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  • 7/29/2019 "Captain America: The First Avenger" article (interview with star Chris Evans, director Joe Johnston and screenwrit

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    .Newsday I SUNDAI JULY 17,2011

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  • 7/29/2019 "Captain America: The First Avenger" article (interview with star Chris Evans, director Joe Johnston and screenwrit

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    Steve ftcgens,superhero alter*gs, always dsesthe right thing,and Chris Evansis the right guyto play hlmBY FRAI{K TOVECESpecicl to Newsdcy

    eneralAmeri-ca"?Toohigh-falutin'Pri-vateAmerica"?NobodywouldlistentohirnBut "Captain America"? Nowthat sounds like aleader who'sstill one of the gnrnts on theground - part ofthe dualitythat permeates "Captain Ameri-ca The First Avenger," openingFriday neophyte and leader,weak man and strong, ordinarycitizenand national symbol, alloccupying the same body.'We tried to write the SteveRogers story," says co-screen-writer Stephen McFeely, refer-ring to the civilian identity ofMarvel Comics' star-spangledsuperhero - who, in a WorldWar II "super-soldier" experi-ment, is metamorphosed froma scrappy 98-pound weaklingto the peak of human physicali-ty. Yet despite such CharlesAtlas wish fulfillment, "He stillhas to deal with all the issueshe came with," says screen-writing partner ChristgpherMarkus. "He still has to be theilLi. -

    Artists Joe Simon, who laterlived on long lsland, and JackKirby created Captain AmericaComics. This is the first issue,which came out in March 1941.guy he was born as."Unlike ClarkKent or BruceWayne, who were often integralto Superman and Batman sto-ries, Steve Rogers began as iust anominal secret identity.In late1940, writer-artist |oe Simon(who later lived in Mineola andWoodbury) had simply wantedan iconic American - one whocould go after Hitler immediate-lywhile the United States wa-vered over entering the war -whenhe sketched out the super-

    hero he and artist |ackKirbywould together develop for"Captain America Comics" #l(March l94l). It wasn't until the1960s that Kirby and writer-edi-tor Stan Lee put Rogers frontand center with soap-operaticangst, and made the charactergrapple with exacdywhat a"Captain America" representedinmoderntimes."I think a lot of what SteveRogers is about is this kind ofold-time, old way of thinking,"star Chris Evans,30, says byphone from Albuquerque,where he's reprisinghis CaptainAmericarole in the next Manrelmovie,'The Avengers." "It wasfun playing the Human Torcb,"he says, referring to his muchdifferent superhero inthe "Fan-tastic Four" movies. "He's abitof a iackass, but he's fun SteveRogers is more of a straightshooter. When you're breakingdownthe script and tryingtofind the purpose behind thewords, it's nice to kind of live inthe head space ofamanwhoiust does things for the rightreason - not for praise, not toshowpeople that he's agoodmarubut justbecause it's theright thing to do."Ofcourse, that's not the hard-est thing to do in a movie setduringWorldWar tr (withpresent-day bookends, as in"Saving ltivate Ryan"). In thisorignstory, Cap earnshis starsand stripes fighting the unambig-uous good fight against the Nazis-

    particularly grotesque master-mind the Red Skull (Hugo Wedv-ing) - alongside amultiethnicSoup. Though unnamed, they'reMarvel's "Sgt. Fury and hisHowling Comrnandos," minusNickFury."They,are commandos and atone point they do howl," writerMarkus says with a chuckle.

    ElEli "Caotain America""1ffi/movies"They're called the HowlingCommandos in the script, butno one says that out loud.'Director foe fohnston $ays atone point they were to bg calledthe Invaders - igniting off-base

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    Evans, above, as CaptainAmerica and, left, as SteveRogers in "Captain America:The First Avenger"fan speculation that the same-name Marvel superhero teamwould appear inthe movie.

    Evans almost didn't appear,having turned down the role, hesays, three times. "ft was anine-picfure commitment," heexplains, "and just thinkingabout the magnitude ofthat joband the lifestyle change if themovie were a success, it was justscary." Marvel Studios offered amore palatable six-movie dealhe eventually accepted - threeCaptain America and three

    Avengers films - but initiallyhe still said no.Why insist on him? "Weinterviewed and screen-testedprobably 12toli guys," saysfohnston, whose period drama"October Sky" (1999) and under-rated comic-book adaptation"The Rocketeer" (1991) helpedland him the directing iob, "andwe liked a lot of them. But wealways came out of the meetingor the screen test saying,'Oh, ifonly he were 4 inches taller, or ifonly his voice were a little clear-er, or if he only didn't do thatfunny thing with his face.' "It sounds as if the studio justsimply wanted Evans. Castingdo.s ,:r:entuall-v come down to

    chemistry - from both direc-tions."I finally got this feeling,"Evans says, "that if I'm notdoing it just because I'm afraidof it, that's no way to make adecision. I thought,'Maybethis is exactly what I need toface, and for better or worseit'll shape who I am.'And Iendgd up pulling the trigger,and looking back now, thankGod. Thank God. I think I'd bemiserable right now seeing thetrailers and the press, andreally upset with myself forbeing a coward."Which seems, aptly enough,like exactly what Steve Rogerswould say.

    sil fi rchenarB,fl-qpq doesn'1S' 'S gets itAmerica: The FiBarry Gibbs hacshields manufacvariants.Besides the triAmerica first usrwere three modrcircular shield. "'which was madebeauty shots," hGfor day-to-day ur

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