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Çaptain America Director Joe Johnston: Compilation of Q & As

Over the past few weeks, Earth's Mightiest has presented a series of exclusive one question/one answer sessions with The First Avenger: Captain America director Joe Johnston. What follows is a compilation of those questions and answers.
Interviews conducted by and © Edward Gross

APRIL 6, 2010

Earths Mightiest received a brief update from Captain America director Joe Johnston, who is settling into his new home away from home, England, where The First Avenger: Captain America is going to be filmed.

Offers the director, "I'm just about over my jet lag and starting to adjust to UK time. Captain America is getting up to speed now that we have Chris Evans in the lead. We're scouting locations all over England and have found some beautiful and as yet unseen spots to put on film."

APRIL 12, 2010

EARTHS MIGHTIEST: When you were going through the casting process, in your mind, what were you looking for? In other words, what qualities did the actor being cast as Captain America have to have?

JOE JOHNSTON: Casting Captain America is really casting two roles...Steve Rogers before and after the transformation from 98 pound weakling to perfect physical specimen. I can't divulge how we're going to do it, but the performance will be Chris Evans from beginning to end. An actor playing Captain America has to embody that backstory and let it inform his understanding of his new self. One of the interesting aspects of the character is the effect that kind of total transformation would have on the his psyche. It gives the character more dimension and the actor playing him a wider range of interesting choices.

EARTHS MIGHTIEST: In the end, Chris Evans was chosen. How did he present himself in that audition that made you feel that he was right for the part?

JOE JOHNSTON: Chris didn't audition at all. I was already familiar with everything he'd done and was championing his cause, not that I had a fight from the Marvel team. They were fans of his as well. He came in to the art department to say hi, saw all the jaw-dropping art and designs on the wall and reacted the way I'd hoped he would. It was really his wonderful enthusiasm for everything he saw that cinched the deal. We have some of the best designers and illustrators in the industry working for us and the art is just incredible to wander through. He will bring the perfect balance of dramatic performance and physicality to the role.

APRIL 22, 2010

EARTHS MIGHTIEST: What are the challenges of creating a period film that the modern day audience is going to be able to connect with?

JOE JOHNSTON: The challenge of making ANY period film is to both immerse the audience in the period without letting them feel alienated by it, so the period becomes an asset. We want the film to feel contemporary in the way it's shot and performed, set in the Marvel version of the 1940's. THE FIRST AVENGER - CAPTAIN AMERICA is not what you'd call a "war movie" by any means. It's a high adrenaline, action/adventure film with a great underlying character story. It just happens to take place in the 1940's. A car chase, for instance, still has to be a white knuckle experience, and if we have to hot rod the cars and add modern technology to get them to perform, that's what we do. We have a stock-looking 1940 Ford that will blow past any car from THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS like it's standing still.

APRIL 26, 2010

As an actor, what do you think Hugo Weaving will bring to the character of the Red Skull?

Hugo Weaving was really the only choice for Red Skull. Hugo is a chameleon as an actor. He's played so many incredibly versatile roles, from the LORD OF THE RINGS films, MATRIX, V, PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT. He's never failed to create a multi-layered and complex character. In my own experience with him on THE WOLFMAN, he took a part that was much less significant and inspired us to develop the character into a pivotal role. I wanted Hugo to play Red Skull to SEE what he would bring to the character. He's one of those actors you don't want to look away from...add a red skull into that dynamic and it should be memorable.

MAY 6, 2010

EARTH’S MIGHTIEST: As opposed to a standalone film, The First Avenger: Captain America is one that is essentially a piece of a larger jigsaw puzzle. What are the challenges of creating something that has to fit into a much larger whole? Also, have you had much in the way of conversations with other Marvel filmmakers?

JOE JOHNSTON: Each film has to stand on its own, which are why they're successful. I think you want just enough connective tissue to hold the universe together, while not affecting the unique nature of each film. There are entertaining ways to link a film to others in the Marvel Universe, ways that don't detract from the story you're telling. I think fans recognize the moments and get the joke while it might go over a layman's head, which is okay as long as it isn't distracting or confusing. We're telling the origin story of CAP, which makes the connections a little more difficult — but there are plenty for the viewer who speaks good MARVEL. I really haven't had any interaction with other Marvel filmmakers except for a chat with Kenneth Brannagh on one of the amazing Thor sets.
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