Casting Captain America – The Case for Billy Crudup

11 Mar

The rumors of auditions and front runners has made the casting of Captain America/Steve Rogers into a game of musical chairs.  Marvel has already blown their March 1 casting deadline, which makes me think that they aren’t necessary close to finding the right guy, but I’m glad that they are taking the time to do it right.

Some of my bloglleagues (colleagues on the blogosphere) have debated whose the right man for the job,  most recently my blog version of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Enemy of Peanuts. So I feel like I have to weigh in with my thoughts on America’s greatest comic hero.

The Captain America film represents the last big name comic book hero that hasn’t his transition to the big screen, and accordingly Marvel understanding the absolute necessity of making this a quality film. Marvels giving the directors chair to Joe Johnston for the film, officially titled The First Avenger: Captain America, was an excellent start to the process of making a blockbuster of actual quality.

Johnson came up working for George Lucas at ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) during the original (aka good) Star Wars film, but made a move to Directing with the classic 80’s movie Honey, I shrunk the Kids. He went on to make the Disney classic, The Rocketeer and critically acclaimed, October Sky.  But why am I talking about Johnston, this is about whose the ideal Cap? Well it’s important to establish the stakes of this film, and whose at the helm, to really understand where The Thunder is coming from.

Naturally, I was just coming around to the idea of Jim from The Office playing  Cap, when the rumors died that he was the front-runner. Damn you Marvel! You can’t keep the rumors steady for a few days so that I can compose my thoughts on them.

The newest front-runners are Chris Evans (The human torch, Fantastic Four) and Garrett Hedlund (Friday Night Lights -the movie and Four Brothers, and most recently Tron: Legacy).  Of the two Hedlund is a much better choice, as Evans really doesn’t bring anything to the table…except tweens.

I’ve read that Marvel wants a semi-unknown. Someone that they can have grow into the role. Basically, they want a good looking young American actor who also has the talent enough to carry the character through sequels, most notably the Avengers.  So you know a fairly simple task, especially when you add in the reality that Cap is a ripped.

Basically, the ideal Captain America is a talented professional wrestler. But I don’t think that’s a viable option, so we’ll move on.

Others who have auditioned and are considered in the hunt for the role include: Chace Crawford (CW’s Gossip Girl), Scott Porter (Friday Night Lights- the TV show), Michael Cassidy (CW’s Privileged) and Patrick Flueger (Brothers). I am not very familiar with many of these actors, with the exception of Scott Porter. But based upon there body of work, I don’t believe any of these candidates would fill out the role of the Captain America very well.

So I offer an alternative.

Billy Crudup. A veteran actor, Crudup is most recognizable for his roles as Dr. Manhattan in Zach Snyder’s recent adaptation of the classic graphic novel, Watchmen. But Crudup has been around and displayed the ability to play a wide variety of characters from his earliest role in the classic Sleepers to the moody guitarist Russel Hammond in Almost Famous.  Crudup is also an American, an established criteria which is unfortunate due to the many foreign actors who would probably make perfect Steve Rogers/Captain America’s. The two most notable foreign actors who would make great Cap’s are Sam Worthington (Avatar and Clash of the Titans) and Colin Ferrel (Swat and Crazy Heart), both of whom possess the acting ability and physical traits necessary for the role.

But back to Crudup, his only draw back is that he’s not 6 feet tall…which could be an issue for many fanboys, who are as concerned about looks in this case as most girls are. The counter though to that point is that Robert Downey jr is also under six feet tall, in fact both actors are within an inch of each other. Given the realities of special effects, which these films will rely heavily upon, I think those physical issues can be waved.

Billy Crudup is the Thunder pick to play Cap’, but I think the the role will actually go to Mike Vogel (Cloverfield) who has the look, is young and relatively unknown enough for Marvel. But that’s just what I think.

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