British actress Hayley Atwell (The Duchess) has been cast to play Captain America’s (Chris Evans) love interest Peggy Carter in Joe Johnston’s Captain America: The First Avenger. Heat Vision reports that Atwell won out after screen testing last week. Atwell was in the running along with fellow British actresses Keira Knightley, Alice Eve, and Emily Blunt (although Blunt chose to take herself out of the running). She’ll star alongside Sebastian Stan (Gossip Girl) who will play Captain’s sidekick Bucky Barnes. Hugo Weaving is still in talks to play the film’s villain, Red Skull.
Hit the jump for more on Carter and Atwell as well as the official press release. Captain America: The First Avenger is set to hit theaters on July 22, 2011.
In the comics, Peggy Carter dated Captain America (real name Steve Rogers) during World War II and also worked as an agent helping the French Resistance. After the war, Captain America was frozen in a state of suspended animation. He awoke in the modern day and eventually dated Peggy’s niece, Sharon (ewwww). Sharon Carter is an agent of SHIELD in the comics so it’s possible Captain America is helping to set up that character relationship for The Avengers.
As for Atwell, I’ll let Wikipedia give her brief bio:
Atwell debut was in a 2005 Pringles television advertisement and served on the jury for the 2007 British Independent Film Awards.
Her first feature film role was in Woody Allen’s 2007 film Cassandra’s Dream, in which she acted opposite Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell. In 2008, she appeared in the films The Duchess (as Lady Bess Foster) and Brideshead Revisited (as Lady Julia Flyte).
In January 2009, Atwell made her West End debut in Lindsay Posner’s revival of A View from the Bridge at the Duke of York’s Theatre. Atwell appeared as “415” in AMC Television’s November 2009 miniseries, The Prisoner, a remake of the 1967-68 series by the same name. She’ll next be seen in the upcoming epic miniseries The Pillars of the Earth.
And here’s the official press release from Marvel:
Hayley Atwell Confirmed as Peggy Carter in Marvel Studios’
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER
Marvel Studios announced today that Hayley Atwell has been cast to star as Peggy Carter in the studio’s highly anticipated movie CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER opposite Chris Evans. In the early comics, Peggy Carter fell in love with Captain America while they fought together in the war effort. The character will be updated for the feature adaptation. Joe Johnston will direct the film penned by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely.
Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige will produce CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER. Alan Fine, Stan Lee, David Maisel and Louis D’Esposito will executive produce. The film will be released in the US on July 22, 2011 and distributed by Paramount Pictures.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER will focus on the early days of the Marvel Universe when Steve Rogers volunteers to participate in an experimental program that turns him into the Super Soldier known as Captain America.
Atwell will next be seen in PILLARS OF THE EARTH, the 8-part miniseries premiering July 23 on Starz and the TV series THE PRISONER. Her film credits include THE DUCHESS, BRIDESHEAD REVISITED and CASSANDRA’S DREAM.
In addition to CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER, Marvel Studios will release a slate of films based on the Marvel characters including the highly anticipated sequel, IRON MAN 2, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow on May 7, 2010, THOR on May 6, 2011, and Marvel Studios’ THE AVENGERS on May 4, 2012.
Atwell is represented by CAA and United Agents.
Here’s a few high res images of Hayley Atwell