Pic will be a more intimate, character-based drama (described as the “calm before the storm” by Faige) serving as launchpad for the hero before he headlines the studio’s mega-budget The Avengers later that summer. Marvel is currently sewing up a multi-picture pact with helmer John Cameron Mitchell (Shortbus, Hedwig and the Angry Inch) for that franchise.
Gallo cites CBS’s series of Captain America telefilms in the late 1970’s (featuring the character as a cross-country driving motorcycle enthusiast) as major inspiration on his later works, including ‘Bunny’. Helmer plans to incorporate a modernized version of that storyline into his tale. Pic will not shy away from political commentary, as Gallo feels Cap could serve as “antidote” to the overabundance of “Liberal, Anti-American fag talk” infecting most mainstream Hollywood productions.
Director has not ruled out Feige’s suggestion that he step in front of the camera as the star-spangled Avenger, but plans to actively explore other casting options.
While the studios have certainly not shied away from unorthodox hires for their super hero tentpoles (Christopher Nolan, Bryan Singer and Gavin Hood all cut their teeth on low-budget indies) the hiring of Gallo is surprising given the mixed reception to his earlier directorial efforts. 2003’s The Brown Bunny was savaged at that year’s Cannes Film Festival for it’s pretentious nature and raw presentation of human sexuality. In what would lead to a war of words with the director, film critic Roger Ebert labelled Bunny “the worst film in the history of Cannes”. IMDB reviewer shannygoat1 added “if you’ve ever seen, given or received head, you’ve seen it before.” Ebert and Gallo later reconciled after the critic gave a “thumbs up” to the director’s 2004 cut of the film.
Marvel will self-finance the film via its $500 million credit facility through Merrill Lynch with distribution handled by Paramount worldwide. Pic is part of an aggressive slate that includes two sequels to 2008’s Iron Man, Kenneth Branagh’s Thor and Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man.
Gallo recently completed filming the title role in Francis Ford Coppolas’s Tetro and called Molly Friedman a “slut” in New York magazine.