Captain America Month

Joe Johnston: Directing Captain America

'Captain America: The First Avenger' director Joe Johnston talks bringing the Sentinel of Liberty to life!

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We’re celebrating the July 22 premiere of “Captain America: The First Avenger” with Captain America Month! Enjoy daily doses of new Cap goodness including interviews with the film’s cast and crew as well as some of the biggest creators in the Sentinel of Liberty’s history, retrospectives on our hero’s most memorable Marvel comics and surprises galore! Come back to Marvel.com every day for new Cap Month coverage, and mark your calendars for July 22 to see the Star-Spangled Avenger in action!

By Zack Zeigler

When it comes to making an action-packed big-budget film, it can sometimes be easy to fall into the trap of letting the effects overpower the story. In "Captain America: The First Avenger," though, director Joe Johnston wanted to make sure that the story would come first and foremost.
Chris Evans stars in "Captain America: The First Avenger"

“I don’t like it when someone says, ‘Wow! What great visual effects!’ because that means the story is buried,” Johnston said. “The music, the visual effects and the action sequences are there to tell the best story.”

But Captain America is a soldier, a hero, and a dude with amazing abilities. How on Earth would Johnston relate him to everyday people without allowing the character to plunge into the murky depths of CGI doom? Simple--he’d keep it real.

“[Captain America] does some amazing things that none of us can do, but he doesn’t break any laws of physics,” the director said. “We made rules for him, and we stuck to them.”

The rules meant that Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) would remain a mortal, even after undergoing an experimental surgery that transforms him from a weakling into a Super Soldier.

Chris Evans and Hayley Atwell star in "Captain America: The First Avenger"

“We felt it was necessary to ground the story in reality,” Johnston explained. “When you have a guy throw a ship through the air…and the audience decides that’s not real, they can lose interest. There are many examples in [comic book] films where a line is crossed and audiences say, ‘I don’t believe it anymore.’ We walked a pretty fine line on that. If you take the most powerful and fastest Olympic athlete and add 25 percent, that’s what [Captain America] is.”

With Marvel Studios' first period piece, Johnston’s goal was to re-create a realistic World War II-era world without turning the movie into propaganda. The object of the film wasn’t to push a pro- or anti-war stance or attempt to rewrite world history.

“It’s more about the spirit [of] what makes [Steve Rogers/Captain America] great,” Johnston said. “A young man who wants to serve his country but gets rejected because he’s too weak. Nobody wants him. And all he really wants to do is serve his country. It’s about fighting for what’s right, not for what flag you carry.”

Hugo Weaving stars as the Red Skull in "Captain America: The First Avenger"

In the 1940s, the Nazis were enemies of the Allies, and that remains true in “Captain America: The First Avenger.” But their historical significance is heightened by the addition of the HYDRA terrorist group and their leader, the Red Skull.

“The enemies are really HYDRA…who are inspired by the Nazi design,” elaborated Johnston. “The important thing for me about Red Skull is that I wanted to make sure that you could see [actor] Hugo Weaving under the makeup. It was important that Hugo be able to act; he can emote and he can give a performance and be very expressive inside the makeup.”

 

"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 hitting theaters July 22!


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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Comments

4 comments
im_so_inFAMOUS
im_so_inFAMOUS

you people posting theses articles are making me more and more excited for the movie! Cap rues! Steve Rogers all the way!

6moster9
6moster9

cant wait for this movie !!