Joe Johnston revealed last month that we'd know who's playing Captain America by March 1st and while that date has come and gone, we've seen a continuous flurry of reports and speculation as to who may get the career-defining role and the 9-picture contract with Marvel Studios.
It started with a large list of Captain America candidates which was quickly narrowed down and now it has grown again with the additions of two well-known young actors. The plan was to go for an American unknown and support him with a cast of stars and veterans but as of today it appears that Marvel and director Joe Johnston may be getting desperate in adding Channing Tatum and Ryan Phillipe to the list.
Before we get into the details, I can speak for us all in saying we're tired of all these Captain America rumors, almost on a day-to-day basis. In a perfect world, they'd choose an unknown who most of us fans can feel good about and after the fact we'd get a nice long list of all those who were also in consideration for the part. Alas, this is not the world we see ourselves in today.
On the flipside of this mess, I imagine those involved in the casting process are partly gauging their decision on the response of fans to each named added to the "contender" list. Maybe we do have some minuscule say in the matter? As an example, we saw John Krasinksi (The Office) go from rumor (almost universally despised at first), to having the part (with people opening up to the idea) to being out of the running. While we have no idea how close he came or how accurate all of the reports were, he's just one in a long list of candidates for the title role in The First Avenger: Captain America.
Earlier today, HitFix picked up the scoop that Ryan Phillippe (Crash, Flags of Our Fathers) had joined the list of contenders vying for the coveted role of Captain America and it was re-confirmed by MTV this afternoon. At the SXSW festival this weekend, Phillippe said the following:
"[I] actually am going in to meet on 'Captain America,' which is kind of cool... After Superman, he was kind of my favorite."
If that wasn't enough, Deadline is reporting their own exclusive today that Channing Tatum has been approached by Marvel but according to Mike Fleming who broke the news, he doubts Tatum would read for the role, that he's too big and bankable for that. I would question this as I don't think he attributed anything to the financial success of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and I wouldn't classify Dear John as making him a bankable star, enough to not need to test for a role like Captain America.
With the news that Marvel is considering bigger name stars such as Tatum and Phillippe (and Chris Evans from a few days ago) two weeks after they thought they'd have their future star pegged, we can assume they're very fearful of making the wrong decision and that they're getting a bit desperate. For me, neither Tatum and Phillippe (who starred together in Stop-Loss) would be good selections and they should stick with their earlier mentality of going with an unknown for the role.
To sum up where we are now with the contenders, here's the current list of top candidates after the likes of John Krasinski and others were knocked out:
- Mike Vogel
- Wilson Bethel
- Garrett Hedlund
- Chris Evans
- Ryan Phillippe
- Channing Tatum
[UPDATE: EW is reporting today (March 16, 2010) that Garrett Hedlund is no longer in the running but that Sebastian Stan from Gossip Girl now is. Marvel is expected to make the big decision soon so stay tuned.]
[UPDATE 2: Chris Evans has been offered the part of Captain America (March 19, 2010) - Still waiting on official from his reps at CAA and Marvel]
[UPDATE 3: Chris Evans IS Captain America! (March 22, 2010)]
I'm a big fan of Chris Evans myself but I'm not sure he's the right guy for this particular role. Then again, it's hard to say any of these guys are. I would have to go with Vogel or Bethel if it's not Evans, although I imagine Disney is interested in having Hedlund take the role to help hype the release of Tron Legacy later this year. It goes without saying that their choice may come down to someone not listed here.
At least we know Hugo Weaving is playing the Red Skull...
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.