The rumors are still fresh naming Mary Elizabeth Winstead as one of Marvel’s top choices to play S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Sharon Carter (AKA Agent 13) in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but it’s not the first time she’s been on Marvel’s radar. After being one of the few young actresses in the running for Nick Fury’s second-in-command Maria Hill, Winstead has spoken about what might have been, and why it never came to pass.

The role eventually went to Cobie Smulders, but in the intervening years, Winstead has amassed an interesting mix of big-budget and indie films. While the idea of signing on to a multi-picture deal (which would certainly be the case if cast as Agent 13) isn’t what fuels her choice of roles, the right director or writer could change all that.

Speaking to MovieLine about her role in the Sundance sensation Smashed, Winstead was asked about the number of blockbuster franchises to which she has apparently been attached. Her comments show that while hordes of young actors and actresses may be lining up to snag a role in any upcoming Marvel film, fame and red carpets aren’t everything:

“Yeah, I mean, it’s funny, because some of those roles — well, the majority of them, I was just plain passed over for them [Laughs] — but some of them I actually chose not to do as well because I don’t really just want to be the blockbuster star, and I don’t necessarily want to sign onto seven films in a role that I’m not really passionate about. That’s actually happened several times as well, where in the news it sort of seems like, ‘Oh, she lost the part,’ but in reality, it just falls apart in the negotiation process and you realize that this isn’t really something I’m passionate enough about to agree to ‘X, X, and X,’ and sign the contract on. [Laughs]

“So that’s happened a bunch, too. Because I do really want to do films like this. That’s the majority of stuff I want to do. But unfortunately, you don’t get paid to do films like this! [Laughs] You get enough to go to a nice dinner. That’s basically the money that you get paid. So you do have to think about your career and making a living and how you’re going to do that.”

Those aren’t exactly the kind of sentiments that comic book fans will love to hear, especially up against actors and actresses who at times appear willing to do anything to join the current roster of Marvel’s heroes, both human and alien. Some might think that her comments make an appearance in Captain America 2 extremely unlikely, if not flat-out debunked.

But her interest in roles that tell strong stories – while still paying the bills – doesn’t automatically rule out a Marvel gig. It’s even more likely, now that Marvel’s put Joss Whedon in charge of their universe:

“Going forward, I would love to work with directors like Rian Johnson and Joss Whedon; people like that who are doing big films but do have really independent voices. That’s kind of what I want to focus on, is always working with people with at least an independent point of view, even if it’s not an independent film.”

Winstead’s comments show how far a great director can go in drawing top talent. Joss Whedon’s track record is sure to attract talent with serious nerd credentials, and his history of writing strong female roles could work wonders in convincing actresses that ‘superhero movies’ can actually be socially relevant.

Whedon won’t be directing any other Marvel films besides Avengers 2 (at this point), but his role as overseer of Marvel’s ‘Phase Two’ means that a bad story or insulting female role isn’t likely to be found. Should Winstead, or any other actors and actresses for that matter, have doubts about putting on spandex or armor and pretending to fly, a sit-down with Joss Whedon could go a long way.

We’ll see if Winstead can be convinced to take on larger projects starting with The Winter Soldier, but if she doesn’t, there are plenty more willing to take the role.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier releases on April 4th, 2014.

Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: Movie Line