Captain America is under new management.
Marvel has tapped Joe Johnston, the famed effects whiz (Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark) turned director (The Rocketeer, Jurassic Park III), to direct its hugely anticipated comic-book adaptation First Avenger: Captain America, the studio announced today.
Per Marvel, First Avenger will be set in WWII, as was the original comic, and pit the iconic flag waver against archnemesis Red Skull.
The film will set also presumably set up Marvel's Avengers movie, telling how Captain American was frozen only to be defrosted in modern time to become leader of the superhero team that includes Iron Man, the Hulk and Thor, among others.
No word yet on a star to wield the shield, but First Avenger: Captain America is set to hit theaters May 6, 2011, and the actor who ends up playing him will likely also star in Avengers, due July 15, 2011 and costarring Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man.
Meanwhile, in other Hollywood deal action:
• Djimon Hounsou is lending his voice to another Marvel-based project, The Black Panther. The cartoon series is slated to premiere on BET in 2009.
• The X-Men: The Last Stand helmer Brett Ratner is in final talks to direct a gritty, R-rated, Governator-less update of Conan the Barbarian as a potential franchise.
• Michael Rapaport has sealed a development deal with CBS to create, star in and produce an hourlong ensemble dramedy centering on the lives of social workers in New York. Denis Leary will coproduce.
• Beverly Hills, 90210 alum Tiffani Thiessen will have have costarring duties in USA Network's new drama series, White Collar, playing the smart, supportive wife of an FBI agent forced to partner with a billiant con artist.
• Bourne Ultimatum star Édgar Ramírez has been tapped to play the infamous terrorist Carlos the Jackal in the Olivier Assayas biopic Ilich: Story of Carlos.
• Chevy Chase, Burt Reynolds, Vinnie Jones, Michael Madsen and "Stuttering" John Melendez are onboard for Not Another Not Another Movie—you guessed it—a spoof of Hollywood spoof flicks featuring various actors parodying themselves poking fun at some of their most famous roles. Better page the Shark, it's time for some jumping.