Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Avengers Assemble! - Casting Call - Captain America

Okay, over the last little while, I've been reading at more than a few comic book and film sites about who fans think should play some of the big roles coming up in the next Marvel Films.

Just to review, go here to learn about Marvel Studios' upcoming plans to recreate the Marvel Universe on the big screen. Also, waaaay back I posted about Eva Longoria purportedly being up for the role of The Wasp in The Avengers. Personally, she seems like a rocky choice to me, even if she does look like the character.

But back to the fans. At Newsarama, a poll just concluded that saw Fringe's Mark Valley the most popular choice for the role. Look, I don't mind Valley, but this vote seems to be totally about the fact that he superficially looks like Steve Rogers rather than any confidence in his ability to actually carry an entire film franchise on his back. This is what irritates me about these kinds of polls. No one thinks like you would have to when actually casting one of these things; namely that the person has to be capable of drawing some sort of audience, and he has to have the chops and the confidence to carry a whole franchise. You know why Iron Man worked? Because Robert Downey not only fit the part but also elevated the material beyond its comic book roots.

So, Nerdlinger (you may be saying), put your money where your mouth is and give us your pick.

Okay, here is my choice for Captain America: Leonardo DiCaprio.

Now some of you may be rolling your eyes right now, but listen to my reasoning here. First off, when Marvel took a chance and cast Robert Downey Jr, it was far from a sure bet. Downey was a well-respected, Academy Award nominated actor, yes, but he was not necessarily an A-list movie star. He was missing that big money-making crowd-pleasing blockbuster. Therefore, he was not crazily expensive like Tom Cruise, a level of movie star that can overwhelm both the budget and the character. But, what got people excited was that Downey had chops. Serious acting chops. No one doubted that whatever he did with the role of Tony Stark, it would not be a cheesy shallow interpretation. And it wasn't.

DiCaprio is sort of in the same boat. Yeah, yeah, he was in Titanic, but he's spent most of his career since then running away from that film as hard as he can. So, while he's a movie star, and a big one, his more artistic sensibility has kept him from attaining the same level as say, George Clooney or Brad Pitt. However, he might be ready to dive into a franchise comic book film, provided it's the right kind of role, and Steve Rogers (sickly depression era kid who becomes WWII super-soldier and then is frozen for the rest of the decade, waking up as a man out of time) provides more dramatic meat than most comic book roles. Look at that picture above. That's pretty damn close to 1940s Steve Rogers, isn't it?

Some of you might claim he's too much of a pretty boy. Well, I thought the same thing. Until Blood Diamond. That was the first film where I thought I was watching a man, not a very good looking young man. Even in The Departed, he had a "youthful" quality. But in Blood Diamond, I completely bought him as a badass ex-soldier. and you'd think he'd be psyched to appear as an icon alongside such quality actors as Downey and Edward Norton.

DiCaprio for Cap. That's my choice. What about Thor? Or Ant-Man and the Wasp? Check out a future post for my picks there.

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