Actor Chris Evans had plenty of experience starring in comic-book movies such as Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and The Losers, and even Marvel movies, playing the Human Torch in two Fantastic Four movies.
So when he was offered the chance to don the cowl and shield for Marvel Studios’ Captain America: The First Avenger, he was at first reluctant. The 30-year-old actor says he was put off by both the commitment the project required — he was being asked to sign a six-picture deal that could take as long as 10 years to complete — and by the impact such a high-profile role could have on his lifestyle.
“I just wasn’t 100 percent positive that my end game was to be a gigantic movie star, and if you’re not positive about what you’re working towards, it’s hard when someone says, ‘Sign a 10-year deal,’” says Evans. “I’ve managed over ten years to make movies that for the most part I like and have a good time making them, but they come and go and I can still go to a ball game and I can still go to the grocery store and lead a pretty normal life and that’s a big thing for me.”
Evans says he at first felt that turning down the role was the right decision for him, but later reconsidered his motivation.
“I kept talking to more friends and family about what I should do, and I had some really good friends of mine who said, ‘You know, Chris … if you are scared of something, then you should push yourself right into it. … Whether the movie bombs or succeeds, this is exactly what you should be doing,’ and I just did a 180. All of a sudden it made perfect sense that this is exactly what I should do.”
Having taken the role, Evans says he has no regrets. “Halfway through the filming of Captain America, I realized this was the right decision,” he said. “The reason it was such a difficult decision is because the film itself in a vacuum was fantastic. I loved the character, I loved the script, I love the director, I love the producer, I love all the people behind it. So once I could get past my own insecure bullshit, it’s been a great experience.”
Preparing for the role involved an intense, two-hours-a-day workout and diet regimen that Evans describes as “brutal.” But the final result was worth the hard work, he says.“No matter how long a list you could create of the negatives, the positives trump it,” he says. “Let’s be real: I make movies. I’m giving interviews, I put on a shield, and I get paid a lot of money to run around and make believe.”
One of the more interesting visual effects tricks in the movie is making Evans looks small and skinny to play Steve Rogers before he becomes Captain America. The actor says it was easy for him to identify with skinny Steve.
“It was a bumpy road for me growing up. I was a very skinny guy. I did theater, I went to acting camp,” he says. “I lived half my life in tights and tap shoes.”
Despite having had experience doing a musical, Evans told filmmakers he was pleased that the film’s musical sequence didn’t require him to sing or dance.
Evans says he particularly liked a sequence shot in an underwater tank in which Steve Rogers attacks a submarine.
“That was a really fun week of shooting. We had to film in this giant tank and it was just really cool for me,” he says. Scuba tanks were on hand and removed for filming and quickly brought back once the director called cut. “You’re underwater for a long time. It was cool and different and I liked the way that little sequence turned out.”
The costume also turned out to be a high point for Evans, who says he wanted to take the whole thing home with him, but Marvel vetoed it. Evans says he wears a new, more modern costume in Avengers, but was mum on the details. “It’s cool,” he says.Evans says he’s having a great time working on his next outing as Captain America, in the still-shooting Avengers. Evans says he has very high hopes for the film and gives director Joss Whedon high marks for pulling off so complicated a movie.
“He doesn’t have an easy job trying to bring all these people together, and not only just these superheroes, but these actors, and he’s doing a phenomenal job,” he says.
Evans says he’s enjoying the change of pace on Avengers, where he’s only one of several superheroes and not required to carry the movie as much as he does on Captain America.
“The shooting schedule is a lot nicer!” Evans says, with a laugh. “With Captain America, you’re working every day. … That’s the one good thing about the six-picture deal, is we’ll be able to pinball back and forth from an incredible amount of responsibility and workload to a shared responsibility. I can only imagine when Avengers comes around, I think, for the most part, you guys are going to want to talk to Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson or Mark Ruffalo, and I’ll be able to take a little bit of a back seat, which I’m really looking forward to. It’s a different experience. Avengers is much more relaxed.”Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!
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