EXCLUSIVE: Derek Luke talks 'Captain America' and 'The Avengers'

Tuesday, 14 June 2011 13:37 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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EXCLUSIVE: Derek Luke talks 'Captain America' and 'The Avengers'

Since his first starring role as the title character in Denzel Washington's Antwone Fisher, Derek Luke has been known principally for his work in dramatic fare such as Friday Night Lights, Miracle at St. Anna, Lions for Lambs, and Notorious.  In this summer's Captain America: The First Avenger, though, he'll be getting in on some action as Gabe Jones, a role he'll reprise in next year's The Avengers.  At an event for the series Hawthorne last night, Luke stayed tight-lipped about how exactly his character will appear in both films, but did discuss the new found love of action they've inspired.

Gabriel 'Gabe' Jones made his first appearance in 1963, as part of Sgt. Fury's Howling Commandos.  He has subsequently been featured in many WWII-era military adventures with the elite, integrated unit, and he has also frequently acted as a contemporary SHIELD agent, engaging in all manner of espionage. 

Since the nascent Marvel movie universe follows a different continuity from the elaborate comic book mythology, it's unclear exactly what the nature of Jones' role will be in Captain America: The First Avenger.  The film will be principally set in the European theater of World War II, with brief bookends linking the period setting to the contemporary environment of The Avengers.  The Howling Commandos will play a part, led by Neal McDonough as Dum Dum Dugan.

Presumably, Luke will also appear as Gabe Jones in 1940's scenes, fighting alongside Chris Evans' Captain America, but if that is the case, then how will he be incorporated in The Avengers?  Back in May, Variety reported that he would indeed be in both films, but nothing more than that is known as of yet. 

Luke could be aged up 66 years with makeup to play a geriatric version of Jones. There's also the possibility that he'll be relegated to a flashback or two.  Or he could conceivably endure a cold freeze along with Cap, being inadvertently preserved for more than a half century, which would allow him to play a still-youthful Jones in the superhero team-up.  Or, perhaps Jones won't be a member of the Howling Commandos at all, and will instead be confined to the bookends, as an agent of SHIELD under the command of Nick Fury, played once again by Samuel L. Jackson.

For its third season, Luke is joining the cast of the TNT series Hawthorne, where he'll star alongside Jada Pinkett Smith, Michael Vartan, and Marc Antony.  At an event to promote the third season, IAR's own Jenni Powell caught up with Luke and inquired about his excitement to be involved in the films.  While he did not elaborate on the mystery of his two-film role, he did confirm that Jones engages in his fair share of fisticuffs, saying, "I'm boiling up right now. I love action. I didn't know I liked it until this."

You can catch Derek Luke as Dr. Miles Bourdet on Hawthorne starting tonight (Tuesday, June 14th) on TNT, but to see Gabe Jones in action, you'll have to wait for the 2D and 3D release of Captain America: The First Avenger on July 22nd.  As for how he'll figure into The Avengers, it's going to be a long wait for May 4, 2012.

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