Entertainment Weekly FIRST LOOK: CAPTAIN AMERICA

We’ve already seen a couple images from the upcoming CAPTAIN AMERICA film, but now Entertainment Weekly is bringing us something more…

For fans of superhero movies, the most patriotic holiday on next year’s calendar won’t fall on July 4th, but exactly 18 days later. That’s when Paramount Pictures will release Captain America: The First Avenger, a big budget adaptation of the Marvel Comics shield-baring super-soldier. The new issue of Entertainment Weekly offers your first look at star Chris Evans in the hero’s red, white and blue threads — but you can get a peek at the man in uniform right here, right now.

Our story also brings you to the set of the London-based production, directed by Joe Johnston (The Wolfman, October Sky). During a break in shooting, Evans — on his second tour of Marvel duty, having played the Human Torch in Fox’s Fantastic Four films — explained he was reluctant to accept the call of Captain America, in part because he had already portrayed a Marvel-ous mystery man. Of course, he also worried about the potential cost of failure, but he also worried the potential cost of fame should the movie be a hit.

Our story also brings you to the set of the London-based production, directed by Joe Johnston (The Wolfman, October Sky). During a break in shooting, Evans — on his second tour of Marvel duty, having played the Human Torch in Fox’s Fantastic Four films — explained he was reluctant to accept the call of Captain America, in part because he had already portrayed a Marvel-ous mystery man. Of course, he also worried about the potential cost of failure, but he also worried the potential cost of fame should the movie be a hit.

“At the time, I remember telling a buddy of mine, ‘If the movie bombs, I’m f—-ed. If the movie hits, I’m f—-ed!’” After declining the part three times, Evans took a meeting with Marvel execs and Johnston and was dazzled by their plans for the movie. He still felt wary about suiting up for Captain America — but then he had an epiphany. “I was just scared,” he says. “I realized my whole decision making process was fear based, and you never want to make a decision out of fear.’” Evans signed a six-picture deal with Marvel to play the character, and he has no regrets: “I can’t believe was almost too chicken to play Captain America.”

The movie — which also serves to set up Marvel’s 2012 superhero team-up, The Avengers — hews closely to Captain America’s WWII-era origins. The year is 1942, and Steve Rogers is a scrawny lad who desperately wants to fight Nazis for his country but can’t because he’s been deemed physically unfit. His fate — and his physique — is radically transformed when he signs up for Project: Rebirth, a secret military operation that turns wimps into studs using drugs and assorted sci-fi hoo-ha. There’s a love interest (Major Peggy Carter, played Haley Atwell), there’s a sidekick (Bucky Barnes, played by Sebastian Stans), and there’s the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), Hitler’s treacherous head of advanced weaponry, whose own plan for world domination involves a magical object known as The Tesseract (comic fans know it better as The Cosmic Cube).

“The interesting thing about this character is that he’s an everyman who in the course of a few minutes become a perfect human specimen. That has to create some interesting personal issues,” says Johnston. “I saw it as an opportunity to make a superhero movie that felt real, that didn’t have to rely on an overabundance of fantasy elements.”

If you’re a Captain America fan counting down to the film, then here are a couple figures you might enjoy in the mean time–you know, until the movie brings a boatload more!

MARVEL SELECT CAPTAIN AMERICA
An 8-inch figure sculpted by Sam Greenwell, it features a gargoyle base that makes it awesome for display and can be posed in a ton of different ways thanks to its 14 points of articulation.

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES 1: CAPTAIN AMERICA
From the first series of the amazing Marvel Legends line, this Cap figure is based on his first appearance in 1941, when he was created by Simon and Kirby to stand as both character and icon in the Marvel Universe and the American consciousness.

KOTOBUKIYA CAPTAIN AMERICA STATUE
The brilliant designers at Kotobukiya present this 12.5-inch statue of Cap holding his iconic shield aloft and looking ready to face whatever enemy of his nation should come his way.

CAPTAIN AMERICA vs RED SKULL TWIN PACK
From Marvel Legends comes a 2-pack that represented one of Marvel’s greatest conflicts: that between Captain America and the villainous Red Skull. The arch-enemies come with a 32-page comic that explores their long-lasting feud!

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES 8: ULTIMATE CAPTAIN AMERICA
The modern-day costume for Steve Rogers comes to life in this Ultimate Captain America from Marvel Legends’ eighth series. Standing about 7 inches, he comes with a Marvel TCG card!

MIGHTY MUGGS RED SKULL
The hyper-stylized MIGHTY MUGGS line brings us this Previews exclusive RED SKULL 7-inch figure. Looking surprisingly adorable for…well, a red skull, he still possesses a withering glare and that cruel smile.

Conan O’Brien Finds New Home at TBS

“In three months I’ve gone from network television to Twitter to performing live in theaters, and now I’m headed to basic cable. My plan is working perfectly.”

Yesterday’s big entertainment buzz was all about Conan O’Brien and his upcoming move to TBS. Naturally, I was very much Team Coco when NBC pulled the switcheroo on their Tonight Show hosts, so I’m thrilled that Conan’s got a brand new place to go once he returns from his live tour.

I’ll admit, however, that when I heard it wasn’t going to be FOX and that TBS was getting Coney, I was slightly…nervous? Put off? Uncertain? After all, it’s not exactly known for…well, anything except syndicated sitcoms or some truly terrible syndicated comedy.

Fortunately, the folks at Entertainment Weekly feel my pain and the pain of all other Coco fans feeling grim about TBS and thus have written a pretty great article about why we should all be very, very happy…

With the news that Conan O’Brien will start a show on TBS in November, there are going to be a lot of people dubious about his decision and scoffing at his new chosen network. Here’s why you shouldn’t.


1. Conan will get a big audience.

I mean by comparison. From the moment he premieres, given the outreach of basic cable combined with TBS’ easy-to-locate position on most cable systems, O’Brien will immediately draw more viewers than Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert. (And if you think TBS’ 10-11 p.m. line-up of Family Guy and The Office reruns is a poor lead-in for Conan, just remember that Comedy Central’s South Park reruns and stand-up-comic specials don’t do Stewart and Colbert any favors, either.)
Conan won’t come close to Leno and Letterman in ratings, of course. But the perception (that combo of hype, demos, and word-of-mouth) will be that Conan is a hit. And perception counts for a lot. It’s what makes some of you think Jon Stewart, as good as he is, out-draws your local news at 11. He doesn’t.


2. Conan instantly makes a square cable channel seem hip.

Hip and cool have always been important to O’Brien and his audience, even if they don’t admit it. If there’s one thing we learned about Conan from his Tonight Show run, it’s that O’Brien is an acquired taste for mass America. Being on TBS enables O’Brien to bestow his hipness upon a low-rent cable channel. And if there’s one thing we learned about Conan’s audience from his Tonight Show run, it’s that they love to consider themselves a beleaguered cult of cognoscenti. Well, Conan’s arrival at TBS will enable Team Coco to do something cults love: take something that’s considered lame and single handedly raise it to cool status.


3. The alternative — Fox — would likely have been a disaster.

As I’ve written before, Fox has never launched a successful late-night talk show, and Conan would have immediately been discussed in the media in the same breath as such failures as the Chevy Chase and Joan Rivers shows. That’s not good publicity. Plus, the lead-in Fox outlets would have provided (some of them grumpily) for O’Brien is, in most markets, its local news, not the biggest ratings-gatherers. It’s far better for Conan to mount a fresh version of his old show in a new outlet, which is what TBS provides.