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.

interview with the future father of my children under the cutCollapse )