Daniel Bruhl to play Baron Zemo in Captain America: Civil War. While Daniel Bruhl ( Inglorious Basterds, Rush) had been previously confirmed as the villain, to the upcoming Civil War, it had not been made clear exactly which villain he would be playing. Well, thanks to an open casting call, posted on the MovieCastingCall website, his definitive role was listed among the cast credits.
About Baron Zemo:
Dr. Heinrich Zemo, 12th Baron Zemo was one of the top scientists in the Nazi Party. Zemo fought both Captain America and his allies the Howling Commandos during World War II. A brilliant and sadistic scientific genius, Zemo created many weapons of mass destruction for Hitler’s army, including a large-scale death ray cannon, a disintegration pistol that was a miniaturized version of his death ray, and primitive androids of considerable strength and invulnerability. Heinrich Zemo’s intelligence was only matched by his sadism, as he routinely tested his deadly weapons on innocent people, both prisoner and civilian inside the Third Reich. This ultimately came to a head, during an early encounter with the Howling Commandos, when Zemo decided to test an experimental death-ray cannon on a nearby German town. The death-ray killed hundreds of innocent German civilians as a result, making Zemo a mass murderer. Though he arrogantly believed that he could frame his act of mass murder on the Allied Forces, Nick Fury and his fellow Howling Commandos exposed Zemo’s role in the town’s destruction, resulting in Zemo becoming a reviled figure throughout Europe, even amongst his fellow Germans.
In an attempt to regain a level of anonymity, Zemo began wearing a reddish-pink hood over his face as he continued to build weapons for the Nazis. His activities ultimately drew the attention of Captain America, resulting in a confrontation just as Heinrich was ready to unveil his newest scientific breakthrough: Adhesive X, an extremely strong adhesive that could not be dissolved or removed by any known process at the time (only after the war, the adhesive-using villain Paste-Pot Pete found a way to neutralize it).
When Captain America confronted Zemo, to destroy his limited supply of Adhesive X so that the Nazis could not use it against Allied troops, Captain America threw his shield to release the adhesive from its vat, onto the ground. However, Zemo was standing right next to the vat containing the chemical, which poured over his hooded face. The adhesive quickly seeped inside and permanently attached the hood to Heinrich’s flesh, preventing Zemo from ever removing his hood.
Though Zemo could still see through the eye holes of the hood, as well as hear, breathe, and speak through the thin fabric of the cloth that made up the hood, Zemo could no longer eat normally (due to the hood having no mouth hole) and had to be fed intravenously. Heinrich Zemo quickly recovered but having his hood permanently attached to his face drove the Nazi scientist insane. Adopting a new costume to go along with his new hooded face, Zemo went from becoming a normal, if not infamous, Nazi scientist to become an active field agent for the Third Reich, leading German troops into combat and espionage missions. His reputation in combat quickly grew and was rivaled only by the Red Skull; the two quickly became rivals, united only in their hatred for Captain America.
When it became apparent that the Nazis would lose the war, the Skull sent Zemo to London to steal an experimental airplane. At this point the plane would do them no good, but the Skull made sure this knowledge was leaked to Captain America and his young sidekick Bucky so as to ensure that Zemo would be caught, ridding him of his rival once and for all. Captain America would not learn of Zemo’s scheme for several weeks, by which time he would defeat Red Skull for the final time during World War II, burying Skull alive in a state of suspended animation. By the time that Captain America learned of Zemo’s plot, it was too late and both Captain America and his sidekick Bucky were taken prisoner by Zemo. Zemo tied the two heroes to the experimental plane, which was now booby-trapped to explode, and launched to their deaths. Captain America fell from the plane as it exploded, and Bucky was apparently killed. Captain America landed in the Arctic Ocean and was frozen in ice for decades until recovered by the recently formed Avengers.
Believing that he had killed his rival at long last, Zemo fled to South America as Hitler and the Nazis fell and World War II ended. Zemo abandoned his long-suffering wife and toddler son, Helmut, whom he had become emotionally and physically abusive towards, after the mask was permanently bonded to his face. With an army of mercenaries loyal to him, Zemo enslaved a tribe of natives and lived as a king as he tried desperately to find a solvent that would remove his mask. As decades passed, Captain America was ultimately revived by the Avengers, causing Zemo to renew his rivalry with the Captain. To that end, Heinrich formed the Masters of Evil to serve as a villainous counterpart to the Avengers.
For anyone unfamiliar with the source character, Baron Zemo (along with much of the MCU) was well represented by the animated series Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. His participation in Civil War does offer some insight as to just how the source material for the film will be handled, and, perhaps, tied into the rest of the MCU timeline.
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