Thesp negotiating to join 'Avenger' cast

Neal McDonough is negotiating to join the cast of Marvel’s “The First Avenger: Captain America” as “Dum Dum” Dugan.

The character, whose full name is Timothy Aloysius Cadwallader Dugan, had a central role in the comicbooks as a member of the Howling Commandos, an elite squad of soldiers who battle the Nazis alongside Captain America during World War II.

Chris Evans portrays the star-spangled superhero in the actioner that Paramount will distrib for Marvel on July 22, 2011. Joe Johnston is helming from a script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. Hugo Weaving will play the villain, Red Skull.

An officer of S.H.I.E.L.D., Dugan made his first appearance in the books in the early 1960s, and is known for his marksmanship talents with a rifle and recognized by his mustache and the bowler hat he wears. He’s a former strong man for the circus.

Marvel declined to officially comment as part of the company’s policy not to discuss pending deals, but sources close to both sides confirmed talks were under way.

The team of Howling Commandos may not be called that in the final film. But Marvel has started eyeing other talent to portray members of the group, which includes Gabe Jones, an African-American who carries a trumpet into battle. As is the case with other characters that appear in Marvel’s pics, they may also return for multiple films in other superhero outings the company makes.

McDonough played a villain on Wisteria Lane in ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” in the 2008-09 season. He also co-starred in HBO’s “Band of Brothers,” and the pics “Minority Report,” “Flags of our Fathers,” “88 Minutes” and “Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li.”

Kevin Feige will produce “Captain America” for Marvel, while Stephen Broussard serves as co-producer. David Maisel, Stratton Leopold, Louis D’Esposito and Stan Lee will exec produce.

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