Brawny "Captain America" saved by "Skinny Steve"

Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:46pm EDT
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The story of Captain America is well covered in comic book lore: a scrawny, bullied orphan named Steve Rogers is chosen for a top secret government project during World War II in which he becomes a test subject for a super serum.

The serum transforms him into a strong and able soldier named Captain America, and he leads the U.S. Army in its fight against the Nazis.

Actor Chris Evans, who plays the title character in Friday's release of "Captain America: The First Avenger," put on 15 lbs. of muscle to play the role.

The problem: he got too big for Steve Rodgers. Solution: "Skinny Steve."

Having literally built Evans into what the film's director Joe Johnston called "the perfect human specimen," the movie makers had to figure out how the 6 ft. tall actor with the muscled-up physique could convincingly portray the pre-serum Steve Rogers, a scrawny kid of a mere 90-something lbs.

Hollywood has dealt with on screen body changes in many ways over the years. The cast and crew of the 2000 film "Cast Away" took a year-long break so its star, Tom Hanks -- who first gained 50 lbs. for the role -- could drop weight to look like he'd been stranded on a tropical island for years.

One option for "Captain America" was to superimpose Evans' head on a skinny body double, much like the technology employed by filmmaker David Fincher in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" when Brad Pitt had to age backward.

Last year Fincher employed the same technique in "The Social Network," in which Armie Hammer played Tyler Winklevoss and identical twin brother Cameron Winklevoss, which meant digitally putting Hammer's head on actor Josh Pence's body.   Continued...

<p>Chris Evans arrives at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles June 5, 2011. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>