According to the Heat Vision Blog at the Hollywood Reporter, actor Hugo Weaving is in negotiations with Marvel Studios to play villain The Red Skull in "The First Avenger: Captain America." Weaving is best known to genre fans as Agent Smith in "The Matrix" trilogy and as Elf Lord Elrond in "The Lord of the Rings."
The Heat Vision article states "the dealmaking with Weaving is in a delicate stage that will play out in the next day or so. Agencies grouse that Marvel plays hardball in the negotiating process and also demands multi-movie commitments, though the latter usually applies to actors playing its heroes." Indeed, rumors abound of long-term commitments of up to six films per actor in the various Marvel projects leading up to 2012's "The Avengers. "
Still to be cast is the title role itself. After a shortlist appeared two weeks ago, most of the actors mentioned have since announced they have not won the part or are taking other jobs. As recently as last Tuesday, "The Office" star John Krasinski appeared to be the front runner, only to shortly sign onto an unrelated two-picture romantic comedy deal slated to begin shooting during "The Office" production hiatus. Current rumors peg "Losers" and "Fantastic Four" actor Chris Evans as the possible lead.
Heat Vision describes The Red Skull as "Captain America’s archenemy since 1941, when he engaged in espionage and sabotage as Hitler’s right-hand man." The article also mentions "In his final battle with the superhero, he was buried under the rubble of a bombed building but — as would occur later with Captain America — fell into a state of suspended animation. Both were revived in modern times."
"The First Avenger: Captain America" is slated to be released on July 22nd, 2011. Production is expected to begin soon under the direction of Joe Johnston, who most recently worked with Weaving on "The Wolfman."