Joe Johnston has signed to direct First Avenger: Captain America, a new Marvel Studios film based on the iconic character.

Johnston, director of Jurassic Park III and upcoming thriller The Wolfman, will soon hire writers for the project, which is due for a May 2011 release.

Created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon in 1941, Captain America was a wartime symbol for Timely Comics, with his alter-ego Steve Rogers having been transformed into a patriotic superhero after being subjected to the Super Soldier serum.

The character's popularity declined after the second world war but revived during the Silver Age of Marvel Comics in the 60s, as he became the leader of the Avengers superhero team.

Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige said Johnston was the ideal choice to take on the World War II project.

"This is a guy who designed the vehicles for Star Wars, who storyboarded the convoy action sequence for Raiders of the Lost Ark," he said.

"From Rocketeer to October Sky to The Wolfman, you can look at pieces of his movies and see how they lead to this one."

First Avenger: Captain America will be set during the second world war ahead of the present day-set Avengers film, expected to feature Captain America, Thor and Iron Man, among others.

10/11/2008 11:31:21