Massive THE FIRST AVENGER: CAPTAIN AMERICA Movie Update from Director Joe Johnston – Casting an American, Wants an Unknown, Shooting in HD, Has to Cast by March 1!

     February 6, 2010

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Just an hour ago I took part in a press conference with director Joe Johnston for his upcoming movie The Wolfman.  While I’ll have a full transcript of the entire interview posted very soon, I was able to get some great updates on The First Avenger: Captain America.

Here’s some of the highlights.

— He’s definitely casting an American to play Captain America

— Needs to have casting done by March 1.  Says they are testing 5 or 6 guys ranging from 23 to 32.

— He’s shooting Captain America in HD and says if they do 3D it’ll be in post

— Says he’s going to shoot Captain America in a different way than any of the other Marvel pictures have been shot

— They’re going to shoot most of it in the UK because the movie takes place in Europe

—  Regarding casting a movie star to play Captain America…Johnston says he wants to discover an unknown and surround him with more prominent names

— The Invaders are in the movie and they’re a big part of the second half of the film.  Also The Invaders will be six members strong. (via Chud)

— And while he didn’t tell us anything about the villain of the film, AICN is reporting Johnston told someone at the junket that Red Skull is going to be the villain.  More on Red Skull here.

— Steve Rogers (Captain America) will wear two costumes in the film.  The first is close to the Jack Kirby designed costume and later in the film he’ll wear a sturdier, more muted version. (via Hero Complex)

Hit the jump for more:

Here’s everything Johnston said about The First Avenger: Captain America at the press conference:

UPDATE: Johnston also gave updates on the costume and that’s below what he said at the press conference:

captain_america_comic_book_art_01.jpgQuestion:  How is pre-production going on Captain America and are you planning on casting an American?

Joe Johnston:  Absolutely.  Oh yeah.  I don’t think we could make without an American playing the part.  But we may not be casting in America because we’re going to London and we’ll probably shoot in the UK for most of it because it takes place in Europe.  But, yeah, we’ll definitely be casting.

Was there ever any talk about Wolfman being in 3D and is there any talk about Captain America in 3D?

Joe Johnston:  No, we’re shooting Captain America in HD.  But you can take any film now and make it 3D.  We’re not going to be shooting it specifically to be 3D, but this is the first film I will have shot in high def and I think it’s one of the first’s Shelly will shoot in high def too, it’ll be a new experience for both of us.  And it gives you a lot of flexibility in post which I learned from Walter Murch…when you shoot a movie in high def if you want to zoom in 200% you can.  But in film you can only go 15 or 20% at most before you start seeing grain and degradation.  In high def you can basically reshoot the film in post – if you want to – so I’m looking forward to trying that.

With Captain America, do you see opportunities to bring an auteur style to it like Sam Raimi did to Spider-Man and the different Batman directors?

Joe Johnston:  We’re definitely going to shoot it in a different way than any of the other Marvel pictures have been shot.  What I’m trying to do is look at the comics – most of the new ones like the Brubaker series – and to interpret that sort of visual style into a film in a way that I think has been tried before…it always looks a little too on the nose it looks like oh they’re shooting a comic book movie.  I want to try something a little bit different.

Captain America  (2).jpgHave you nailed down what you think the big set pieces might be?

Joe Johnston:  Yes, we have.  Right now we sort of have to pick our battles cause it’s a little more than we can afford.  There is some great action sequences.  Stuff we haven’t seen before.

A question about casting.  When you have an iconic character like that is it more about finding the right person or is Marvel saying we also need to have a big name star.  Could you talk about the balancing of that.

Joe Johnston:  No.  We’re looking for a complete unknown.

So it’s not going to be a movie star taking this part?

Joe Johnston:  I hope not.  I hope it’ll be somebody we discover and whose never been in…well he’s probably been in something…you won’t know who he is or recognize him.  We’ll surround him with more prominent names.  That’s who we’re looking for.  Will we find him?  I don’t know.  It’s tough.

Do you know when you have to have casting done?

Joe Johnston:  March 1.

UPDATE: Johnston also spoke with the Hero Complex about the costume and a bit more on the casting process.  Here are the highlights:

“The costume is a flag, but the way we’re getting around that is we have Steve Rogers forced into the USO circuit. After he’s made into this super-soldier, they decide they can’t send him into combat and risk him getting killed. He’s the only one and they can’t make more. So they say, ‘You’re going to be in this USO show’ and they give him a flag suit. He can’t wait to get out of it.”

So he’s up on stage doing songs and dances with chorus girls and he can’t wait to get out and really fight. When he does go AWOL, he covers up the suit but then, after a few things happen, he realizes that this uniform allows him to lead. By then, he’s become a star in the public mind and a symbol. The guys get behind him because he embodies something special.”

There will be more than one costume in the film, too.

In the first USO sequences, the frustrated patriot will be wearing a version that is closer to the classic Jack Kirby-designed costume, but then later as the super-soldier hits the war zone he will be wearing a sturdier, more muted version that he makes himself that is more like battle togs. The stripes across his mid-section, for instance, will be straps, not colored fabric.

“He realizes the value of the uniform symbols but he modifies his suit and adds some armor, it will be closer to the Cpa costume in some of the comics in more recent years . . . this approach, it’s the only way we could justify ever seeing him on a screen in tights, with the funny boots and everything. The government essentially puts him up there as a living comic-book character and he rips it off and then reclaims some of its imagery after he recognizes the value of it. We think it’s the best way to keep the costume and explain it at the same time.”

On Casting:

“Well, we’re testing five or six guys,” Johnston said. “The youngest is 23, the oldest is 32. Most of the guys in the war are just kids, 18 or 19, but we want to go a little bit older.

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