The Buzz: Will Smith as Captain America???

MTV is reporting that Will Smith is rumoured to have been offered the lead role in the forthcoming Marvel Studios film adaptation of Captain America, due in theaters in 2011.

That’s a little surprising, what with, you know, Captain America being, well, white and all.

Granted, Mark Millar changed Nick Fury’s race and turned him into Samuel L. Jackson for The Ultimates, but this is Captain America. A change of race for him would overshadow everything else about the film. I like Will Smith and don’t doubt he could do an solid job, but I’m not sure this would go over particularly well.

That being said, people scoffed when producers turned Starbuck into a woman, and that turned out well. And hey, I’d rather see Will Smith as Cap before seeing Leonardo DiCaprio play him.

One Reply to “The Buzz: Will Smith as Captain America???”

  1. I remember having a similar conversation ten years ago when we were trying to cast a lead for a new reboot of Batman. I have very little problem believing that Will Smith (Mister Fourth of July) underwent a dangerous procedure to become the epitome of human ability. Have you looked back on his transformation from the video for ‘Parents Just Don’t Understand’ all the way to Hancock? Jack Kirby couldn’t have illustrated it better himself! In terms of the race issue, fans will whine either way. If there is a white actor with as much charisma, screen presence, acting chops, and a super-hero build, then I can see a realistic debate for another actor. But this hypothetical actor has yet to step forward. From a broader franchise perspective, think about the Avengers as a team. Iron Man, Hulk, Thor… all white (don’t be a dick and say that the Hulk is green!). How does a team represent the best America has to offer without something other than only white men? How does a studio market this product to a diverse country and internationally?The Justice League has also faced similar problems. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Aquaman, Green Arrow are all white in the comics. Warner Bros. Animation added a black Green Lantern and Hawkgirl to add some diversity to the team. They recognized that certain characters allowed for some flexibility and that fans would be able to adjust to their interpretation of the League. And the show was definitely stronger for it. Does the concept of Captain America allow for flexibility in terms of race? Cap was born and raised in a poor neighborhood in New York. None of this seems bound by race. (this next bit is very tongue in cheek, so give me a ton of slack, and try imagine reading it while some patriotic song builds slowly in the background)If I was standing on the battlefield in some fictional war, I can think of some movie heroes I would follow into battle: Maximus from Gladiator (a Spaniard played by an Aussie), King Leonidas (a Spartan played by a Scot). I can also imagine Will Smith leading the way as Captain America (an American played by an American). (Would you like some wine with that cheese?)

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