Captain America: The First Avenger’s writers reveal concept art for the film originally saw Jake Gyllenhaal leading as the titular hero.
Captain America: The First Avenger‘s writers reveal concept art for the film originally saw Jake Gyllenhaal leading as the titular hero. Released in 2011, the film marked the fifth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the last to be distributed by Paramount Pictures before Marvel Studios was acquired by Walt Disney Pictures. The action film was led by Chris Evans as Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, alongside Tommy Lee Jones, Hayley Atwell, Hugo Weaving and Sebastian Stan.
The story centered on Evans’ Steve as he is transformed from a frail man to the titular super-soldier during World War II and worked to stop the Red Skull from acquiring the mysterious Tesseract and using it as an energy source for world domination. A critical and commercial success, Captain America: The First Avenger would launch Evans as the character through his six other MCU film appearances and four cameos. Despite Evans and Stan being the main stars reportedly considered for the role of Captain America, it appears Marvel had another major actor in mind to lead during development.
As the film celebrates its tenth anniversary, Yahoo! Entertainment correspondent Kevin Polowy caught up with Captain America: The First Avenger writers Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus. Looking back at the casting process for the film, the duo revealed concept art at Marvel Studios originally imagined Gyllenhaal as the titular hero while the search continued for an actor to portray Captain America. Markus said, “They had a production office…” then McFeely continued, “With various pictures of other actors wearing – you know because they would do sketches of the costumes and sometimes they’ll just pick an actor and put him in the costume and maybe it’s a wish fulfillment thing or something. I remember a lot of Jake Gyllenhaal as Cap costume pictures.”
Since his breakout work in 1999’s October Sky, Gyllenhaal has been a star most studios can bank blockbuster projects on just with his name. Even Disney’s generally poorly received Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time adaptation held the record for the highest-grossing video game film with a worldwide gross of over $336 million against an estimated $150-200 million budget. But, as McFeely notes, studios generally imagine multiple actors in the role not only as a sort of “wish fulfillment thing” but also to give the costume and production departments an idea of what they need to craft for when the film begins shooting.
Alongside Stan and Gyllenhaal, it’s well-known Marvel’s first choice to lead Captain America: The First Avenger was John Krasinski, even having The Office actor gear up for a screen test in the costume until he stepped away believing he wasn’t right for the role after seeing Chris Hemsworth’s physique for Thor. The studio’s ultimate decision to cast Evans as Captain America and Stan as Bucky Barnes has proven to be the right choice on their part as both of their performances have been acclaimed since the 2011 film. Additionally, Gyllenhaal would get another shot at the MCU as Quentin Beck, aka Mysterio, in Spider-Man: Far From Home, which once again proved a strong choice on the studio’s part.
More: MCU Theory: Chris Evans Returns To Pick The New Captain America
Source: Kevin Polowy/Twitter
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