It's been rumored for quite awhile, but now it's official: Captain America has an onscreen nemesis, and it's the iconic character who has long served has his most powerful archenemy.
Hugo Weaving has been cast as Johann Schmidt — better known as the Red Skull — in next year's "Captain America: The First Avenger" movie. Marvel Studios confirmed the appointment in a press release Tuesday morning, touting the actor's genre-embracing efforts in such blockbusters as the "Matrix," "Lord of the Rings" and "Transformers" films.
For die-hard fans who've waited decades to see Cap on the big screen, official announcements like these bring a tantalizing sense of reality to the film's existence. It also helps when Marvel releases plot-revealing tidbits in their statements like this one: " 'Captain America: The First Avenger' will focus on the early days of the Marvel Universe when Steve Rogers volunteers to participate in an experimental program that turns him into the Super Soldier known as Captain America."
For those who prefer their book pages to exist without illustrations, Red Skull is a Nazi agent who was first introduced in a 1941 comic book. Considered by S.H.I.E.L.D. to be one of the greatest threats to humanity, Red Skull is typically depicted as a close confidant of Adolf Hitler whose mother died during childbirth and father blamed him for her death and tried to kill the child; growing up an orphan and beggar, he came to resent much of humanity. Hitler appointed him head of Nazi
terrorist activities and he became such a powerful propaganda tool that the U.S. countered his existence with Captain America.
Due to start filming soon, "Captain America: The First Avenger" will star Chris Evans as the man with the shield, Hayley Atwell as his gal pal Peggy Carter and Sebastian Stan as plucky sidekick Bucky Barnes. The film will be directed by Joe Johnston, from a script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely and is due in theaters July 22, 2011.
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