Captain America Down To Four? *Updated*

It has been a confusing day on the “Captain America” casting front with one of the previously rumoured contenders moving to the forefront and then later being shot down.

In the morning Fox 411 apparently confirmed an old Cinematical scoop that it is “very likely” that “The Office” star John Krasinski will be the new Steve Rogers as “he is a favorite among the key decision makers and has been asked to come back for more this week”. Krasinski has already read for the role four times and screen tested twice with the multiple actresses up for the female leads to ensure chemistry.

Hold on though, now Deadline New York and later Heat Vision both reports that Marvel Studios has expanded its search while at the same time cutting down on the original candidates list which apparently does not include Krasinski in the new short list. The names that are still in contention are:

1. Chris Evans

A recent addition to the list by Marvel execs, 28-year-old Evans is the most well-known of the candidates with an impressive resume including leading roles in “Push,” “Cellular,” “Not Another Teen Movie” and key supporting roles in “Sunshine,” “Street Kings,” and the upcoming “The Losers”.

Unlike the other three, Evans has shown an adept on-screen skill for handling comedy mixed in with his drama and action, while his physique is the most gym-toned and ‘super soldier-esque’ of the batch.

Going against him is the fact that he’s already been a superhero, playing Johnny Storm/The Human Torch in the two “Fantastic Four” films, and generally Evans tends to just play a cocky version of himself in most of his films.

Then again with Ryan Reynolds playing both Deadpool in “Wolverine” and the titular “Green Lantern” in the upcoming Warners/DC feature – one actor playing more than one hero isn’t that unheard of.

However Evans is more Marvel’s choice than director Joe Johnston who is high on Krasinski, so ultimately its one of the others that’ll probably be selected as a compromise. Evans has read for the part and will likely test for it next week.

2. Garrett Hedlund

On Marvel’s original wish list but hasn’t tested yet due to scheduling, Hedlund is still in contention but his reps are apparently not very keen on the paltry nine-film, $300,000 per film deal on offer.

The 25-year-old Hedlund’s first gig was the small but important role of Patroclus, the lover of Achilles (Brad PItt) which got toned down to become Achilles’s cousin in Wolfgang Petersen’s “Troy”.

He followed that up with scene-stealing roles in ensemble dramas “Friday Night Lights” and “Four Brothers”. Since then he’s had small supporting roles in the likes of “Eragon,” “Georgia Rule” and “Death Sentence” and will shoot to prominence again later this year as the lead in “Tron: Legacy”.

Considering the excitement for ‘Tron’, nabbing this blockbuster star to be before he hits it really big could be a smart move on Marvel’s part, while of all the actors on the list Hedlund has shown the most ability to disappear into roles and can look startlingly different from film to film. Personally he’d by my choice.

3. Mike Vogel

30-year-old Vogel has certainly had his fair share of supporting roles in some major features including “Cloverfield,” “Poseidon,” “Rumor Has It,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” and the upcoming “She’s Out of my League”.

He’s also had a lot of experience on the indie side of filmmaking with the likes of “Grind,” “Havoc,” “Caffeine,” “The Deaths of Ian Stone,” “Across the Hall” and “Blue Valentine”.

He certainly has the classic all-American boy look, but that aspect makes him one of the blander actors on the list – not helped by the way he’s generally been stuck in one-note characters that haven’t really allowed him to stretch on screen outside of the indie world.

‘America’ might give him that chance and while he’s had plenty of experience in blockbusters, he’s not yet culturally identified with a character (unlike say Evans) which allows him to be branded to the role.

As of now he’s looking the likeliest of the candidates to make through to the end.

4. Wilson Bethel

A very recent addition and a real unknown quantity, 26-year-old Bethel has only one film credit to his name – the highly-panned 2008 direct-to-DVD title “Tunnel Rats”.

He has however a solid TV resume of guest starring spots along with two prominent regular roles – HBO’s “Generation Kill” in 2008, and daytime soap “The Young and the Restless” on which he currently stars as Ryder Callahan who came on the soap in July last year.

He’d be an unexpected choice to be sure, but maybe that’s what is required in these circumstances.

A decision either way was supposed to be in place by last week, but it’s now looking to be dragged out well into next week. Filming is still on track to kick off in June.