Chris Evans to play ‘Captain America’

Thesp to star in three Marvel films, in addition to 'Avengers'

Chris Evans will don the star-spangled superhero suit to play Captain America for Marvel Entertainment.

Evans accepted an offer made by the comicbook publisher late last week, beating out a number of thesps who test-screened for the high-profile role.

Deal, which Evans’ reps are finalizing, calls for the actor to star in at least three “Captain America” movies, starting with “The First Avenger: Captain America,” which Marvel is set to invade theaters with on July 22, 2011. Paramount will distribute.

He also would reprise the role in “The Avengers,” which will unite Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the Incredible Hulk (Edward Norton) in one pic. That film is skedded for May 4, 2012. The character also will likely make cameo appearances in Marvel’s other pics, to tie together the world Marvel has been creating starting with the first “Iron Man.”

Joe Johnston, who most recently directed “The Wolfman” for Universal, will helm “Captain America” from a script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.

The character, created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, was introduced during the 1940s as a sickly young man who, when injected with a super-soldier serum, is turned into the perfect human weapon to aid the United States’ effort to fight the Nazis during World War II. His costume resembles the American flag and he flings an indestructible shield as his primary weapon. Pic will essentially be an origin story.

Hugo Weaving will play the villain, Red Skull.

Kevin Feige will produce for Marvel, Stephen Broussard serving as co-producer. David Maisel, Stratton Leopold, Louis D’Esposito and Stan Lee will exec produce.

Evans, who will be seen next in Warner Bros.’ “The Losers,” won the high-profile role of Steve Rogers after Marvel considered such thesps as John Krasinski, Channing Tatum, Chace Crawford, Ryan Phillippe, Garrett Hedlund, Michael Cassidy, Patrick Flueger, Scott Porter and Wilson Blethel.

Marvel already had a relationship with Evans, who played the role of Johnny Storm, aka the Human Torch, in Fox’s two “Fantastic Four” movies.

He also will appear in the adaptation of DC Comics’ “The Losers” in April, and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” based on the Oni Press graphic novels.

Marvel declined to confirm the agreement, although sources close to the company said the deal points were being worked out. The company has generally remained quiet on who’s working on its movies, even when directors are moving forward with pre-production on projects.

Evans had already signed on to co-star opposite Anna Faris in New Regency’s R-rated comedy “What’s Your Number,” which is also skedded to shoot this summer.

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