Previously we heard about our Captain America, Chris Evans; our Bucky, Sebastian Stan; and we heard about the negotations with Hugo Weaving to play the Red Skull. Next up: the token female in our testosterone-heavy war flick, Peggy Carter.
More casting announcements for the 2011 Captain America: The First Avenger (apparently they've switched the parts of the title around, which I think works a lot better).
Per today's announcement the role goes to British actress Hayley Atwell:
I remember Atwell from two films that I saw in 2008: The Duchess, in which she played Bess, Keira Knightley's BFF/love-rival (incidentally, Marvel made a pitch for Knightley herself to take the role, but she finally made it back to the 21st century this year and she'll be damned if she's going to get stuck time-traveling for another half-decade again); and Brideshead Revisited, as Lady Julia Flyte (she was good, and held her own with Emma Thompson and Sir Michael Gambon; the film itself I had problems with, but that's neither here nor there). She's also playing Aliena in the upcoming miniseries of Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth, which is one of my all-time favourite books.
Regarding the character, Peggy was an American (they've clearly changed her nationality for the movie, given that all four actresses associated with the part were English) who for some reason (I don't know that it was ever explained) ended up in France affiliated with the French resistance:
In the 1960s comics, she was revealed to be the older sister of Sharon Carter/Agent 13, Cap's new love interest; that was sort of a stretch even then (though not outside the bounds of fertility; my father's siblings were born between 1941 and 1960), but, as you can imagine, this made Peggy a problematic character as the timeline just kept sliding. After the 1970s, you stopped seeing much of her, as a result of this. The most recent Brubaker stories have finally bit the bullet and essentially deleted all her previous modern-day appearances from canon by introducing a much older version who was now Sharon's aunt rather than her sister (even that's sort of stretching it, though Sharon notes in the same issue that she was a "late surprise" for her parents; in the movie version I wouldn't be surprised at all if they just go for great-aunt):
As you can tell, she's a bit on the side of senile now.
Using Peggy pretty much confirms they plan to use Sharon in the potential followup films (which always seemed like the best bet to begin with), which opens up the possibility that they might just try to have Atwell play Sharon too. I can sort of see the angle there (it would make her the only thing in the modern world that seemed somewhat familiar, for instance), but I think it'd be a bad idea; the effect of the transition to the 21st century will lose a lot of its impact if he ends up dating the same woman (and, between the same actress and the relationship between the characters, the audience will undoubtedly interpret them as basically the same person).
The above images are taken from Captain America #25 and Captain America #49.