If I Ran Hollywood: Captain America

It’s my understanding that production is moving ahead on the Captain America movie and we all know what’s going to happen:

Origin story :Steve Rogers is injected with the ‘Super Soldier’ serum and goes from scrawny to awesome in moments. The US government sends him into battle with the Nazis during WWII and he becomes the ‘American Solution’. At some point he will be frozen in time and unfrozen just in time to save the world again. Except that you know they’ll make them Jihadi freedom fighters instead of Nazis and they’ll make a huge production out of his origin story – inventing stuff as they go, because this hasn’t been completely covered in the comics, it’s more a line of dialogue and a frame of flashback – and then have him run around in his, admittedly, very silly costume saving the day. No style. No substance. No nothing. Don’t lie, you know it’s going to happen.

If I were writing this script I would skip the origin story and have them start mid-WWII. Focus on the person he is and the inspiration he is for the troops – showing them the true meaning of valor, bravery and integrity in battle or whatever – and instead of focusing on how Cap got to be Cap (because to be honest, we don’t really care – he’s a super soldier? I can get on board with that. And we’re done. It’s not a leap of faith.), focus instead on Bucky’s origin story. Show me how Bucky became Bucky and I’m there. Because there is no better mirror for who Cap is and what he stands for than the pupil that is Bucky. I say, make us love Bucky, make him love Cap and we’ll have no problem. It provides instant credit for the character who is running around literally wrapped in the American flag, making snap brilliant tactical decisions and demanding respect. In short, make it Captain America: White by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale.

Also, let Neal McDonough play him. After seeing Tin Man I realized that, while he has been relegated to supporting roles, McDonough can actually act – very well – and he has the depth, the size and the look to play this character. It’ll never happen, but a girl can dream.

This idea all came about from a conversation I had with my husband yesterday. It went like this:

Him: Louis Leterrier said that Captain America looks like it’s going to be ‘Raiders of the Lost Arc’ meets ‘The Rocketeer’ meets ‘Saving Private Ryan’.

Me: Those three things are not the same. That’s going to be horrible.

Him: Well, I can see elements of all three of those things in Cap.

Me: Really. Enlighten me.

Him: Well, Cap’s all gadgety and stuff like The Rocketter and it’ll be all old-timey with the Raiders stuff, but it’ll also have the war-worn angle with the Saving Private Ryan, or maybe they just threw that in because it’s cool or something.

Me: Uh-huh. Cap can’t fly. Do they know that?

Him: No, but he is frequently para-dropped into places.

Me: [Pause.]

Me: I’m going to have to give you that one.

Him: And sometimes he doesn’t have a parachute so he just lands on his shield. The vibranium takes the impact and doesn’t transfer it to him so he survives.

Me: That’s enough now.

We’ll see what happens. Until then, a girl can still dream.


  1. Anh Khoi Do

    “If I were writing this script I would skip the origin story and have them start mid-WWII.”

    Well, here’s my hypothesis. The problem with some Hollywood executives is this when they do a film about super-heroes: fear of not having a great margin of profit for their films at the box office. In fact, omitting to explain a super-hero’s origin is okay (well, for me), but those executives fear that people who never read a comic book featuring Captain America (or any other super-hero) will not go to see the movie during its run at the theatres. However, I bet that many people rushed to theatres without knowing who Spider-Man, the X-Men or Batman are. As a matter of fact, I’m actually one of those people and after I’ve seen the “X-Men” films, I became curious about the comic books.

    By the way, where did you get the code allowing you to make pictures appear in a box (while a part of the screen slightly darkens at the same time)?
    .-= Anh Khoi Do´s last blog post ..Nowhere In Africa =-.

  2. Trista

    Okay, comment part first:

    See, I disagree. I think that, despite the fact that people may not know who these characters are or where they came from, Hollywood’s delight in the “origin story” is actually misled. In X-Men people had absolutely no trouble buying into the characters – especially Wolverine – without knowing specifically *how* they got to be that way. The fact that we followed Rogue through her journey to find the Xavier Institute was simply just good plot, not an actual origin story. People bought into Wolverine so well, in fact, that they made it into its own franchise (successful franchise is a different discussion for a different day). So what I’m saying here is, let’s skip the ‘how’ it happened part. Just toss in a few lines of dialogue with Bucky, let us find out when he does (like we did with Wolverine in X-Men) and we’ll be fine. I’ve read a lot of Captain America and maybe that makes me biased, but I never felt more interest or wonder at the character than when I read Cap: White, in which the story is told through the eyes of Bucky, finding out that his buddy Steve is really America’s greatest hero.

    The tech stuff: Well, to be honest, I moved my blog from the significant limitations of Blogger in May to a self-hosted WordPress blog. That means that I pay for my own hosting (not very much) but I also have the freedom to do with my blog what I please. WordPress is an extremely powerful and wonderful open-source program that allows user from all over the world to write code to trick it out. These ‘plugins’ are what allows me to show your last blog post after your comment, to block spam comments, to allow different types of RSS feeds and to show my images in a different way (which is what you asked about). I won’t lie and say that the transition was easy from Blogger to WordPress, but it was the best thing I did for myself as a blogger, for you as my readers, and I strongly recommend it to serious bloggers everywhere.

    I’ll get down off the soapbox now….

    (PS: If you’re hosting on WordPress and have the same question, it’s the ‘Lightbox 2′ plugin and you can find it from your plugins page.)

  3. Anh Khoi Do

    “I think that, despite the fact that people may not know who these characters are or where they came from, Hollywood’s delight in the “origin story” is actually misled.”

    Yes, I agree. This goes without saying that Hollywood executives have always prided themselves in being able (and sometimes unable) to find the good formula for entertainment (and not necessarily artistic achievement). However, after so many years of making films about super-heroes, they clearly show that they live in their own ivory towers. Indeed, this fact is clearly put on display by their incomprehension to understand the people that they aim to entertain. Do most people care about the “origin story” in a movie? Well, looking at the box office figures from the last ten years is like having the question answered.

    You on the explanation of a character’s origin: “Just toss in a few lines of dialogue [...]”

    I couldn’t agree more with you. In fact, in X-Men there were a few lines in which Xavier explained why he created the X-Men. I didn’t feel that these small explanations break the pace.
    .-= Anh Khoi Do´s last blog post ..Le dîner de cons (The Dinner Game) =-.

  4. Samantha Swan

    Neil McDonough is an interesting actor; he was good supporting Guy Pierce and Robert Carlyle in Ravenous, by the great Antonia Byrd. I can see why you’d like him as Captain America Trista; McDonough could ably bring the kind of iron jawed, patriotic, cheesiness of a naive comic book figure… but I think as an actor he would also bring the hint of a darker underbelly that could make the character more interesting. Especially if there is no origin story. Bernardo Bertolucci once explained that one of the reasons he was interested in casting Keanu Reeves as Siddhartha in Little Buddha was that there was a kind of perversion behind his eyes… I thought that was a pretty good explanation what can be brought to a role because of what an individual actor brings to the table; in this case I think the same could be said of casting McDonough in such a role.
    .-= Samantha Swan´s last blog post ..A word on giving interviews =-.

  5. Trista

    @Anh Khoi: I’m not sure that box office revenue is a good reflection of why people go to the movies anymore. I know that even if it hadn’t been an origin story I would absolutely still have seen Iron Mon, Spiderman, Batman Begins, etc. And I think the fact that Spiderman 3 was one of the highest grossing opening weekends in history shows that people are more interested in the day-to-day, nuts and bolts of being a superhero rather than their actual origins. But when Hollywank keeps giving you the origin story, but you want to see the character on the big screen, what else are you going to go see? So, in short, I think that it has more to do with the fact that that’s what studios keep making than what people want to see.

    @Samantha: Ladies and gentlemen, the lovely and wonderful Samantha Swan. I had the pleasure of interviewing Chris Comrie and herself for an article that is still forthcoming. They were the writer/director team behind The Devil’s Tail (http://10moviestosee.com/2009/06/15/the-devils-tail/). Moving on, that is such an interesting little tidbit! Really, casting him because there was some perversion behind his eyes. I like it! I also agree heartily. When you’re casting you need to take into account the person, as well as their talent. They can’t all be Daniel Day Lewis-es who disappear into their roles – and sometimes they’re more interesting when they don’t. I think one of the reasons why Robert Downey Jr was so good in Iron Man was because of that understanding of the character on a more personal level, shall we say. I’m just sad they would never consider giving someone like McDonough a chance because people won’t run to the box office just on the promise of his name. *shrug*

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