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The First Avenger: Captain America

Hayley Atwell: Cap's Leading Lady

See what Hayley has to say about her role as Peggy Carter in 'Captain America: The First Avenger'!

By Zack Zeigler

Haley Atwell is a self-proclaimed tomboy, which meant the 29-year old British actress felt at home working with a predominantly male cast in “Captain America: The First Avenger.”

Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter in "Captain America: The First Avenger"

“I was hoping by the end of filming they all thought I was a boy, because I tried really hard to give off that impression--despite the red lips,” Atwell joked. “But it was a nice challenge. I’m competitive by nature, so it felt lovely.”

In the film, Atwell plays PeggyCarter, a World War II-era freedom fighter and Steve Rogers/Captain America’s (Chris Evans) love interest.

“I didn’t want Peggy to look too butch,” she said. “I wanted to lend a little bit of glamor to her [because] in the 1940s, women took a long time with their appearance--no matter who they were or what they did.”

Like Evans, Atwell found that transforming into a soldier wasn’t as easy as sliding into a uniform. 

Hayley Atwell takes aim in "Captain America: The First Avenger"

“I was training six days a week,” she admitted. “I gained about five-and-a-half inches of muscle and lost about eight inches of fat. It was an intensely physical process. I think if Peggy were a man, she’d be Captain America…but she is [also] quite an oppressed character, and that can make her behavior quite erratic.”

While Atwell and Evans shared an excruciating workout regimen off screen, on screen their characters shared an emotional attachment.

“We had to keep the character based in reality,” she said. “If you portray them as human beings instead of characters and cartoons, the audiences will connect with them more. [But] I think Peggy sees the good in Steve. So when he doubts his worth, she reminds him of why he was chosen [to become a Super Solder] and that he’s a good, loyal person who wants to have a positive impact in the world. So she’s got a good core. She’s what we call in Britain a ‘good egg.’”

"Captain America: The First Avenger" will focus on the early days of the Marvel Universe when Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) volunteers to participate in an experimental program that turns him into the Super Soldier known as Captain America.  As Captain America, Rogers joins forces with Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) to wage war on the evil HYDRA organization, led by the villainous Red Skull (Hugo Weaving).

Check out the official "Captain America: The First Avenger" teaser site as well as its hub page right here on Marvel.com for the latest on Cap's big screen adventure in theaters now!

In addition to "Captain America: The First Avenger," Marvel Studios will release a slate of films based on the Marvel characters including "Marvel's The Avengers" on May 4, 2012, and "Iron Man 3" on May 3, 2013.

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      awesome!! loved Peggy Carter, my favorite leading lady of the marvel movie-verse so far.