May 5, 2011 , The First Avenger: Captain America hits July 22, 2011 and The Avengers is scheduled to debut May 4, 2012.
Source: Hero Complex
Header image edited from covert art by Travis Charest.
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