(at around 37 mins) Hayley Atwell surprisingly touching Chris Evans' chest, as he emerged from the pod upon turning into Captain America, was very much improvised, and the surprise on her face is genuine, as she admitted in interviews she was very taken by Chris' physique and nearly broke character and ruined the take that made it into the film, as a result.
Most of the shots were done by a Los Angeles company called LOLA, that specializes in digital "plastic surgery." The technique involved shrinking Chris Evans in all dimensions. They shot each "skinny Steve" scene at least four times; once like a normal scene with Evans and his fellow actors in the scene, once with Evans alone in front of a green screen so his element could be reduced digitally, again with everyone in the scene but with Evans absent so that the shrunken Steve could be re-inserted into the scene, and finally with a body double mimicking Evans's actions in case the second technique was required. When Evans had to interact with other characters in the scene, they had to either lower him or raise the other actors on apple boxes, or elevated walkways to make 'skinny Steve' shorter in comparison. For close-ups, Evans's fellow actors had to look at marks on his chin that represented where his eyes would be after the shrinking process, and Evans had to look at marks on the tops of the actor's head to represent their eyes. The second technique involved grafting Evans' head onto the body double. This technique was used mostly when Evans was sitting or lying down, or when a minimum of physical acting was required.
Chris Evans declined the role three times before accepting the part - not out of dislike for the role, but because he feared what the effects of the sudden increase of fame would be on his private life. Then Robert Downey Jr. convinced him to take the part, and thus gain the freedom to sign on any other role he'd want to afterwards. After that, he had a meeting with the director and the producers who convinced him to take the role.
Originally cameo appearances were planned in the film for James "Logan" Howlett (Wolverine) and Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto), who were present during World War II (Logan was a soldier and Lehnsherr was in an internment camp). These cameos were scrapped due to rights issues.
The Captain America comic book shown in the movies bears the cover of the actual Captain America #1 released in 1941.
Stanley Tucci took the role of Dr. Erskine, because the role enabled him to use a German accent, which he always wanted to do.
(at around 11 mins) In the exhibition, there is a mannequin in a red jumpsuit under a glass dome. That is a reference to the android, the original Human Torch, the first superhero created by Timely Comics (October 1939), which eventually became Marvel Comics. He was also part of The Invaders along with Namor and Captain America. Marvel Comics recycled the name and abilities with the Fantastic Four's Johnny Storm (1961). Chris Evans portrayed Johnny Storm/Human Torch in the first two 'Fantastic Four' films.
Hayley Atwell based her performance as Peggy Carter on Ginger Rogers: "She can do everything Captain America can do, but backwards, and in high heels."
Despite being 'The First Avenger', Captain America was not the first avenger in the comics. In comics, Ant-Man, Wasp, Hulk, Iron Man, and Thor were the first ones. Only after Hulk left the team, Captain America joined the avengers. Nor is Captain America the oldest, as Thor is several centuries older.
(at around 1h 14 mins) The red dress that Peggy wears, in the second act of the film, was designed by Anna B. Sheppard for Mélanie Laurent in Inglourious Basterds (2009), but never wore in that film.
(at around 6 mins) The wall art, hiding the Tesseract at the beginning of the film, shows the World Tree, the same concept design that Thor shares with Jane Foster in Thor (2011).
To prepare for his role as Bucky, Sebastian Stan watched many World War II films and documentaries, and drew inspiration from Band of Brothers (2001).
Even though the vial of serum stolen by the Hydra agent is broken, another showed up in The Incredible Hulk (2008) to be injected into Emil Blonsky (making him the Abomination). You can even see "Vita-Ray" written on the refrigerated storage container. According to canon many attempts were made to replicate the Super-Soldier experiment, but for a yet-unexplained reason it only ever worked on Steve Rogers. In Captain America: Civil War (2016) it is revealed that several other super soldiers were eventually created during the Cold War (with a similar-looking serum stolen from Howard Stark), but the process left them aggressive and impossible to control.
(at around 12 mins) At the Expo, Howard Stark demonstrates his semi-functional "Reversion" technology. It's an obvious precursor to Tony Stark's "Repulsors", perfected for his Iron Man armor. They both even have an orange glow when functioning.
(at around 8 mins) Summary of Patient Health Issues (for Skinny Steve Rogers): Asthma, Scarlet fever, Rheumatic fever, Epilepsy, Sinusitis, Chronic or frequent colds, High blood pressure, Palpitations or pounding in heart, Easy fatiguability, Heart Trouble, Nervous trouble of any sort, Has had household contact with tuberculosis patient, Parent/Sibling with diabetes, cancer, stroke or (?).
Chris Evans and Sebastian Stan are about the same height. A camera trick (not CGI) made Captain America look much taller than Bucky Barnes.
HYDRA's futurist aircraft take their designs from actual World War II German concepts such as the Horten H.XVIII flying wing bomber and Triebflügeljäger fighter plane.
The shield Captain America uses in the early stages of the film, is similar to the one used in the first issue of the Captain America comic. The shield was changed in the comics, after publisher of the comic character "The Shield" had complained that Captain America was too similar to their character.
This is Chris Evans' sixth comic book movie after the first two Fantastic Four movies, Push (2009), The Losers (2010), and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010). He also voiced Casey Jones in TMNT (2007), also based on a comic book.
(at around 43 mins) Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) is only called the "Red Skull" twice in the movie, first when the Fuhrer's representatives come to shut down HYDRA, and second in the letter that is read by the German S.S. officer from Adolf Hitler.
(at around 1h 2 mins) During the escape from the HYDRA facility, Dugan and Jones steal a tank. As they drive away, you hear Dugan exclaim "Wahoo!" In the comics, this is the battle cry of the Howling Commandos, of which both men are members.
Hugo Weaving has gone on record stating that he is indifferent to the film, and has very little interest in reprising his role as the Red Skull, due to the difficulty of the make-up process involved.
The comic version of Captain America's shield, is most commonly said to be a mixture of Vibranium and Adamantium. Vibranium = the shield's ability to absorb vibrations; Adamantium = the shield's (near) invincibility. However, because Adamantium is part of the X-Men/Wolverine mythos, which film rights are owned by 20th Century Fox, the Adamantium part had to be left out of this version.
Shields made of different materials were used depending on what was needed for the shot. Rubber shields were used for when Captain America punches people with it. For scenes where he put the shield on his back, magnets were used to keep it in place. In many of the scenes where he is seen throwing the shield, Chris Evans would mime out the actions of catching and throwing the shield, with the shield being added later, using CGI.
Hugo Weaving based the Red Skull's accent on renowned German filmmaker Werner Herzog and Austrian actor Klaus Maria Brandauer.
Baron Zemo and Baron von Strucker originally appeared as side villains working with the Red Skull, but the writers cut them from the script due to fears that they would be wasted in such small roles. Strucker ended up being used in the post-credits sequence of Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), as well as a major role in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), while Zemo became a villain in Captain America: Civil War (2016)..
(at around 1h 2 mins) When in the tank, Jones tells Dugan he studied three semesters German at Howard, and then switched to French, because the girls were much prettier. In the German version, he says he studied mechanical engineering at Harvard, but not for long, because the girls were so ugly.
Joe Simon, who created the "Captain America" comic in 1941 (before Stan Lee revived it in 1964), was approached to make a cameo appearance in the film.
After Joss Whedon was hired to direct The Avengers (2012), he was given a copy of the film's script, and made a few rewrites to tie it more closely to the Marvel Cinematic Universe: "I just got to make some character connections. The structure of the thing was really tight and I loved it, but there were a couple of opportunities to find his voice a little bit - and some of the other characters - and make the connections so that you understood exactly why he wanted to be who he wanted to be. And progressing through the script to flesh it out a little bit."
Johann Schmidt/Red Skull's car was built from scratch over a modified truck chassis. It was 25 feet long and eight feet wide. Its design was inspired by the Mercedes 540K and the Mercedes G4, and included an exposed "supercharger" between the front wheels. The car had a 700 horsepower Drexler engine just to move it. Director Joe Johnston actually took it for a drive: "I drove it myself and it has about a 38-foot turning radius. So it's not a lot of fun to drive. But it looked fantastic. Just a beautiful car."
Stan Lee's cameo appearance in this film, is an exception in the tradition of him appearing in films featuring Marvel Comics superheroes. In this case, Lee had nothing to do with the initial creation of Captain America, but his first story he ever wrote was "Captain America Foils the Traitor's Revenge" in Captain America Comics #3 in 1941, which also had the first appearance of Captain America throwing his shield as a weapon. In addition, he, along with Jack Kirby, was responsible for successfully reviving the character in 1964 in The Avengers #4 and reestablishing him as a major figure in the Marvel Universe.
The first Captain America comic makes a cameo in the film. In real-life, the movie is inspired by the comic book, while in the movie, the comic book is inspired by "real-life."
(at around 1h 13 mins) When the commando team is put together, the French teammate says: ''Moi, je combattrai jusqu'à ce que le dernier de ces bâtards soient morts, enchaînés ou bien pleurent comme un petit bébé.'' Translated, it means: 'I will fight until the last of those bastards are dead, chained or cry like a little baby.' Then his friend replies: ''J'espère que ce sera tous les trois.' ( 'I hope it will be all three.'') ''Moi aussi'' (''Me too'') the first one concludes.
Chris Evans was attracted to the role of Captain America by its character: "Even if it wasn't a comic book. I think the story of Steve Rogers is great. He's a great guy. Even if it was just a script about anybody, I would probably want to do it. It wasn't necessarily about the comic itself. He's a great character to play; he just happens to be a comic book character."
Throughout the film, Steve uses a side arm, while fighting Skull's forces. In the comics, he used a side arm until realizing that his new shield (that President Franklin D. Roosevelt gives him) could be used as a weapon, by throwing it, and it subsequently replaces the side arm.
Captain America's special forces unit that he assembles and leads, is an amalgamation of the characters of Marvel Comics' World War II period titles. These are the 1960s war title, "Sergeant Fury and his Howling Commandos", about an elite special forces infantry unit, and the 1970s "The Invaders", about a superhero team operating during the war, under the command of Captain America. The contributions of the former title include most of the soldier characters, while the latter includes Captain America, Bucky, and James Montgomery Falsworth, who appears in the comic book as the British superhero, Union Jack.
(at around 1h 35 mins) When Colonel Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones), Peggy, and Captain America are chasing the HYDRA plane in Schmidt's car, Colonel Phillips presses a red button, with the letter K on it and the German words Gefahr Nicht Drucken surrounding it which translates in English to "Danger Do Not Push", sending the car speeding faster down the runway. In the film Men in Black (1997), Tommy Lee Jones' character Kay warns his partner J to never "ever touch the red button", and later in the film tells him to "push the little red button" sending their car speeding down a tunnel. Ironically, his character's name in that movie is K while the button his pushes to make the car go faster in this movie has the letter K on it.
Unlike some of his other fellow actors who play parts in the film, Chris Evans didn't have to audition for the role of Steve Rogers/Captain America, since the filmmakers were desperate to have him play the part.
The final Paramount Pictures film produced with Marvel Studios. Disney bought the rights to The Avengers (2012) and Iron Man 3 (2013).
(at around 1h 18 mins) When Steve discovers the gunmetal circular shield in the development office of Howard Stark, he asks what it's made from. Vibranium is a fictional element in the Marvel universe that comes from the country of Wakanda, the land where The Black Panther, another Marvel superhero, lives.
The villain's name Johann Schmidt is basically a German translation of the English name John Smith - a popular stock name and alias in English and U.S. pop culture.
Louis Leterrier viewed some of the concept art for the film, and was impressed enough to offer his services, but Marvel Studios turned him down. However, his film (The Incredible Hulk (2008)) features a small appearance by Captain America: a deleted scene set in the Arctic, features his body hidden in a slab of ice.
That Steve Rogers sketches costume designs for Howard Stark, and is caught doodling pictures of himself as a circus monkey refers to the comics' depiction of Cap's alter ego as an artist since 1979 - he even worked on the fictional Captain America comic book published on Marvel Earth. There is a very similar scene of Steve drawing costumes and caricatures of himself in the 1991 comic miniseries "The Adventures of Captain America" which detailed his origin. This series seems also to have been influential in other ways - for example, the character of Peggy Carter in the film (which is very different from the comics) is reminiscent of Steve's love interest Lieutenant Cynthia Glass in the miniseries - who there, turned out to be a German spy in the end, however.
Stanley Tucci and Toby Jones (who star as Erskine and Arnim Zola respectively) both co-starred as the Panem Announcers in The Hunger Games (2012).
Sam Worthington and Will Smith were in early talks for the role of Captain America. Later on Garrett Hedlund, Channing Tatum, Scott Porter, Mike Vogel, Sebastian Stan, Chris Evans, Wilson Bethel, John Krasinski, Chad Michael Murray, Michael Cassidy, Chace Crawford, Derek Theler and Jensen Ackles were on the final shortlist for the role. Kellan Lutz, Ryan Phillippe, and Alexander Skarsgård carried out auditions, but ultimately the role went to Evans. Stan eventually secured the role of Bucky Barnes. Both Murray and Theler would be later be cast in TV series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Murray as Jack Thompson in Agent Carter (2015) and Theler as Craig Hollis/Mr. Immortal in Marvel's New Warriors (2018)
While Abraham Erskine is still a German defector, the movie adds the additional twist that before defecting, he was forced to test the serum in Germany on Johann Schmidt.
This is the fifth live-action adaptation of the superhero. The first, was the serial Captain America (1944); the second, was the television movie Captain America (1979), and its sequel Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979); and the fourth, was the theatrical film Captain America (1990).
(at around 1h 20 mins) The sniper rifle Bucky uses to save Cap, is a modified 1941 Johnson rifle, which was adopted in limited numbers by the U.S. Marine Corps.
(at around 50 mins) During Captain America's war bond drive, the tank burning in the background of the black and white film is an M5 Stuart tank painted with German insignia. This is correct to 1940's Hollywood film making, as they had no actual German tanks, so they'd paint U.S. vehicles with German sigils.
Up until a very late stage in pre-production, HYDRA would have been a blatantly Nazi paramilitary organization, with swastikas on their uniform. The implication is still present in the final version, however. In addition, deleted scenes also had HYDRA explicitly attacking Nazis in addition to Allied powers.
Paul Warren (an experienced film double and actor, mostly known for roles wearing prosthetics) was used in pre-production to help develop the 'Skinny Steve Rogers' effect by CGI supervisor, Christopher Townsend, as well as one of the 'Skinny Steve' on set stand-ins. English Shakespearean trained stage actor, Leander Deeny, was used as the on set as the 'Skinny Steve' double when Chris Evans was sitting or lying down, or when a minimum of physical movement was required.
Sebastian Stan was considered for the role of Captain America, but got the role of Bucky instead.
Reb Brown and Matt Salinger, who both portrayed Captain America in previous adaptations, separately contacted producers for the opportunity to make cameos in the film.
Joe Johnston also directed The Rocketeer (1991). In that film, the hero, Cliff Secord, finds a rocket pack created by Howard Hughes, thus becoming The Rocketeer. In this film, Captain America obtains his iconic shield from Howard Stark, a character closely based on Howard Hughes.
(at around 7 mins) In the beginning of the movie, Johann Schmidt, while gazing at the tesseract, says "...And the Führer digs for trinkets in the desert." This is reference to another Paramount picture, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). Joe Johnston was part of the Academy Award winning visual effects team from ILM on that film.
Screenwriter David Self, who wrote a draft of the script, claimed Captain America was his favorite childhood superhero: "My dad told me I could one day be Captain America."
Joe Johnston was chosen as the film's director because of his previous work on the period films The Rocketeer (1991) and October Sky (1999).
(at around 11 mins) In the room where Stark demonstrates his Reversion technology, you can see behind the audience, hanging from the ceiling is a model of a red rocket with a black-and-white checked stripe in the middle. This is the rocket from the Belgian graphic novels "Tintin: Objectif Lune" and "Tintin: On a marché sur la Lune" by Georges Prosper Remi (a.k.a. Hergé).
Despite being "The First Avenger", it is the last solo Avenger film to be released before the team-up film, The Avengers (2012).
Alice Eve, Gemma Arterton, and Keira Knightley were considered for the role of Peggy Carter. Emily Blunt turned down the role.
Edgar Wright had been rumored to have secretly rewritten the film, but he publicly denied this. Wright would soon write his own Marvel Studios film, Ant-Man (2015), but left the film before it was finished, due to a falling out with Marvel.
(at around 17 mins) In the first scene with Zola and Schmidt, Schmidt is looking at images of the Tesseract, including one, which is a doctored photograph of a section of a famous carved wooden doorway from a church in Hylestad, Norway. The actual carving depicts the hero Sigurd helping the smith Regin forge a sword, which Sigurd will use to slay the dragon Fafnir. The Tesseract has been photoshopped in between the two men. A later image appearing behind Schmidt's head when Dr. Erskine is telling Steve about Schmidt seems to represent Sigurd listening to the birds, who tell him to kill Regin, and seek the Valkyrie, Brunhild. The Sigurd story is the Norse version of the Siegfried tale, whose operatic realization by Richard Wagner Schmidt listens to; in Wagner's version, Siegfried is the product of incest between Wotan (Odin's) twin children.
(at around 12 mins) After Howard Stark's demonstration at the Expo, you can hear an instrumental version of "Make Way for Tomorrow Today" from Iron Man 2 (2010) playing in the background.
Three actors in this film played characters on Doctor Who (2005) alongside Matt Smith. Toby Jones (Dr. Zola) as the Dream Lord, David Bradley (Tower Keeper) as Solomon and Jenna Coleman (Connie) as Clara Oswald.
Originally, cameo appearances were planned in the film for Namor the Sub-Mariner, the Prince of Atlantis, but this was scrapped.
WILHELM SCREAM: (at around 1h 30 mins) Rogers is pursued by HYDRA soldiers on motorcycles, but releases a flamethrower defense. One screams as he swerves, loses control, and is thrown headlong.
The most northern target on the maps in HYDRA's headquarters appears the be Peenemünde. Almost due north of Berlin, it was the center for Von Braun's rocket program.
Hugo Weaving's character in this film, is named "Schmidt". In the "Matrix" movies, Weaving's name is "Smith" - the English translation of "Schmidt".
Scarlett Johansson was rumored to be reprising her role as Black Widow in this movie, but this never came to be.
The aircraft used by Howard Stark to fly Captain America behind German lines is a "Beechcraft Model 18" also known as "Twin Beech." It was first built in 1937 and was a true multi-role small transport plane used widely by the Army Air Corps and numerous civil companies for transport of cargo, supply goods and wounded personnel.
Dane Cook, Kevin Jonas, and Joe Jonas auditioned for the role of Steve Rogers/Captain America.
Neal McDonough plays a soldier in the 107th Infantry. In Band of Brothers (2001) he played an officer in the 101st Parachute Infantry Regiment, which also fought in Europe throughout World War II.
Jon Favreau was originally chosen by Marvel Studios to direct this film (which he intended to make as a buddy comedy), but he chose to direct Iron Man (2008). Nick Cassavetes, was also considered to direct this film, and had been set as a director for Iron Man (2008) in December 2004.
The design of Red Skull's flying fortress in the climax of the film was heavily inspired by Spriggan, the boss of the Air Battle level in the Nintendo 64 video game "Aerofighters Assault."
David Bradley and Toby Jones previously appeared together in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), along with Kenneth Branagh, the director of Thor (2011).
The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Rosamund Pike and Alexa Davalos screen tested for the role of Peggy Carter.
Richard Armitage and Hugo Weaving would later co-star in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012). Here, they have no scenes together.
Chris Evans' previously played Johnny Storm in the Marvel comic book films Fantastic Four (2005) and Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007). This is Chris Evans' third Marvel comic book film.
Hugo Weaving and Stanley Tucci both appeared in the Transformers movies, but they did not share any screen time together, Hugo having his voice used as Megatron in the first three movies , while Stanley appeared only in the fourth Transformers movie.
Tommy Lee Jones, who plays Colonel Phillips, also appeared as Two-Face/Harvey Dent in Batman Forever (1995). Both Captain America and Batman faced off in the Marvel vs. DC crossover in 1996.
Stan Lee makes a cameo appearance as a general. The officer sitting next to him is played by Reb Brown, who played Captain America in a pair of made-for-tv movies in 1979.
In the beginning of the movie, Red Skull is portrayed wearing a masked version of what is assumed to be his previously skinned appearance before he took the Super Soldier serum. He later takes off the mask to reveal his red, scorched-looking flesh, once referring to it as being "burned". Hugo Weaving also played in V for Vendetta (2005) as V, an anarchist who wears a Guy Fawkes mask for several reasons including hiding large-area burns covering his body.
(at around 50 mins) Laura Haddock plays an autograph seeker. She would later play Peter "Star-Lord" Quill's mother Meredith Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017).
Hugo Weaving's second consecutive collaboration with Joe Johnston, having worked with him previously on The Wolfman (2010).
The character Jacques Dernier's name translates from French to English as "Jack Last."
The teaser poster, with Cap looking down at his shield and the caption "Avenge," was altered by a New England Patriots fan prior to Super Bowl XLVI (2012) to be Tom Brady.
Steve's throwaway line, "I'm a captain!" is his actual comic book military rank. Unlike most superheroes with military titles, Captain America is an officer in the US Army, and in various storylines his real identity is known by high-ranking members of the government and military.
Jensen Ackles, who plays Dean Winchester on the CW show Supernatural (2005), was of the choices to portray Captain America. Chris Evans, who plays Captain America, also played a character named Jensen in the movie The Losers (2010).
This film features one of four Doctor Who stars to have a role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Toby Jones appears in this, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) (as well as Doctor Who (2005)), while Karen Gillan and Peter Serafinowicz (Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)), and Christopher Eccleston (Thor: The Dark World (2013)) all played various characters in the Doctor Who series.
Jenna Coleman and Natalie Dormer would both later work with Maisie Williams and Emilia Clarke. Natalie Dormer co-starred with Maisie Williams and Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones (2011), in which she played Margery Tyrell. Maisie Williams appeared in the ninth season of Doctor Who (2005) as recurring character Ashildr, and Jenna Coleman, who played Clara Oswald in Doctor Who, later starred opposite Emilia Clarke in Me Before You (2016).
Stan Lee: (at around 1h 12 mins) military dignitary at a medal ceremony for Captain America. He is also the older gentleman saying: "I thought he'd be taller", when Captain America fails to show up at Senator Brandt's ceremony. This is Lee's only cameo in a feature film adaptation of a Marvel Comics superhero character where he was not an original creator. However, he did create the element of Captain America using his shield as a returning throwing weapon in an early text story in Captain America Comics #3, "Captain America Foils the Traitor's Revenge." Furthermore, he was responsible for reviving the character in the 1960s, first as a member of the Avengers and then in a solo series which focused on the hero being a troubled man out of his time after years of being in suspended animation.