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Exclusive Interview: Director Joe Johnston Talks the Casting of Chris Evans as Captain America

Amidst the chaos that is production on any feature film, First Avenger: Captain America director Joe Johnston has taken a few minutes to answer a pair of questions on the casting of Steve Rogers/Captain America.
Interview conducted by & copyright 2010 Edward Gross

EARTHS MIGHTIEST: When you were going through the casting process, in your mind, what were you looking for? In other words, what qualities did the actor being cast as Captain America have to have?

JOE JOHNSTON: 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.

EARTHS MIGHTIEST: In the end, Chris Evans was chosen. How did he present himself in that audition that made you feel that he was right for the part?

JOE 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.


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16 Yes
8 No
EdGross
4/12/2010

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38 Comments

I am so glad they are not going to try to use someone else for pre-serum Steve Rogers. It is amazing that with all the supposed auditions, including 2nd & 3rd call backs, Evans just walks in and gets it.
DogsOfWar - 4/12/2010, 7:35 PM
So did they know who was getting the part amidst all of the Krazinski crap then?
Cassidy - 4/12/2010, 8:12 PM
DOGS- LOL! agreed! after all that rumor crap EVENS
just waltzed in there and..WHAM! he is CAP!
and thank god..in is NOT Shrek..I mean Krazinski.

PeterParker420 - 4/12/2010, 8:25 PM
I feel reasonably confident that Evans is going to pull this off. And Johnston really does have a grasp of this era, what with Rocketeer and October Sky.
EdGross - 4/12/2010, 8:29 PM
Honestly had it been anyone else. I'd of been pretty pissed about how easy he got the role. But looking at Chris' more serious movies, his views on comic book movies (and movies in general) and the way he's handling the Captain America casting, he seems like a pretty smart and chill guy. You can already see he's taking the role very seriously. I think he'll be able to pull it off.
ReillyParker - 4/12/2010, 8:46 PM
"So did they know who was getting the part amidst all of the Krazinski crap then?"

It seems Johnston knew.
Phinehas - 4/12/2010, 8:51 PM
Hard to say. I'm sure that there were a number of people on different sides of the production who had their own ideas on who should be Cap, but those choices were gradually narrowed down. It's not hard to imagine that after they'd seen everyone, Chris Evans just felt right.

I've spoken to many directors and casting directors who have said that when a certain person walked into the room, they instinctively KNEW they had found the right person for the job.
EdGross - 4/12/2010, 8:55 PM
ED- AWESOME SCOOP!..HOW do you get these exclusives?
do you just call him up or go through his PR or
something?
PeterParker420 - 4/12/2010, 9:00 PM
A lot of it is based on the fact that I've been doing this for 25 years, and after that amount of time you make pretty good connections with people.
EdGross - 4/12/2010, 9:07 PM
Ed - Great job. It's good to know Office boy wasn't really in the running
THESWOF - 4/12/2010, 9:24 PM
Chris Evans is going to destroy this role and this movie. Walk in and get a job without even a audition from a SUB PAR actor is [FRICKING]!!!!! ridiculous.

... by the way nice job Ed. Keep up the hard work.
Venom - 4/12/2010, 9:26 PM
Thanks for the compliments.

Maybe I'm in the minority, but I really get a sense of charisma from Chris Evans that I think is going to translate well for Captain America.
EdGross - 4/12/2010, 9:36 PM
I wouldn't have as much a problem if I knew he read for the role and actually won it. But not even to audition gives me no hope. It also reduces my faith in Marvel and Johnston as a director(which I don't like Johnston for this film) But Given his past work I am not impressed. I would have felt better not knowing he didn't read for it. They could have at least lied us about it. Its not like they are taking fans into consideration with this casting anyway.
Venom - 4/12/2010, 9:57 PM
I totally agree..even though I am going to se THE LOSERS
and he is a different character. than CAP of coursee,
But I want to see what else he brings to the table, I really oly know him from FF I want to see his ACTING abilities strech. I think he is a great fit for CAP,
and not the obvious choice of actors..and that is aGOOD thing!
PeterParker420 - 4/12/2010, 10:00 PM
Great scoop..keep em coming...
SHHH - 4/12/2010, 10:19 PM
Good stuff, ed. first time on this site, i like what i see.
Valeriesghost - 4/12/2010, 10:47 PM
VAL @ I'm stalking you! : P

Heh heh.

Awesome stuff @ ED!
777LEEE - 4/12/2010, 10:51 PM
VENOM @ All i'll say is all i see is JOHNNY STORM, but oh well lol, he better do a great job! : P
777LEEE - 4/12/2010, 10:52 PM
@777LEEE: If Chris Evans surprises you will you use him for your avatar for a week?? :}
SHHH - 4/12/2010, 11:05 PM
I posted something similar over at CBM, but I think Marvel has earned our trust with Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt until we see the results of their choice. Just an opinion.

And Valeriesghost, glad to have you. I hope you'll poke around and help spread the word about the site.
EdGross - 4/13/2010, 3:42 AM
Great stuff Ed......Keep up the good work but where's the boobs!?! :P
teabag - 4/13/2010, 4:12 AM
Good stuff Ed! Oh and AMAZING Cap logo up top!!! That kicks ass :))
Shaman - 4/13/2010, 6:55 AM
I'm not half as worried about Evans as I am about Johnston.
Cassidy - 4/13/2010, 7:00 AM
Awesome work Ed!
Thanks for this!

@SHHH
Im with you on that man!!

@777LEEE
Get ready dude! ;)
wolverinept - 4/13/2010, 7:33 AM
Pretty sweet scoop Mr. Gross. This is my 1st time here as well. I am very excited about this movie! Despite 2 solid Marvel movies already released, (and very likely 3, come May & Thor is probably going to surprise people as well!) I feel that The First Avenger: Captain America is THE most important to get right to facilitate an Avengers flick. I am a fan of Chris Evans and for the most part am pleased that he landed the role...although I must admit the fact that he didn't read for it does kinda put me off a bit. Personally, I was pulling for Garrett Hedlund, but evidently he didn't take too kindly to Marvel's practice of lowballing their offers. I'm sure Evans will do Cap justice though...much like Robert Downey Jr. owned the role of Tony Stark. Only time will tell.
Triad - 4/13/2010, 7:52 AM
Hey Triad and anyone else who may be here for the first time. I hope you like what we're trying to build here.

I really do believe that Evans will do a good job, and I'm convinced that Joe Johnston is the right man to direct this film. I've said it in other posts, but when you look at his work taking place in bygone era (Rocketeer, October Sky), he's done a great job. He also did Jurassic Park 3, which in my opinion far-surpassed the Spielberg-directed second film and made what seemed like a pretty pedestrian plot -- people come to island, dinosaurs pursue people and eat many of them, those who aren't eaten leave island -- and made it exciting.
EdGross - 4/13/2010, 8:18 AM
Totally agree with you about The Rocketeer & October Sky (both are EXCELLENT films & TFA:CA would do well to be in the same style), but Jurassic Park 3? Granted, he did what he could with a sub-par script...I guess you can't really fault the director when that is what he had to work with. Also, I really liked his 2004 movie Hidalgo. It kinda had a certain Raiders of the Lost Ark vibe going for it.
Triad - 4/13/2010, 9:10 AM
@Ed-I don't think your in the minority here. Most of the feedback I've read about this casting choice has been pretty positive. I, for one, think Chris Evans is going to own this role.

p.s. It's nice to see more people making the jump over from CBM. This site rules! Keep up the good work, Ed! I'll keep spreading the word.
MatchesMalone - 4/13/2010, 9:16 AM
Thanks, MatchesMalone. It's REALLY appreciated. The people working with me to post stories are really busting their butts to make this site stand out, and the real challenge has been getting people to just check us out and, hopefully, stick around. So, yes, please do spread the word.

What's amusing to me is that people on other sites who are picking up this story, seem outraged that Chris Evans didn't have to audition. IGN has an interview in which Evans himself talks about this, so it's not exactly the shocking news they're making it out to be.
EdGross - 4/13/2010, 9:23 AM
i dont understand, whats so shocking about it? i mean, marvel knew evans already and Johnston said that he "was championing his cause"!!
Just let it go already!!
wolverinept - 4/13/2010, 10:34 AM
Because Evans sucks. That's why its "Shocking" I really don't under stand why everyone is drinking the Chris Evans Cool Aid I really don't get it. Like I said before Ill say it again. Back at CBM I have not seen ONE SINGLE campaign for this guy at all. Not one mention of his name not even a crazed fan say I want Chris Evans for Cap. And out of the blue no audition and he gets it. No everyone is jumping on this dudes bandwagon. In sports thats called being a fair weather fan. Same concept still applies to what a bunch of people are doing. Marvel did what two good movies out of how many? And really was that marvel or was that jon faveru/ RDJ LL/Ed Norton thats not a long enough track record at all for me to be positive about this.
Venom - 4/13/2010, 1:42 PM
@ Leee777 Sweet! I've never had an international stalker before, just your average Pacific Northwest stalkers. I'm moving up in the world ;0)
Valeriesghost - 4/13/2010, 1:49 PM
Terrible casting. Period.

We can ignore the fact that he's already played a marvel hero in two other films and go from here; The casting is lazy, cheap, and was NEVER intended to be taken seriously. Two words: Chaning, Tatum. How could this guy (and a few teeny bopper TV show dudes) be in the running for the part if they meant to take the film seriously? It's so sloppy that they made Buckey out of one of the turds that was up for Cap. How is that even possible? I don't remember Buckey having 5'o clock shadow.

There is no LOGICAL reasoning why ANYONE would think Evans is good for the part. He is known for being a clown and can't be taken seriously as Captain America: leader of the Avengers? The thought of him standing in the same room with Downy, Jackson and Norton is ridiculous, let alone as a LEADER. The guy they got for Thor is lesser known and even HIS presense will tower over Evans (HE would have made a good Cap strangely enough).

This is whats going to happen; The film will be a cheap release as we can see by the casting, Evans will fail at commanding a strong presense which will make the film unintentionally funny, the films gross will be weak, then the studios will wish they could reboot Captain America before the initial debacle can destroy the Avengers which will be way too late. They're only hope, which will be a desperate one after all the artificial hype; Cap will be recast. And everyone who said this was the greatest idea in the world will get new usernames on various sites and start posting that the new actor is the best idea in the world.
NeoBaggins - 4/14/2010, 9:16 PM
@ NeoBaggins AMEN BROTHER!
Venom - 4/14/2010, 9:32 PM
@NeoBaggins: Totally agree with EVERYTHING you said. Evans is NOT Cap in anyway, shape, or form. I dont get anyone agreeing with this choice. Not a true CA fan at least.

silverliberty - 4/16/2010, 9:31 PM
NeoBaggins has hit the nail on the head, period. Chris Evans is a bad choice, in my opinion. Has anyone else seen the other movies he has been in?? People, Captain America is an a$$ kicking super-soldier who commanded troops in WWII and now leads the Avengers. I cannot see Evans believably pulling this off. He just doesn't have the command presence to be Cap. Marvel has made a poor choice my friends. I, like many Cap fans, have been waiting for a day that a great Captain America movie would be made and I feel we are going to be let down once again (1st Cap movie).
ssgjw - 4/17/2010, 6:19 AM
I am also a first timer here, and i thought i might put in my two cents as well. (speaking of which, great job, Ed. keep it up, for all of us.)

I seem to recall a similar argument to this being made about Michael Keaton playing Batman back in 1989, or about Heath Ledger taking on the role of The Joker somewhat recently. Now, I am not, be any means a Chris Evans FAN of any sort, but I also don't see any reason why he couldn't pull off the role of Cap. Sure, the guy seems like he goofs off a lot, but some times you just gotta give some of these actors a chance to make their mark. Is it going to be hard for me to watch Johnny Storm try to pull off Steve Rogers, much less try to fill Cap's boots? Absolutely. Is it possible that he's going to screw up royally and be the laughing stock of even the LAST actor to portray the live action Cap, Matt Salinger? You bet. But there's no point in trying to say "he's gonna suck" now, just so later you can say "I told you so". I bet almost every one of us who have posted something on here about this interview will be going to see this movie while it's in theaters, and we can all decide then on whether Evans makes or breaks Cap.

Or maybe he really will suck, and then the Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool movie will be TONS better than Evans' Cap, and Then I will realize I typed up this post all for nothing. All I'm trying to say is, let flame brain do his best first, and if he screws up, THEN crucify him. If that happens, I'll be right there with you, telling him that I wasted my time defending him.
Mumu - 4/17/2010, 11:17 PM
I am also a first timer here, and i thought i might put in my two cents as well. (speaking of which, great job, Ed. keep it up, for all of us.)

I seem to recall a similar argument to this being made about Michael Keaton playing Batman back in 1989, or about Heath Ledger taking on the role of The Joker somewhat recently. Now, I am not, be any means a Chris Evans FAN of any sort, but I also don't see any reason why he couldn't pull off the role of Cap. Sure, the guy seems like he goofs off a lot, but some times you just gotta give some of these actors a chance to make their mark. Is it going to be hard for me to watch Johnny Storm try to pull off Steve Rogers, much less try to fill Cap's boots? Absolutely. Is it possible that he's going to screw up royally and be the laughing stock of even the LAST actor to portray the live action Cap, Matt Salinger? You bet. But there's no point in trying to say "he's gonna suck" now, just so later you can say "I told you so". I bet almost every one of us who have posted something on here about this interview will be going to see this movie while it's in theaters, and we can all decide then on whether Evans makes or breaks Cap.

Or maybe he really will suck, and then the Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool movie will be TONS better than Evans' Cap, and Then I will realize I typed up this post all for nothing. All I'm trying to say is, let flame brain do his best first, and if he screws up, THEN crucify him. If that happens, I'll be right there with you, telling him that I wasted my time defending him.
Mumu - 4/17/2010, 11:54 PM

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