This week word leaked of a series of tests for the 'love interest' in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. According to Deadline the women up for the role are Community's Alison Brie (surely a front-runner, as Community directors Joe and Anthony Russo are helming the movie), Game of Thrones' Emilia Clark, Imogen Poots and Jessica Brown Findlay from Downton Abbey. The assumption so far has been that the role is Sharon Carter, aka Agent 13, a SHIELD agent who is Steve Rogers' love interest in many Captain America comics and who happens to be the granddaughter of his WWII love, Peggy Carter.
It's quite likely that this is the case; all of the actresses are British (except for Brie, who does a very good British accent), so that would tie them in with the movie version of Peggy, who is British. But none of these women read as action heroines to me, and Agent 13 is quite surely an ass-kicking woman of the highest order. She not only holds her own alongside Cap, she eventually became the head of SHIELD. It's the movies, so anybody could become an action hero - who would have thought Scarlett Johansson would be a credible ass-kicking Black Widow? - but I keep wondering if maybe the role in question isn't Agent 13.
Who I'd love to see is Bernie Rosenthal. One of Steve Rogers' more interesting girlfriends, Bernie was actually engaged to Cap. I like that Bernie is Jewish in a medium that usually leans to the generically Anglo-Saxon. I like that she's the embodiment of the two Jewish kids from New York who created the fairly Aryan-looking Captain America. I like that she's an artist; Steve Rogers is a cartoonist (you see a hint of this in the first film), and she appeals to that side of him that's not Captain America. I also have a thing for brunette Jewish women.
Of course the fact that most of the actresses testing are British makes this unlikely. It's interesting to note that most of these actresses are brunettes, and Agent 13 is a blonde*. I think Brie would make a great Bernie.
But what if this 'love interest' is more complicated than we thought? There's one other major Captain America character who is tied up in the larger Winter Soldier story - Sin. She's the daughter of the Red Skull, and has gone by the name Mother Superior in the past. At one point she was 're-educated' by SHIELD to think she was a normal American girl named Erica Holstein, so if that name starts popping up in synopses or casting announcements, you know it's her. I think Sin is unlikely, but it would be pretty great to have Cap fall for the woman who turns out to be Skull's great-granddaughter... and who maybe even ends up being the portal through which the Skull returns to Earth.
The reality is that the role is almost certainly Agent 13, and Sharon Carter's a fine character. I wonder how audiences will react to Captain America falling for his girlfriend's granddaughter - it's a weird relationship - but then again that could be part of the fun.
* fair note: Peggy Carter is a brunette, so I guess they could keep genetic continuity.