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Casting Call: Captain America
Calling on all Captain America good and bad guys
By Chad Derdowksi
October 14, 2009
Captain America isn’t due to hit theaters until July 22, 2011, but that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill from churning out a few suggestions for potential shield slingers. It’s likely that there are countless blue eyed, blond haired actors in Hollywood who’ve been practicing throwing a trash can lid in the hopes that they might snag the role of the Star Spangled Avenger. It could be the next big hit for a successful actor or the big break that an up-and-comer is looking for. Either way, being cast as Captain America will ensure an illustrious career of signing autographs at comic cons should their acting career dry up. Who will don the chain mail and feathered mask of Captain America? Today’s list weighs the options of a few of the rumored possibilities and throws our own choices into the hat as well.
It seems like whenever a superhero role is offered, the mention of Nathan Fillion’s name isn’t too far behind. Ever since he played Captain Mal Reynolds in Firefly, Mr. Fillion has had the backing of millions of rabid Joss Whedon fans who have most recently fictionally cast him as Green Lantern. Unfortunately, just because you’re buddies with Joss Whedon doesn’t mean you’re the right man for the role. Let’s face it, browncoats: it might be fun to throw his name in the hat every time a genre flick is announced, but this one’s way out of Fillion’s league.
The dance moves he learned in Step Up 2 prove that he’s an athletic guy and the mixed martial arts skills he picked up while filming Fighting would also come in pretty handy if he were to pick up the shield. Channing Tatum turned in a great performance in Stop-Loss but frankly, we still can’t wash the taste of G.I. Joe: the Rise of Cobra out of our mouths.
While he may have experience as a leader and a Real American Hero, Tatum’s disastrously dull performance as the G.I. Joe team’s field commander will forever taint his career. When one watches a film and honestly thinks “Keanu Reeves could’ve played this part better,” then you know there’s trouble. Thanks, but no thanks, Channing. Maybe you could snag a cameo as Rick Jones in the Avengers’ movie?
Though the former WWE Champion has denied that there’s any shred of truth to the rumor, it still persists, most likely because promoter Vince McMahon would love to see one of his properties attached to such a high-profile movie. We’re fairly certain that if you trace this rumor back to its source, you’ll find a large building with a WWE logo on it.
At any rate, Cena is a big, huge, muscular dude who kind of looks the part. We know he can handle the stunts, he won’t mind wearing tights and he’s used to playing the role of a bigger-than-life hero. But can he act? Well… let’s just say that he hasn’t exactly had what most people would refer to as a “breakthrough” role yet.
There’s a lot of buzz surrounding that Bradley Cooper guy. He had at least something of a built-in fanbase from his days on Alias, but it’s his role in The Hangover that brought him closer to “household name” status. When fans see him as Templeton “Faceman” Peck in the upcoming A-Team movie, the pot may very well runneth over.
As long as he could handle the serious stuff and the ass-kicking, Bradley Cooper might be a good choice to don the star-spangled chain mail as Captain America. His charm and All-American looks could bring in the female fans and make Captain America the date movie.. Because if a dude in a red, white and blue outfit fighting a guy with a rubber skull mask can’t get you laid, nothing will. Right?
Well, the guy has already played one famous Captain troubled by regret, so he’s got that going for him. He’s been in charge of an entire starship full of interesting characters, so he should feel right at home being in charge of a team of superheroes.
But the odds of Captain Kirk playing Captain America seem a little farfetched. He might be fully capable of it, but it isn’t likely we’ll see one actor portraying two icons in one lifetime.
Having played Two Face in The Dark Knight, we know he’s not averse to superhero movies. Having seen his performance as Two Face, we know the guy can act. His portrayal of Harvey Dent had an air of superiority tempered by an extreme likability: Harvey was the kind of guy you would follow into battle, no questions asked. Despite all that, he also came with a lot of emotional baggage. Remind you of anyone?
Eckhart has even stated in the past that if the right script came along, he’d be very interested in playing a superhero. However, looking at the guy doesn’t exactly scream “fresh new recruit.” We need an actor who looks fresh out of boot camp and won’t look like an old man by the time Avengers 3 comes out. No offense, Mr. Eckhart, but you’re not our man.
An actor of Matt Damon’s caliber would bring a lot of respect to a film like this and he’s proven that he’s got the chops to bring a real sense of gravity to the role. He’s talented enough to hang with guys like Downey or Ed Norton and not seem out of place and he’s a big enough name that he wouldn’t seem out of place as their leader either.
Matt Damon has played everything from CIA operatives to a fallen angel to a conjoined twin, but the role we’re looking at closely is that of Jason Bourne. If you’ve seen the Bourne movies, you know that Damon can kick some serious ass. Sure, he might be a little short to play Captain America, but all those guys in the Lord of the Rings movies were too tall to play Hobbits. It’s all about the camera tricks.
The downfall: he’s just too… well, Matt Damon.
The Will Smith rumors were bandied about to much controversy on the internet, but let’s look at the facts: Will Smith brings in a LOT of people. If Will Smith is in a movie, even a movie that is met with critical distain, it still makes a whole lot of money.
Fact #2: Will Smith can act. No, we’re not talking about the happy-go-lucky Will Smith who cracks jokes while punching aliens in the face and plays the same role in every action movie he makes. We’re talking about the Will Smith who was slowly losing his mind in I Am Legend and made us all cry when his dog died. That’s the Will Smith who needs to show up to the Captain America casting call. That’s the Will Smith who could sound off the famous “Avengers Assemble!” rallying cry and send shivers down our spine.
Now, I don’t know if any of you noticed, but Will Smith is a black man. Captain America, as he is traditionally portrayed in the comic books with his sandy blond hair and pale complexion, is anything but. It would be a choice that would likely anger some die-hards and purists, but that kind of controversy (combined with his enormous fan base) might be just the thing that could pack the theaters. On the other hand, the focus of this movie needs to be Captain America; not a bunch of gossip and controversy.
And though we might like the notion of Will Smith in the red, white and blue, the fact remains that if he takes on the role, it will cease to be “Captain America” and will become “Will Smith as Captain America.” There’s a reason why Robert Redford and Paul Newman weren’t chosen to play Superman and that’s it. Smith falls into that same category–he’s just too big of a star.
Our final two choices fall a bit closer to the “unknown” territory. We referenced Superman for a reason. Whoever takes the part has to be 100percent baseball and apple pie and the type of guy who you’d follow into Hell and back because you trust him that much. He has to represent not just America the country, but America the idea. The dream, if you will. With that in mind, here are a couple of choices who aren’t as well known, which might just be exactly what makes them perfect for the part.
The guy definitely looks the part. Anyone who’s watched Battlestar Galactica knows that Jamie isn’t afraid of action scenes or hitting the gym to prepare for a role. Having been on Galactica, he brings with him a lot of geek cred too. He’s not a mega star either, which makes him affordable and ensures that he won’t overshadow the role.
Only one problem… those All-American good looks? Yeah, they’re from the UK. Will American audiences accept a non-American playing the ultimate American icon?
Another Battlestar Galactica alumnus, another non-American. Another dude who totally looks the part and has the chops to pull it off. Another gentleman who brings the geek cred from working with Joss Whedon (as well as video games and Syfy movies).
But he’s Canadian, which is a lot closer to the U.S. than England, so maybe fans would be a little more willing to let him have a shot at the Sentinel of Liberty? Canada is pretty much just the United States, but with prettier money, cleaner air and better healthcare, right? Captain America would be in favor of these things. Let’s give Penikett a shot.
The Rest of the Cast
You can’t make a movie with only one guy, so we figured we’d cast a few of the other major players while we were at it. Since at least part of this movie will take place in World War II, we’re assuming that the bad guys will be of that era as well. Here’s a few of our picks to round out the rest of the cast.
The Red Skull
Like Batman and the Joker, you can’t have Cap without his arch nemesis, the Red Skull. Our top picks for this Nazi no-goodnik include Frank Langella and Christoph Waltz.
First off, Langella works because he’s just plain awesome and with a mask covering his entire face, you couldn’t tell how old he is. Also, he has a history of playing awesome bad guys including Dracula (1979) and another skull faced S.O.B. by the name of Skeletor in 1987’s Masters of the Universe. That’s right, we referenced the He-Man movie and used the word “awesome” in the same sentence. What are you gonna do about it?
Christoph Waltz has already played one hell of a scary Nazi in Inglourious Basterds and yeah, he might be a little too subdued for the role of the maniacal Red Skull, but… he’s just so damn evil!
We’re not even sure if Zemo will be in the movie, but since he’s a classic Cap villain and the guy who sent him into suspended animation, we’re going to include him on the list.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt was one of the few saving graces of the G.I. Joe film. His over-the-top, cartoony Cobra Commander was suitably evil, but still had a sense of fun to it. And if you put him in Zemo’s traditional mask, you wouldn’t be able to tell that he’s only 12 years old.
Willem Dafoe might’ve already played the Green Goblin in those Spider-Man flicks, but once again: Baron Zemo has a mask attached to his head. He can’t take it off. It doesn’t matter if he looks just like Norman Osborn because you can’t see his face!
Hey, if you’re going to have Captain America, you gotta have Bucky, right? Why else would Cap feel sorry for himself after being awoken from a cryogenic snooze after 50+ years? Though Bucky would only be a cameo, he’d be an important one and depending on how many Avengers movies get made, he might pop back up as the Winter Soldier later on.
Emile Hirsch would be our first choice, but after Speed Racer bombed, he’s likely to stick with the indie flicks from here on out, so we’ll have to settle for the next best thing. Shia LaBeouf has been getting on our nerves with his multiple portrayals of stuttering teenagers and lovable Marty McFly clones, but we have to admit that having him play Bucky would be a pretty clever cameo. He’s already played the son of one American icon, why not play the sidekick of another?
And Leonardo DiCaprio would likely command far too high of a price tag for a role as the hero’s buddy, but he’s another great actor and damn if that guy doesn’t still look like a child after all these years… you know, on second thought maybe Bucky shouldn’t be in this movie?
If you’re not gonna use that crazy CGI magic that made Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan look younger in X3 to make Sam Jackson a young Nick Fury, then don’t even bother. Its Sam mother!*&^%-ing Jackson or nobody, mother!&^%-er!
That wraps up our Captain America casting call. Sound off,
Maniacs–who do you think would make a good shield slinger?
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