Captain America 2 is casting its female lead, with the final choice said to be down to Anna Kendrick, Imogen Poots and Felicity Jones. That’s an intriguing list, not only for what it says about which character they might be playing, but what we can expect Cap 2 to look like. It’s shaping up to be a lot less “golly-gee” than The First Avenger was, with comedy veterans Anthony and Joe Russo behind the camera and actors who are not only sharp but witty filling out the cast.
So what do these three young actresses tell us? Everyone has been assuming that Cap’s modern-day love would be Sharon Carter, an agent of SHIELD and the descendant of his World War II crush, Peggy Carter (which is incredibly creepy in the comics and I’d be perfectly happy if this did not actually happen on screen). There has been some talk of Hayley Atwell returning to play Sharon (increasing the creepy factor), which still has not been ruled out. At the very least, I expect we’ll see Atwell as Peggy in a cameo, either in a flashback or in old lady makeup for some sort of Whedon-esque heart-fail moment. But this list of ladies, Kendrick, Poots and Jones, makes me think Sharon Carter might not be the central focus at all.
There’s a female superhero called the Wasp, aka Janet van Dyne. She’s lame, in her original “my boyfriend’s magic shrinking dust turned me into a wasp” incarnation. She also very nearly made it into The Avengers. The Wasp was a late cut from the script, and Joss Whedon is said to be a big fan. The modern development of the character is actually pretty solid—she’s a socialite, sarcastic but geeky underneath, not unlike Tony Stark (and moves in his same social circle). Janet van Dyne presents the opportunity to not only introduce another female superhero—which is one of Whedon’s top priorities for the franchise as a whole—but she would make a great foil to the more serious, strait-laced Cap (not unlike Stark in The Avengers).
If I had a vote, I’d go with Kendrick. I’m a huge fan of Poots (God, that name!), and have been watching her development for the last 5-6 years, but I can’t quite see it this time. And Jones, well, I’ve met her. She’s beautiful, yes. Crazy gorgeous face. But she didn’t slay me with her presence. There…wasn’t a lot of it. And while she may very well be shy—many actors are—I didn’t meet her at a public event with a couple hundred people vying for her attention. It was a casual cocktail thing with a moderate crowd and no one demanding anything. She was lovely, but just sort of there.
Kendrick? She’s a throwback to a Myrna Loy type. Pretty and cute, sure, but her real draw is her wit. Kendrick is sharp. She isn’t the loudest person or biggest personality, but she’s got a fair amount of zip, and solid comic timing. I can see her meshing well with Evans. (She also has the advantage of maybe-dating Edgar Wright, who is set to direct Ant Man for Marvel next year. I can’t pin down if this is still an on-going situation, but they dated for at least a couple years.) Kendrick is in a similar position to the Chris Evans of two years ago—poised to break out and not quite delivering. Could Captain America 2 do for her what Captain America did for him? (Lainey: I just interviewed Kendrick for Paranorman a couple of weeks ago. Sarah’s right -- she’s incredibly engaging, articulate, and smart. Which, that’s not often something you say about an actor. PS. Did you know she can sing? Duana is beside herself with anticipation for Pitch Perfect.)