Marvel Studios has announced that actor Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones) is going to be joining the cast of Captain America: The First Avenger, adding yet another big name to the cast, alongside recent additions Tommy Lee Jones, Toby Jones (W) and Neal McDonough (Minority Report).

Tucci will be playing Dr. Abraham Erskine, the scientist who runs “Project Rebirth”, the military super-soldier experiment which transforms Steven Rogers (Chris Evans) into Captain America.

Here is the official press release from Marvel Studios:

Marvel Studios announced today that Oscar® nominated actor Stanley Tucci has been cast to star as Dr. Abraham Erskine in the studio’s highly anticipated movie CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER opposite Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, Hugo Weaving, and Hayley Atwell.  In the early comics, Dr. Erskine was a German scientist behind Project Rebirth, the secret experiment that created the Super Soldier known as Captain America.  Joe Johnston will direct the film penned by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely.

Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige will produce CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER.  Alan Fine, Stan Lee, David Maisel and Louis D’Esposito will executive produce.  The film will be released in the US on July 22, 2011 and distributed by Paramount Pictures.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER will focus on the early days of the Marvel Universe when Steve Rogers volunteers to participate in an experimental program that turns him into the Super Soldier known as Captain America.

Tucci’s credits include JULIE & JULIA, Peter Jackson’s THE LOVELY BONES, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, and THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA.  He can next be seen in the upcoming comedy EASY A as well as the upcoming movie musical BURLESQUE.

In addition to CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER, Marvel Studios most recently released the highly anticipated sequel, IRON MAN 2, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow on May 7, 2010, and will release a slate of films based on the Marvel characters including, THOR on May 6, 2011, and MARVEL STUDIOS’ THE AVENGERS on May 4, 2012.

Tucci is represented by CAA.

Ok, so obviously it’s a good thing to have an actor of Tucci’s caliber in Captain America – however, always the Debbie-Downer of this blogosphere, I can’t help but see the downside. And for me, the downside is this:

Captain America seems to be building a cast that is one part rising stars, and one part big name stars (or at least seasoned performers). The main cast is mostly made up of rising stars – Evans as Cap, Hayley Atwell as Cap’s love interest, Sebastian Stan as Bucky, Cap’s sidekick, Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark – while the big names (with the exception of Hugo Weaving playing The Red Skull) are filling out the supporting roles (see my opening paragraph).

The strategy is obvious: surround the young bucks with seasoned vets, thereby achieving two goals: appealing to the younger crowd, while ensuring the older crowd has a few known talented actors to keep them anchored in this comic book world. The problem for me is that when you get guys like Jones (Tommy and Toby), Tucci and McDonough onscreen for minor appearances (and so far, their roles do seem pretty minor) it can end up feeling wasteful. I mean, how many of you reading this feel like Mickey Rourke’s talents were shamefully wasted in Iron Man 2?

It’s a small, petty gripe, I’ll acknowledge that, but it is a valid one as well.

Still, great to hear that Stanley Tucci will be involved with one of the most pivotal moments of Captain America – I trust him to help pull it off the right way.

Captain America: The First Avenger is slated to invade theaters on July 22, 2011.