Saturday, February 27, 2010

Who Will Wield The Shield?

Comic Book Resources posted this article earlier this week exploring the most valid of the rumored casting choices for the new Cap film, The First Avenger: Captain America. To be perfectly honest with you, I'm not happy with any of these choices. The only one that appeals to me in the least is Scott Porter, the Friday Night Lights actor who claims to be a big comic book fan. It would appear that he actually is a fan, too, in the sense that he reads comics and actually attends cons. Most actors up for a major superhero role will go on the late night circuit and talk about how much they loved Superman as a kid or how many dog eared copies of Captain America they have in their attic, but we all know it's BS. This Porter guy does seem to genuinely enjoy the medium though, so if it must be one of these people, I hope its him.

Anyway, this article got me thinking that I should put together my own list of possible Caps (and a few supporting cast members). Caps that would make me (and I hope a large portion of my readership) happy. I know the argument a lot of people will have with most of these choices is that they're too old, but that's ridiculous. No actor looks old and besides, once you allow someone of true talent to inhabit the role of Steve Rogers, the audience will come along for the ride, regardless whether the actor playing the role is 22 or 35. Hell, if its that big a deal, cast a kid (Justin Timberlake? haha) to play pre-serum Steve Rogers and one of these MEN to play Captain America. I'll stop soapboxing now and get to the good stuff.

Captain America

Jeremy Renner - The star of this year's surprise Oscar darling, The Hurt Locker, Jeremy Renner has been creeping around Hollywood for years. Sure, he's almost 40, but he has a look about him that says grizzled veteran while retaining a youthfulness absent in, well, actual grizzled veterans. Steve Rogers looks like that, especially when illustrated by Tim Sale or Bryan Hitch. Renner has spent most of his years bouncing around television shows and occasionally getting a bit part in some feature film. His turn in The Hurt Locker proves that he can play the inspiring, if not always by the book, style of military leader that many fans think of when they think of Captain America.

Nathan Fillion - The star of Joss Whedon's Firefly, Serenity, and Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog is no stranger to genre filmmaking. For many, he's become the smiling face of unlikely career resurgence. Fillion's square-jawed handsomeness and tongue-in-cheek approach to most of his roles makes him the perfect choice to play a whole host of superheroes. He's also no stranger to playing damaged yet heroic military characters, something he remade his career doing in Firefly/Serenity and continued in the critically acclaimed indie drama, Trucker. Sure, he's not the youngster that they prefer for most of these roles, but let's get past that, yeah? The best superhero movie of all time is Iron Man and its hero is a 44 year old ex-drug addict. Nathan Fillion was born to play superheroes, so maybe its time we let him?

Matt Damon - Since director Joe Johnston wants to cast a relative unknown in the role, asking for someone like Matt Damon is pretty much a pipe dream. While the image of Damon for many fans is probably mired to this day in the skinny, whiney and often times creepy characters he played early in his career (Good Will Hunting, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Dogma), Damon has done an excellent job of recreating himself as a thinking man's action star as his career continues to grow. Damon is very familiar with the pressure involved in taking center stage in a major blockbuster film and he's got more than enough experience playing a badass, take-down-every-sonofabitch-in-the-room-with-nothing-but-a-book solider type, so it's hard to think of someone more perfect for Cap. And you can't argue with the look. Matt Damon has retained his boyish smile and his youthful good looks while aging into a tough, masculine icon more reminiscent of Hollywood stars of old such as Michael Caine or Steve McQueen. In a perfect world, he's the perfect Cap.

Anthony Mackie - Why split up a good team? Anthony Mackie plays the man responsible for keeping Jeremy Renner's bomb specialist from dying horribly in The Hurt Locker. The two share an onscreen chemistry that is hard to ignore, settling perfectly into the subtleties of a friendship born from violence and intense stress. Mackie's performance is incredible and he shows he can more than hold his own playing the role of a combat veteran who would love to forget most of the things he's seen and who respects his duty to his country and his teammates above all else. Sounds a lot like Falcon, right?

Jeffrey Wright - Okay, so he's another guy on this list above the age of 40. So what? Jeffrey Wright looks like Falcon. And here's the thing man. Superheroes, they don't really age. Sound like anybody in our society? Actors. I'm almost 3o and I don't look any younger than Jeffrey Wright. Could he get himself into shape? If he could then he would make the perfect companion to Captain America. And we know he's got the chops. This is James Bond's right hand man after all.

Christoph Waltz - He's done it once already. Christoph Waltz played the cold, ruthless and calculating Nazi headhunter Col. Hans Landa in Quentin Tarantino's WWII actioner, Inglorious Basterds. Say what you will about the film, Waltz's turn as the sophisticated yet brutal Landa is immediately reminiscent of Captain America's greatest foe, the Red Skull. It wouldn't be much of a stretch to see him in this role.

Ralph Fiennes - What was it I said about having done it before? He played an unconcerned concentration camp operator way back in Schindler's List and most recently he's played the role of Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter series. Say what you will about Harry Potter (I could say volumes), but Lord Voldemort is one of the most recognizable villains in the universe these days and Fiennes does an excellent job of bringing him to life on screen. He would bring that same devotion to the Red Skull, perhaps the most frightening and recognizable of all Marvel's villains. And hey, he's no stranger to acting under a ton of prosthetic, right?

I've given you plenty to think about regarding the three main roles. Who else would you like to see here? Do you have any casting choices you'd like to discuss? What about Bucky? Do you guys have any ideas for who should play Cap's sidekick? I love doing stuff like this so I hope you guys get involved. This stuff makes for good discussion.


  1. Mark Valley, currently employed as the Human Target.

  2. Valley certainly looks the part, though I'm not overly convinced of his acting ability yet. I am enjoying Human Target a lot more than I expected to, though.

    I've also wondered if Thomas Jane might be right for the role too, but being in one too many projects about pornography probably hurts ones ability to land roles so heavily aimed at younger audiences.