Captain America: The First Avenger is next on the superhero movie chopping block, after Thor, X-Men: First Class, and Green Lantern. If there’s a pattern with these films, it’s that they’ve successively made less opening weekend money with each new release. Will Cap continue that pattern, or will it buck expectations?
Marvel provided set visits for Captain America last fall, and Super Hero Hype has a massive interview with the cast – Chris Evans and Hugo Weaving – and producer Kevin Feige. Check out the more interesting excerpts below regarding the plot, the Cap costumes (yes, plural), and the fantastic look of the Red Skull.
First, Kevin Feige discussed how much of the film takes place in the past and in the present:
Kevin Feige: "95% of this movie takes place in the past. The bookends are in the modern day. The very first scene of the film is the discovery in the arctic. If you know anything about Cap, you might know what that discovery is."
On the major differences between Steve Rogers and Red Skull, besides the fact that one has a red skull for a face and one doesn’t. Feige said:
"I think the major difference between Skull and Cap – they've both had the [super soldier] serum, and the serum seems to augment certain qualities that each of them have. Cap is much more in tune with other people, I think. Schmidt is in tune with himself, and his own needs, and his own ego, so I suppose it augments that. From that point of view, they’re quite opposite."
The Red Skull of the comics did not originally have the Super-Soldier Serum – although Skull did, at one point, inhabit the cloned body of Captain America, which gave him the same abilities. However, the Red Skull of the Ultimate Comic books – Ultimate Avengers, to be precise – was affected by the serum, as he was the illegitimate son of Captain America.
When asked about Cap’s “sidekick,” Bucky Barnes (played by Sebastian Stan), and how the filmmakers set his character up for the Winter Soldier storyline rumored to be the basis for the sequel, Feige said:
“[Bucky Barnes is] a main character in the movie. He is [Steve Rogers’] best friend throughout the whole course of the film. We don't do too much, directly, but he's not a 13-year-old camp mascot with a mask, and he does use a sniper rifle occasionally.”
This, too, seems to be a combination of Marvel 616 and Ultimate continuity. In the 616 Marvel Universe, Bucky Barnes was at one point a mere child, a la Robin The Boy Wonder, and then he was retconned to be a teenager. Either way, 616 Bucky did not grow up with Steve Rogers. On the other hand, the Bucky of the Ultimate Universe was Steve Rogers’ best friend growing up.
“Not really, because this is where it all starts. There are a number of things that were retconned over the years, like Howard Stark's participation around [the super-soldier] program that they did in the books, decades later, so it was almost laid out for us. We've tied in Skull's MacGuffin, and given it a cosmic, so to speak, origin, that you don't necessarily learn in this film - but again, most of that is right out of the books. In that sizzle piece we talk about how the movies connect, not that we'll do that in the marketing at all, of the movies, but to retailers, people who think 'Iron Man sold on my toy shelves last year, this is connected to that, this'll sell too. Buy the toys.' I think all the movies will stand on their own.”
On whether or not a Captain America sequel will take place in the past or the present:
“[This movie takes] place over almost three years, two or three years, [and] we don't see everything Cap and Bucky did over that time period. We track his very specific Hydra, Skull-oriented missions over those two-and-a-half, three years, but you'll see many, many gaps that can be filled later, specifically so we can go back and explore [if we want]. I love the way [Ed] Brubaker, the first few pages of one of the comics, will be a World War II adventure, and inform whatever his present day adventure is. I think that could be a fun model if we should be so lucky to do two or three of these.”
On how they decided to approach the look of the costume:
“We wanted to track it - he's had so many cool outfits in the comics of late, like in Ultimates, like in the [Bryan] Hitch run, even the modern day, with straps, with pouches, with things that made it less foam-rubber, spandex of the '90s – taking him through a journey from what establishes the costume in USO, to his very first adventure in it in that Hydra factory, to the final version. He has the assistance of Howard Stark, which allows him to have maybe slightly heightened elements, like the helmet, than would have been appropriate in the period. But Anna [Sheppard] our costume designer did an amazing job of making it feel period. The same with [The Invaders]. We upped them just a little bit, so they weren't just standard soldiers standing next to him, but when there were hordes of other soldiers behind them, it all feels of a period.”
Suit Builder Whitaker Malem said of the costume:
"It’s not like a regular superhero thing where it’s a cast surface. All the work’s right in front of you... it’s from the world of reality in that it’s work wear or military derived, so it’s quite cool, but it’s got a very functional aspect... it’s retro, but slightly futuristic, but also very functional, and I think that this kind of tough fabric, actually a very heavy material helps get over almost like a jeans, work wear vibe to it."
On Chris’ reaction to the costumes, costume designer Anna Sheppard said:
"Chris was pleased with his costumes. After he tried his USO [outfit][ he was very relieved to have something more manly... It looked very different on the mannequin, and putting it on the right body, and right actor really helps. It’s given it life."
On finding the right look for the Red Skull, Prosthetics Designer David White said:
"It took a while to get to what we really needed. I think it was a question of it being a – not an ugly kind of look. It had to be kind of slick and clean, but also menacing. It had to have all these different feels to it, but it didn't need to look gory in a way. It has a kind of clean finish to it, and that in itself, to get together and make sure all the lines were sweet and smooth, without all the wrinkles and too much visceral attention to muscles and veins... it’s more difficult to do a cleaner, smoother look."
On how Hugo Weaving captured the right German accent for the villainous role:
"I listened to a lot of Werner Herzog talking... also Klaus Maria Brandauer. I thought Klaus Maria Brandauer’s accent was probably more interesting in one way, but the more I listened to Werner Herzog, the more I found him amusing. So I sort of started to lean more towards him. There’s something wonderfully mad about him."
The more we see of Captain America: The First Avenger -- especially after yesterday's new trailer -- the more impressive it looks. Are you excited to see this film? Let us know in the comments.
Captain America: The First Avenger hits theaters July 22nd, 2011.
Source: Super Hero Hype
Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.
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