Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A White Captain America?

Apparently, the powers that be at Marvel Inc. are having trouble casting the lead role in the upcoming Captain America. reports that Marvel has approached Channing Tatum for the role. They say he very likely skipped the audition process since his recent turns in G.I.Joe' and 'Dear John' have positioned him as a bankable name. They're saying that, if Marvel advances the conversation with him, it'll be in the form of an offer for the role, not an audition. . . . Meanwhile, the Motion Captured blog at Hitfix is saying that Ryan Philippe is also a contender. . . "[I] actually am going in to meet on 'Captain America,' which is kind of cool," Phillippe told MTV. "After Superman, he was kind of my favorite."
Part of the problem might be that Marvel is only considering white actors like the "old for his age" Ryan Philippe and ex-stripper Channing Tatum. White guys often have to cut through too many layers of irony and/or bitterness to have the kind of purity needed to convincingly play the Steve Rogers role in Captain America. Tom Welling is convincing in Smallville, but Ben Affleck had too much super-ironic Dogma and Gigli baggage for Daredevil to work. White actors tend to be more convincing when they're burdened by guilt and bitterness as well. Clint Eastwood and Bruce Willis evoke enough bitterness to fill a Tolstoy novel while Matt Damon hit all the guilt marks as Jason Bourne in the Bourne movies.

The problem with Steve Rogers and Captain America is that Rogers came through WWII as pure as he went in. It's hard to imagine any white actor portraying that convincingly. Maybe Tom Welling, but he's already taken.

It would be better if Marvel started looking for a black lead.

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