Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Emails #39: How Old To Cast Steve Rogers

Rare color footage released by the Pentagon...


Cap scrapes mud from his shield while a dark-haired US Army Signal Corps documentarian, Lt. Col. George Stevens, interviews him on camera.

What do you want the people back home to know about?

The men that are fighting and dying here today are true patriots. They ask only that you
remember them and never forget that they died fighting evil. They died protecting our
liberty and freedom. Their blood is the terrible price that they give to all of us.

RICK: What seems to be the essence of Captain America? Patriotism. The kind that adheres to the constitution. Leadership. Making hard choices on the battlefield, pressing ever onward and giving no ground.

Cap is 17. Maybe. Pearl Harbor is in December. School is about half way through for the year and crop planting is still a few months away. Maybe Steve Rogers is in the tenth grade. He has missed a lot of school due to illness and would normally be a senior. There are only forty kids in the grade anyway including Betsy, a curly haired angel who admires Steve's courage. With the world at war, will he really drop out of school to join the army?

BEN: I think maybe the serum might make Cap appear a little older. I saw the kid from the film Crash who is rumored to play Cap. What the? He's this tiny little pretty boy. I actually might like another guy who's been rumored, though, from The Office. At least he's 6'3". But if we're choosing thin guys with brown eyes who play dorks, why not Chuck? Oh well. I guess we're casting for the reboot in 10 years anyhow:)

Need two or three Steve Rogerses.
Young and sickly, maybe seven or eight
Sixteen or seventeen and sickly but patriotic

Sickly Steve Rogers must be sickly! Not a pretty boy waiting for the chance to become Captain America but a frail, broken, hollow cheeked boy who has been picked on and missed school and has had a hard time socializing. Put that boy on crutches with a broken arm. Give him a strong cough, a rash or pimples. Maybe a little stutter. He is not full of confidence. What he has is guts and determination but has trouble looking adults in the eye. He is a dreamer, an idealist. Steve Rogers so desperately wants to be like everyone else, healthy and laughing...

Cap! Not sickly at all.

Interesting-- so how old would #3 be?

I say, at this point you are casting a character who is still plenty young. 17 to enlist. This is 1941. War over in 1945. Chronological age maybe 21. BUT we want maturity and presence of command not teeny bopper romance. I would cast Cap/Steve Rogers from 21 to 27 years old and definitely 6 feet plus. Fit and muscled but still flexible and lithe. Square jawed and handsome but not too pretty. Blond hair, blue eyes, confident mid-western voice. I want it to be believable when he rolls under a tank with a wrench or appears a little shy with the ladies. I would easily use an unknown who showed chops.

Note: The above was written before Chris Evans was signed on to the Marvel film.

I loved Feydeau's one rule of playwriting: Character A: My life is perfect as long as I don't see Character B. Knock Knock. Enter Character B.
-John Guare

But the audience is right. They’re always, always right. You hear directors complain that the advertising was lousy, the distribution is no good, the date was wrong to open the film. I don’t believe that. The audience is never wrong. Never.
-William Friedkin


  1. So what do you think of the casting of Chris Evans as Cap? (I wasn't impressed with his Johnny Storm/Human Torch portrayal.)

  2. Luke -

    Won't go into a detailed answer here because post #40: Evans Gravitas rambles on this subject. There would be pros and cons for anyone they could possibly get. As Ben and I mulled over how old to make a Cap casting choice, the studio was deciding who would get a ten (that's right) TEN picture deal to play the character and lock them in at a low fee. This enormous potential commitment and low pay precludes getting any real actors with star power. Ten movies is basically most of one's career and more than most action actors usually get considering health concerns and audience tastes.

    Is Evans the "right" choice? Not for the script I might have written which has a fairly serious bent to it considering the WWII subject matter. Based on what Marvel wants to attempt he may be perfect or you know, good enough. We deal with the Evans' casting and other choices throughout the blog. Stay tuned.