A few weeks ago, the role of Captain America was finally filled with Chris Evans, an actor best known for playing another Marvel character, The Human Torch (via Fantastic Four). This clash of the comics has been a hard pill for some fans to swallow and people wanted to know why the studio chose someone who was already established in another franchise. Director Joe Johnston has finally broken his silence and explained to the folks over at Earth’s Mightiest, that there was a method behind the decision.
Who out there can honestly look at Chris Evans and see Steve Rogers? We’re not talking about the big, buff leader of the Avengers, we mean the 90-something pound man he was before he got juiced with a special serum. That’s a major part of his original story and Johnston does plan on covering it but he’s very vague as to how he’ll pull it off.
“Casting Captain America is really casting two roles…Steve Rogers before and after the transformation from 98 pound weakling to perfect physical specimen. I can’t divulge how we’re going to do it, but the performance will be Chris Evans from beginning to end. An actor playing Captain America has to embody that backstory and let it inform his understanding of his new self. One of the interesting aspects of the character is the effect that kind of total transformation would have on the his psyche. It gives the character more dimension and the actor playing him a wider range of interesting choices.”
I smell CGI partnered with the technology used in Benjamin Button to get the “weakling” look he describes for the beginning of the film. Regarding the actual hiring process of Evans, he didn’t have to audition and the studio didn’t put him through any strenuous meetings. He literally walked in the door, said hello, smiled, and got the part.
According to Johnston, “Chris didn’t audition at all. I was already familiar with everything he’d done and was championing his cause, not that I had a fight from the Marvel team. They were fans of his as well. He came in to the art department to say hi, saw all the jaw-dropping art and designs on the wall and reacted the way I’d hoped he would. It was really his wonderful enthusiasm for everything he saw that cinched the deal. We have some of the best designers and illustrators in the industry working for us and the art is just incredible to wander through. He will bring the perfect balance of dramatic performance and physicality to the role.”
Evans isn’t a horrible actor (we’ve seen worse…Channing Tatum), but it’s going to be really hard to take him seriously as this stand up guy, who’s the leader of a crew of top notch super heroes. The whole time he’s on screen I’ll be waiting for him to crack a joke or do something funny. Hopefully, over time this perception will change because he has some seriously high standards to meet.
What do you think of Joe Johnston’s logic for choosing Chris Evans? Do you think his casting was the right decision?