UPDATE: I’ve learned that Marvel Studios and director Joe Johnston are testing candidates for The First Avenger: Captain America which Paramount will distribute on July 22, 2011. I’ve scooped their wish list: most but by no means all of the contenders are young hunks who come from both movies and television — Chace Crawford (CW’s Gossip Girl), John Krasinski (NBC’s The Office), Scott Porter (NBC’s Friday Night Lights), Mike Vogel (Cloverfield), Michael Cassidy (CW’s Privileged), Patrick Flueger (Brothers). They also wanted Garrett Hedlund (Tron Legacy), but he so far hasn’t made a test deal. The studio yesterday tested several candidates from this list. It’s not surprising that the roster contains so many little known actors: Marvel after all cast a complete unknown as Thor, Chris Hemsworth. The role is enticing, but Marvel is known for driving hard bargains on its superhero deals. There’s a salary scale, but if you’re not a known quantity like Crawford or Krasinski, the offer is around $300,000 for the first film. And whoever gets the role will have to sign for another nine options for future films that include sequels, Avengers movies, or anything else Marvel decides. In fact, I’m told reliably that Captain America director Johnston recently reached an impasse with Marvel and briefly walked off the film when Marvel informed him the budget was too high and he’d have to take a pay cut. They found common ground and he returned to the fold, but it reinforces Marvel’s reputation for hard bargaining, something that all the Iron Man 2 participants discovered. For those not in the know, Captain America is Steve Rogers, a military service washout who volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into the superhero dedicated to defending America’s ideals. The sickly young man is enhanced to the peak of human potential by an experimental serum: he’s known for using his signature vibranium-steel allow shield as a multipurpose weapon.
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