8:56 pm - 03/24/2014

Captain America's Chris Evans on life as Marvel's superhero go-to guy

The star of The Winter Soldier is happy to be a cog in the machine, as long as that machine isn't a pasta restaurant

Chris Evans does not take umbrage when I tell him he has movie-star anonymity. By which I mean, he may be a leading man in a superhero franchise that generates vast mountain ranges of cash, but whatever innate charisma is beloved by the camera seems less obvious in person, where he comes across as a regular, affable guy – albeit one who spends an inordinate amount of time in the gym. "Good," he says. "That's the goal. You want to strike that happy medium: the balance of being able to find creative satisfaction in your profession, be able to afford a roof over your head but still have the freedom to live a relatively normal life." But when the prospect of playing Captain America in Marvel's huge interlocking movie universe became a possibility, Evans, 32, had qualms. "There was big apprehension on my part whether or not to do the movie. It was a six-picture deal and the problem is, if one of these pictures is a big success and it changes your life, you may not cope with it as well as you expected. There certainly was some fear involved initially. But then you just think, 'If that's what I'm scared of, maybe that's exactly what I should do', and, in retrospect, God, I'd be kicking myself if I hadn't done it."

Although Boston-born Evans has played Captain America in both the character's own film (retitled The First Avenger in some territories) and The Avengers (confusingly, called Avengers Assemble in the UK), as well having a cameo in Thor: The Dark World, there was a sense that the earnest unfrozen super-soldier was portrayed as the butt of the joke. All that changes with Captain America: The Winter Solider. This is the most perfectly executed and purely entertaining Marvel production since the first Iron Man. A big chunk of credit goes to the movie's sibling director team, Joe and Anthony Russo, who seem like they've compiled a list of all the genres they ever wanted to tackle – conspiracy, martial arts, political thriller, buddy movie – and thrown them into one film. But Evans is up to every challenge hurled at him. Shrugging off the burden of being the confused do-gooder of the previous films, he trades blows with real-life UFC killing machine George St-Pierre in a bone-crunchingly convincing fight. He goes toe-to-toe with Robert Redford who – no spoilers, obviously – may have something to do with SHIELD becoming a little too overzealous in the methods they employ to protect the world. And he trades barbs and disapproving glares with Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, who you will want to see in her own movie after this.

Marvel's sense of continuity, and the way each movie acts as a building block to set up the next, is a model that is becoming both an inspiration and a headache to rival studios with similar ambitions. But that sort of success is not easily mimicked. It the takes patience to establish a distinct series of franchises that can ultimately commingle. It takes the pragmatism to abort a character that isn't working: Mark Ruffalo was the third attempt at getting The Hulk right. And it takes time to establish a unifying tone. Marvel specialises in high-stakes action movies that are grounded in a recognisable reality; they're jokey but never camp. The entity most desperate to emulate that blueprint is long-time comic-book rival DC, which is reportedly trying to jump-start a Justice League movie by cramming loads of familiar faces into Superman Vs Batman. Which is to say, it's doing the exact opposite of what Marvel did. I invite Evans to mock this doomed effort. He laughs but chooses the diplomatic route. "Obviously, it's an easy parallel to draw. It's not that I'm glad to see a movie not succeed. I'm just honoured when ours do."

So what's it like working for Marvel? Is the company more than just another bunch of executive overlords? "Oh, it's a cool corporation," he says, eagerly. "It's got the Midas touch. It would be one thing if they were kicking out crap but they're just consistently making good movies that are consistent successes. And they're people who really care about movies. I saw this great documentary about indie movies and they made this analogy to restaurants. You want to eat at a restaurant where the people who own it really enjoy good food, where they're not just doing it for the money. You don't want to go to the [US restaurant chain] Olive Garden where the model is low cost/high income. Marvel, even though they're these massive movies that should just be a money-making machine pumping out product, at their heart they're comic-book fans."

I bring up the blockbuster di tutti blockbusters, The Avengers, the billion-dollar-grossing amalgamation of all the previous movies. What kind of ego adjustment does an actor have to make when he transitions from his own vehicle to a set full of superheroes? "It's so nice," he says, sighing almost wistfully. "I love getting to be in The Avengers. You just breathe a little bit. It's not all about you. It's so nice to have other people bearing the burden of responsibility." There's no fighting over who gets the cool entrances or the big action set-pieces or the most hilarious one-liners? Evans regards with me derision. "That's not coming from me. Anyone who knows me knows I'm perfectly happy with less is more. Whatever you want me to do. I'm happy to be here. I'm not trying to steal the show. I tend to shy away from – I don't want to say the spotlight – how about responsibility? It's just very daunting. These movies are very intimidating. Captain America. This is the stuff I struggle with."

Months before The Winter Soldier's release, a third movie, also directed by the Russos, was announced. That means Evans will have played Captain America in three of his own movies plus two Avengers films. He has also played the Human Torch in two Fantastic Four films and his filmography includes Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim Vs The World and The Losers, both graphic-novel adaptations, as well as the teens-with-mutant-powers film Push. That's a lot of comic-book roles for one career. Is that by design or just what's out there? "I think it's more the latter. There just happens to be a big influx of comic-book movies, but the truth is, it's much like making a movie based on a book. There's great stories, there's developed characters, there's structured arcs, there's a built-in audience. It makes sense that a studio would want to make films out of those pieces of work. It just worked out coincidentally that I was in a string of them."

Does he foresee the onset of superhero fatigue? "Possibly. But I would also say that a lot of people who see superhero movies for the first time don't have much prior knowledge of the characters. So in a lot of ways, if a superhero movie is done well, it's not just about the fact that they have powers. There's a human element there as well. There's a connection to the character. You liked the first Iron Man movie not just because Tony Stark flies around; you like Tony Stark. You might as well ask me whether there's going to be movie fatigue."

Before the interview ends, I am unable to stop myself asking Chris Evans if he is aware of the British Chris Evans. He struggles for a moment before coming up with, "He's… a talkshow guy?" You're the better Chris Evans, I reassure him. He shrugs in bemusement at what is, to him, a meaningless compliment. So here's a better one: with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Chris Evans has just vaulted to the top of the superhero food chain.


Cap >>>>>>>>>>>>>> haters have never tasted fondue, tbh~
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chthonist 24th-Mar-2014 07:58 pm (UTC)
OMG, he's always so hot no matter from what angle, etc.

vivalakeyana 24th-Mar-2014 08:00 pm (UTC)
He was in my ~~sexxx dream last night. Thighs are clenched rn.
britneyspears 24th-Mar-2014 08:00 pm (UTC)
the LIES known as this cut tho

spankmypirate 24th-Mar-2014 08:07 pm (UTC)
now S I S

britneyspears 24th-Mar-2014 08:14 pm (UTC)

kwikimart 24th-Mar-2014 08:22 pm (UTC)
It's sad coz y'all are both wrong 
He's mine (and la_sikka's)
thelilyqueen 25th-Mar-2014 12:35 am (UTC)
I always thought the end of the video was the best part, when they answer the door together and the guy gives that 'oh, SHIT' look.
fluorescentx 24th-Mar-2014 08:00 pm (UTC)
sparkfactory 24th-Mar-2014 08:01 pm (UTC)
winter soldier is so good and he is perf and i just love everything ugh
megedeborch 24th-Mar-2014 08:01 pm (UTC)
Uhm, OP, I can love fondue and still don't care about Cap, TYVM. Tsk. There's only one star in WS and it's red and shiny and on a metal arm.
walker_sarah 24th-Mar-2014 08:12 pm (UTC)
the last paragraph reminded me your guardian review

he is not even the most famous chris evans
megedeborch 24th-Mar-2014 08:15 pm (UTC)
The Guardian knows what's up! At least someone does.
aceworthy 25th-Mar-2014 02:19 am (UTC)
bucky_barnes 24th-Mar-2014 08:02 pm (UTC)
omg I can't wait to finally see it. Wednesday can't come fast enough. Stupid me got already spoiled on the post-credit scene ugh, THAT'S WHAT I GET FOR CLICKING SPOILER CUTS
imnotasquirrel 24th-Mar-2014 08:02 pm (UTC)
captain america is my bff's favorite because, according to her, the cap is a gentleman. she actually knows the title of the sequel, which is more remarkable than it sounds because she doesn't give a fuck about superhero movies otherwise and only went to see thor because i dragged her.
advo 24th-Mar-2014 08:02 pm (UTC)
fluorescentx 24th-Mar-2014 08:07 pm (UTC)
lol @ CEvans saying Hemsworth was the most attractive, their bromance in Avengers promo was the best.
advo 24th-Mar-2014 08:10 pm (UTC)
LOL IKR? He just blurted it out and Scarlett is like, you seem to have given it a lot of thought haha
glittergary 24th-Mar-2014 08:09 pm (UTC)
samuel's shirt lmfao
walker_sarah 24th-Mar-2014 08:09 pm (UTC)
milkradio 24th-Mar-2014 08:16 pm (UTC)
This is so cute, ugh.
chaos_organised 24th-Mar-2014 08:21 pm (UTC)
davetvs 24th-Mar-2014 08:38 pm (UTC)
I'm dead @ Sam Jackson's shirt
myhipusername 25th-Mar-2014 12:11 am (UTC)
lol yas mte at all these answers

sam is the hilarious esp with stan i love them all
aceworthy 25th-Mar-2014 02:23 am (UTC)
I love this
tx5mym5 25th-Mar-2014 03:02 am (UTC)
I love these answers. I love how Chris and ScarJo have the chemistry of old friends. It was smart to pair up Anthony and Stan because Anthony is more outgoing.
leperheart 24th-Mar-2014 08:03 pm (UTC)

 photo chrisevangif_zps3c498341.gif
cekhmet 25th-Mar-2014 12:07 am (UTC)
why helloooo
tx5mym5 25th-Mar-2014 03:07 am (UTC)

For morgan90, RIP

Edited at 2014-03-25 03:07 am (UTC)
_scarlett_icons 24th-Mar-2014 08:03 pm (UTC)
you're mistaken OP, he's the future father of MY children, not yours. Sorry.
kate_fkn_does 24th-Mar-2014 08:03 pm (UTC)
LMFAO!!! The end bit is my favourite. I have been struggling with that for like 10 years. "Do you want to see the new Chris Evans movie?" *everyone eyes you like you've got insane.*
lokiyan 24th-Mar-2014 08:04 pm (UTC)
How many movies is he signed up for with Marvel?
walker_sarah 24th-Mar-2014 08:06 pm (UTC)

cap1 cap2 cap3
avengers1 avengers2 avengers 3
lokiyan 24th-Mar-2014 08:07 pm (UTC)
judgerazzi 24th-Mar-2014 08:56 pm (UTC)
not enough
vikingsmn 24th-Mar-2014 08:04 pm (UTC)
Can we talk about Snowpiercer? I have NO idea what Weinstein wants to cut out of that movie. It was great, but brutal. Also, I finally sorta get Chris Evans.
barbaragordon 24th-Mar-2014 08:08 pm (UTC)
they decided to not cut anything out lol it comes out in june
teetersslow 24th-Mar-2014 10:05 pm (UTC)
i thought maybe they would cut some stuff out from chris e last speech at the end as that was pretty hardcore. loved the film tho
nullteiler 24th-Mar-2014 10:35 pm (UTC)
I just got home from the movies. I wasn't thinking I would like it THAT much.
winegums 24th-Mar-2014 08:04 pm (UTC)
ngl Cap 2 does look good

And it has to be crazy, now that RDJ is done with Iron Man, Cap is Marvel's flagship superhero franchise.
johndavidrage 24th-Mar-2014 08:57 pm (UTC)
wait what no more RDJ as iron man??? even in the avengers?
arcticmonkeys 24th-Mar-2014 08:59 pm (UTC)
no, he'll still be in the avengers films.
myhipusername 25th-Mar-2014 12:13 am (UTC)
wait WHAT

no more solo iron man films??

(makes sense sadly)
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