As most of you know, I’ve been following the developments surrounding the casting of Captain America pretty closely and was unimpressed with Joe Johnson’s choice of a leading man, Chris Evans. It’s not that I think Evans isn’t a talented actor, quite frankly I think the jury is still out on that one, it’s that I really don’t think he embodies the character of Steve Rogers/Captain America.
But what do I know? I’m not a director or producer. I’m an armchair critic at best, and don’t know jack about casting. These people do, and it’s entirely possible that the professionals saw something that I wouldn’t even be aware of. So, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.
All that being said, I do expect Evans to actually know something about the character he’s going to play as well as the expectations that fans will have of that performance.
Well, it seems he doesn’t. During Wondercon, he spoke at a news conference promoting his new movie, The Losers and was asked about his upcoming role as Steve Rogers:
“I’m not a big comic-book reader . You know what I mean? I don’t really have a history and a love for comics. I didn’t grow up reading them. But they’re fantastic for films.”
Alright, not a big deal, I’m sure he’s doing a lot of research into the role:
“… it’s a fun character. Even if it wasn’t a comic book. I think the story of Steve Rogers is great. He’s a great guy. Even if it was just a script about anybody, I would probably want to do it.”
Oookay? He’s a great guy? He’s a fun character? Is that all Evans can think to say? No mention of sacrifice, integrity, courage or anything else? How much reading did Evans do exactly to come up with such a mind-boggling, expansive observation? That really convinces me that we’ll get an innovative interpretation of the character.
What’s even more discouraging is Evan’s answer to Why Captain America?
“I don’t know. I don’t know. It’s just, … it was, … I don’t know.”
A little later, after his discourse on what a great guy Steve Rogers was, he tried again:
“Anytime I can get in blue tights. … He’s a great character. He’s a great character to play. He just happens to be a comic-book character.”
Alright, THAT’S IT!.
Dude, you are playing one of the most revered characters in modern literature (and yes, I consider comic books literature, get over it). This character has been around for more than 50 years. He’s survived war, assassination attempts, planetary destruction, being encased in an iceberg for crimeney’s sakes AND YOU DON’T KNOW WHY YOU’RE PLAYING HIM? YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT MAKES HIM COMPELLING? YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT IS MOTIVATING YOU TO TAKE ON THE CHARACTER?
Oh, wait a minute, I guess being signed for a 9 movie deal worth millions of dollars would be a great motivating factor. Dollar signs usually are.
I don’t know what the rest of geek-dom thinks about all this, but I’m no longer feeling as optimistic about Captain America or The Avengers movies as a result. Geeks and fanboys/fangirls are a passionate bunch. We don’t necessarily expect the same passion for our favorite characters from the actors portraying them, we do expect them to understand and respect the character. I just don’t get the sense from Evans that he even has that.
If I were Joe Johnson, I would not be happy with my leading man right now.
Here’s hoping that Evans gets a clue, does his job properly, and gets a feel for who Steve Rogers is and what he represents. Baring that, maybe something non-fatal will happen and he has to pull out. That way the fans and Captain America can get an actor who will do the role and the movie justice.