IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Neal McDonough talks 'Cap 2,' 'Nick Fury,' 'Justified,' and 'Green Arrow'

Sunday, 16 October 2011 17:50 Written by  Jami Philbrick
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IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Neal McDonough talks 'Cap 2,' 'Nick Fury,' 'Justified,' and 'Green Arrow'

Marvel Studios second superhero film of the summer, Captain America: The First Avenger not only introduced the world to Steve Rogers and his heroic alter ego but it also gave us our first look at another fan-favorite group of heroes from “The House of Ideas” … the Howling Commandoes.

The Howling Commandoes first appeared in the comics as an elite special unit formed in World War II by Nick Fury and the team consisted of Corporal Timothy Aloysius Cadwallander “Dum Dum” Dugan, Private Gabriel Jones, Private Robert “Rebel” Ralston, Private Dino Manelli, Private Isadore “Izzy” Cohen, and Private Jonathan “Junior” Juniper. However, in the film the team closer resembled The Invaders, which was essentially a WWII era version of The Avengers that first appeared in the comics in 1969. Captain America, Bucky Barnes, and Montgomery Falsworth (better known as Union Jack) are all Invaders members who were included as Hollowing Commandoes in the film, while Dugan, Jones, Jim Morita, and Jacques Dernier were actual Howlers from the comics who rounded out the movie’s team.

One of the most beloved members of the Howling Commandoes by far is the bowler hat wearing Dum Dum Dugan, who was played by actor Neal McDonough (Minority Report) in Captain America: The First Avenger. In the comics, Dugan survived WWII and would eventually go on to become Nick Fury’s second in command at S.H.I.E.L.D. It should also be mentioned that McDonough is no stranger to playing superheroes having recently voiced DC Comics’ popular character Green Arrow in the 2010 animated short film, DC Showcase: Green Arrow. On Friday, I had a chance to speak with actor Neal McDonough about playing Dum Dum Dugan in Captain America: The First Avenger, which will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on October 25th.

While talking about the film, McDonough said this about playing the role of Dum Dum Dugan. “It was a blast to play him and I still look forward to Cap 2, Nick Fury or any other films in the future.” This comment peaked my interest and I decided to follow up asking McDonough specifically about his involvement in those two upcoming projects. While we won’t be running my conversation with the actor about shooting Captain America: The First Avenger until closer to the films home media release, I wanted to let you know what he had to say about Captain America 2 and Nick Fury. I also took the opportunity to ask the actor about the recent announcement that he will be playing the villain in season 3 of the hit FX series Justified, as well as the possibility of reprising his role as Green Arrow in a live action feature film based on the emerald archer.

Here is what he had to say:

Hey Neal, I wanted to follow up on something you just said. You mentioned possibly appearing in the proposed Nick Fury film, which would make a lot of sense since Dum Dum is Nick’s right-hand-man at S.H.I.E.L.D in the comics. But since we last saw you in the WWII era of Captain America: The First Avenger, how would your character end up in the present day (assuming that is when the film will take place) fighting along side Sam Jackson’s Nick Fury?

Neal McDonough: In the origin with Dum Dum, he got a small portion of the super serum himself and he was actually the head of S.H.E.I.L.D. until four or five years ago. So he aged really slowly. He aged quicker than Nick and quicker than Steve Rogers did but he aged quite slowly. He was chronologically frozen him self for ten years. So there are all kinds of stuff that I’ve read in the comic books but who knows how they’re going to do it. I know they are going to go back to WWII in Cap 2. You know in flashbacks but past that I’m not sure. Also what would make me happier than a pig in poop would be to be part of and see Sam Jackson as a ‘60s or ‘70s version of Nick Fury. That would just be awesome. Hopefully we’ll get that one done soon. I know Sam is very excited about it.

Was there ever any talk about reintroducing your character in The Avengers?

McDonough: No, with The Avengers I think they wanted to go with the core characters first and I have no problem with that. Just to be part of the Marvel universe at all is such a blessing. It’s been fantastic. If I do ten more of these or one more of these, I’ve already been part of Captain America and that’s like a dream come true.

You also mentioned doing Captain America 2, what exactly is the plan with that? In the middle of the first film there is a montage where Captain America and the Howling Commandoes are fighting various enemies in a series of different adventures, is the idea that the sequel would take place within that sequence and essentially tell an unseen story that happened in the context of the first film?

McDonough: Yeah the talk now is that they are going to flashback to WWII and without going to much into, because I’m not supposed to say too much at all, but whatever they do I guarantee you this … it’s going to be an awesome movie. The villain is going to be crazy, and it will be really terrific. The origin of Cap being in WWII is definitely paramount to the guys over at Marvel.

Congratulations on joining the cast of Justified, are you excited to begin working on the show?

McDonough: Oh I’m stoked. The best part about Justified is I get to work with Graham Yost who wrote for me on Band of Brothers and obviously Boomtown. But I get to stay in town with Ruve (his wife) and the kids because we shoot here in Los Angeles. You know a lot of shows are offering us to go all around the world to do stuff but that’s not in our plan right now. We want to build our family and if somebody shoots in Los Angeles, then we’re all for it. And if it doesn’t shoot in Los Angeles then we’re probably not going to do it. You got to take care of the most important thing in life and for us that is our family. So thank God that Graham came along and offered us this. We’re very excited.

What can you tell me about the role you will be playing on the series? He’s the show’s new villain, is that correct? I assume your character will be squaring off with Timothy Olyphant’s Raylan Givens at some point, right?

McDonough: Oh yeah, its beautiful and you know how much I love playing my bad guys. This is one where I’m going to take over the crime syndicate in this town in Kentucky and they have no idea what is coming. Graham wrote it as a real family guy who is just a businessman. And my business is … well you’ll find out very soon what my business is but I’m going to take it over. And yes, at some point Tim Olyphant and my self are going to go nose to nose and we’ll see who wins that fight.

Finally, the Green Arrow is my favorite superhero of all time and I thought you were perfectly cast to voice him in the DC Showcase Animated short film that you worked on. I also think you would be a perfect choice to play him in a live action film, has there ever been any serious discussion about that? Is that something you would be interested in doing?

McDonough: Yeah that (animated short) was awesome wasn’t it? Yeah we talked about a live action version but unfortunately the other two green movies (Green Hornet, and Green Lantern) may have put a stop to it, who knows? We’re not sure. But Green Arrow is a character that is just so funny, and has such a dry sense of humor but is still a bad ass at the same time. I think of all the green superheroes, and now offense but even Hulk included, I think there is something about Green Arrow being such a smart ass and yet such a big tough guy. He only uses arrows but the way he uses those arrows is pretty amazing. I think it would be an awesome film to do and ultimately hopefully we’ll get around to doing it.

Captain America: The First Avenger will be available on Blu-ray and DVD beginning October 25th. 

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