Marvel Narrows Search for "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" Lead Actress

With Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie locked into "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," Marvel Studios is pushing ahead in the search for the actress to play Steve Rogers' romantic interest.

Directed by brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, "The Winter Soldier" is believed to be based on the acclaimed comic-book storyline of the same name in which writer Ed Brubaker revealed Captain America's World War II sidekick Bucky Barnes didn't die in the 1945 explosion that left the superhero in suspended animation in a block of ice. Instead, an amnesiac Bucky was rescued by the Soviets, fitted with a bionic arm and programmed to serve as an assassin known as the Winter Soldier. The secret is revealed in the present day only after he seemingly killed the Red Skull and launched a terrorist attack on Philadelphia.

According to Deadline, Marvel is testing five actresses to play the unnamed female lead which, given the source material, seems likely to be S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Sharon Carter, the niece of Peggy Carter: Emelia Clarke ("Game of Thrones"), Jessica Brown Findlay, ("Downton Abbey"), Imogen Poots ("Fright Night") and Alison Brie ("Community'). The New York Post reported in August that Poots, Anna Kendrick ("The Twilight Saga," "Pitch Perfect") and Felicity Jones ("Cemetery Junction") were being eyed for the role. Brie may have the inside track with the Russo brothers, who are executive producers of "Community," and have directed more than 30 episodes of the NBC comedy.

The website also notes rumblings that Scarlett Johansson will appear as Black Widow, which isn't much of a surprise, considering both the character's role in the comic-book storyline and the actress' multi-picture deal with Marvel.

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" opens April 4, 2014.

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