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Joe Johnston Recruited To Direct Captain America

Marvel Studios has hired Joe Johnston to direct FIRST AVENGER: CAPTAIN AMERICA, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

The studio is hearing pitches and is expected to hire a writer soon to adapt the classic comic book character. Kevin Feige with Marvel is producing.

Starting with IRON MAN, Marvel has set in motion a film path leading to a big AVENGERS film for 2011. THOR, the IRON MAN sequel and CAPTAIN AMERICA (set for May 6, 2011) all will lay the ground work.

Johnston met with Marvel two years ago, with talks soon turning into Captain America-specific meetings. "This is a guy who designed the vehicles for STAR WARS, who storyboarded the convoy action sequence for RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, " Feige said. "From ROCKETEER to OCTOBER SKY to THE WOLFMAN, you can look at pieces of his movies and see how they lead to this one."

Captain America was created in 1941 by Timely Comics' Jack Kirby and Joe Simon. The character started as sickly Steve Rogers, who is rejected by the Army and undergoes an experiment to take him to the peak of human form. With his indestructible shield, Captain America became a symbol of the war effort both in and out of the comics world.

He was revived in the early era of Marvel Comics after disappearing in the 1950s as a part of the Avengers. His disappearance was explained in the comics by having him in a state of suspended animation during a war mission until his discovery by the superteam.

CAPTAIN AMERICA will be set during World War II, while the AVENGERS will take place in modern times. Louis D'Esposito, Stan Lee and Marvel Studios' chairman David Maisel are exec producing CAPTAIN AMERICA.

The character last appeared in a 1990 direct-to-video release from 21st Century Films starring Matt Salinger, who was defrosted in modern times to fight archnemesis the Red Skull.