Chris Evans to Sling Captain America’s Shield

Actor Chris Evans has signed on to play Captain America.

Evans, who played another Marvel icon, the Human Torch, in two Fantastic Four films, will play the shield-slinging hero in three solo films and Marvel’s planned Avengers crossover movie.

Evans beat out a hefty list of contenders for the role that included John Krasinski, Michael Cassidy, Patrick Flueger, Scott Porter, Wilson Blethel and Chace Crawford. He will first appear as Cap in The First Avenger: Captain America, which will be directed by Joe Johnston and is set for release in 2011.

Hugo Weaving is set to play the villain of the film, the Nazi known as Red Skull.

Captain America was created in 1941 by comic book creators Jack Kirby and Joe Simon for Timely Comics, which later became Marvel. The first issue showed the flag-wrapped hero delivering a right cross to the jaw of Adolf Hitler. The character was revived by Kirby and Stan Lee in the 1960s to star in the Avengers comic book and his own solo series.

The character was previously adapted in live-action as a pair of TV movie projects in the late 1980s, as well as a low-budget direct-to-video feature in the early 1990s.