Ryan Phillippe Joins the Many Names Under Consideration for CAPTAIN AMERICA

     March 15, 2010

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I have an exclusive announcement: I am under consideration for the lead role in The First Avenger: Captain America.  Well okay, not yet exactly.  But once they cycle through every young white male in Hollywood, they’ll get to my alliterative name.

The tale of super soldier Steve Rogers is one of the hottest untapped superhero properties on the market, so this is obviously a huge role for whoever lands it, but it’s getting difficult to keep track of all the contenders.  The first we heard, John Krasinski, Michael Cassidy, Patrick Flueger, Scott Porter, Mike Vogel, Chace Crawford, Garrett Hedlund, and Jensen Ackles were all on the shortlist.  After a short-lived rumor that Krasinski was a lock came word that he was anything but; in fact, Tron: Legacy star Hedlund and Vogel (Cloverfield) made it to the top of the initial heap, now joined by Fantastic Four‘s Chris Evans.  To add to the confusion, Hitfix has another name for us that teases great things: Ryan Phillippe.  Details on what Marvel is trying to tell us after the jump.

Captain America  (1).jpgIn a recent Collider interview, director Joe Johnston confided that he was hoping for a younger unknown to nab the role, and that casting would be done by March 1.  Said date has come and gone, of course.  While Hugo Weaving was conclusively cast as Red Skull, the villain of the film, we still have no idea who will undertake the iconic lead role.

One thing is certain (for now): Johnston and Marvel aren’t perusing the A-list.  Early reports suggested the comic book studio wished to sign the chosen one for a $300,000 nine-film deal, a number below the quote of most of the actors you can name.  But Philippe is notably an actor that the proverbial you can name–he’s had relatively high profile roles in Cruel Intentions, Gosford Park, and Crash among other films.  Likewise, the recently revealed Evans is ostensibly a name actor, if only through his association to the Fantastic Four franchise.  In other words, it looks like Marvel willing to loosen the purse strings.

Also loosening is the age requirement as Phillippe, at the respectable age of 35, is no spring chicken in youth-stricken Hollywood.  The actor eventually cast must believably stand toe to toe against the likes of Iron Man‘s Robert Downey Jr. (and perhaps Edward Norton recurring as Hulk) in the eventual Avengers movie.  Perhaps it is a safer bet to cast a few years older to accomplish such a feat.  Phillippe is an interesting name to toss around, and very capable of the necessary gravitas if selected.

I am very eager to see how this turns out.  At this point, don’t be surprised if the actor selected was ultimately never on any of these lists.  But at this point, given Marvel’s budding reputation for solid franchise planning, do be surprised if their choice flounders in the role.

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