Having recently suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous reporting, Chris Evans would have good reason to be guarded when he talked about Captain America. Thankfully he wasn’t, and he comes off as a thoughtful and humble guy who has made his choices very carefully when it comes to his career. This film is a big step, and though you may have heard of him before, this is the first time he’s front and center in a franchise film. He’s an A-lister now, for better or worse. Take a look at our talk…
Hayley Atwell told us she couldn’t help when she touched you.
Oh yeah, the boob squeeze.
Joe Johnston talked about your reticence about taking this role, especially after taking some comic book roles, Johnny Storm, Lucas Lee, can you talk about why?
It wasn’t about doing another comic book – maybe Marvel fans get rabid about certain things – and I was little nervous about doubling up, but I’ve been in a lot of comic book movies, but it’s been coincidence for the most part. It was two-fold, one was the commitment. It started out as a nine-picture deal, and it dropped down to six, but even six movies, that can be spread out over ten years – that’s a long time. The way my career’s gone so far, is you do movies one at a time, if one of them hits and your life gets out of control to the point you don’t want to manage it you can take a break, take a step back. With six movies, you can’t. If all the sudden my passions changed and I wanted to write or direct, just go live in the mountains, get married, have kids, lead a normal life, you can’t. You can’t. I guess I wasn’t 100% positive my endgame was to be a gigantic movie star and if you’re not positive toward what you’re working for, it’s hard to sign a potential ten year deal. And the second part was about the lifestyle change. I’ve managed to make movies over the last ten years that – for the most part – I like and have a good time making, but I can still go to a ballgame and I can still go to the grocery store and lead a normal life, and that’s a big thing for me, because you can’t turn it off. There’s a difference between dealing with it sometimes, dealing with it most of the time, and dealing with it all the time. I can handle sometimes, and I can even handle most of the time, all the time is different, and it’s something you can’t conceptualize until it happens. The problem with all the time is that once you’re there, you can’t turn it off. There’s no rewind.
What do you get most? Do people come and say “that’s actually hilarious.”
Right? It’s funny how the little things get to me. If it’s a kid, like a twelve year old, I’m like “let’s take a picture, let’s sign something, great!” Other times, it’s people selling your picture, and harassing you, and insulting the people you’re with. That’s crazy. This is a lifestyle – like I said, all the time is terrifying to me. And this week… It’s annoying, it’s tricky, I don’t know how some people do it.
Is that a trade off, rather than having a career where you’re struggling.
I guess the question is: What’s your goal in life. If your goal is to be a biggest movie star in the world, a ten year contract’s not too shabby. I was perfectly happy where I was a year and a half ago before this movie. Maybe you guys had seen my movies, but for the most part, people hadn’t. I mean, my life… I have a nice house, I drive a nice car, I do what I love, which to me is bliss. I’m not at the top of the list, I can’t make any movie I want, but that’s okay. I had a really nice happy medium going. I made movies, I could support the people I love; peace. Doing this affords you some things. You read a script you desperately want to make, you have an easier shot of doing it. If you want to transition to directing or producing you might have an easier time making the jump. But the trade off is, you might not be able to go to a Celtics game with your family without causing a scene. That was what I was nervous about making.
Was making those choices what made you want to take this film?
No, the reason I decided to make this was because I was scared. The movie was terrifying to me. And I think – no, I know – I have no regrets, I believe you can’t make decisions based on fear. I think that’s a mistake, I think you regret the things you don’t do than the things you do. And it started out initially when I said no, people said “listen to your heart.” And my heart’s telling me don’t do this thing, and every time I said no, I woke up really happy I said no, but it kept coming back. And I talked to more of my friends and family about what I should do, and I had some good friends of mine who said “Chris, if you are scared of something you should push yourself right into it.” And for better or worse – if the movie comes out and bombs – this is exactly what you need to etch yourself out as a human being, no life obstacle is clear cut than this, this is a perfect obstacle course right now, you should take this. I just did a 180, it just made perfect sense that this is what I should do. So I went for it.
It seems the biggest challenge is that you’re carrying this movie. Was it something else?
I guess it is, without getting to existential about it.
How much fun was it to make the movie once you got past that?
Let’s be real, no matter how long a list you can create of the negatives, the positives trump it, just smoke it. It’s easier to talk the negatives, because there’s so few of them. If you try to talk about the positives, I make movies, I talk to you guys, I put on a shield, and I get paid a lot of money to run around and play make believe. I’m not in a coal mine, I’m not flipping burgers. Life is great, every day you have to maintain a healthy perspective. Tackle the hurdles, but the fact is, this is great stuff.
Your character initially has trouble with the ladies, but the writers said “well he did go on the USO tour.” Do you think your character’s a virgin?
He was famous for a little while, yeah. He was one step away from turning to porno (laughs).
Now you’re a picture and a half into your six picture deal how do you feel about it?
Good, no regrets. I think halfway through filming Captain America that this was the right decision. It was such a great filming experience with Joe (Johnston) and Kevin (Feige). The people involved were fantastic. If there was any apprehension about the creative forces behind the film, I wouldn’t have done it. The film itself in a vacuum was fantastic, I loved the director, the producer, everything about it. So once I could get past my insecure bullshit, it’s been great.
How does it compare to The Avengers, where you’re in an ensemble?
The shooting schedule’s a lot nicer. I always have days off. Captain America, you’re working every day. The Avengers is great, and with the six picture deal, we’ll be able to pinball back and forth from an incredible amount of responsibility, to a shared workload. I think when The Avengers comes around you’ll mostly want to talk to Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo, and I’ll be able to take a back seat, which I’m really looking forward to. It’s a different experience, it’s much more relaxed.
What’s Joss Whedon like?
He’s brilliant. He doesn’t have any easy job trying to bring all these people together, not only just the superheroes, but these actors, and he’s doing a phenomenal job, I have really high hopes for it.
What was the musical number like, had you had experience with that?
Of course! I love doing theater, I lived half my life in tights and tap shoes.
There’s two sides to Steve Rogers, the wimp and the beefcake. Which was easier to get into? Did you idenitify more with the bullied kid or the hero?
You’ve got to see pictures of me from birth to like eighteen. It’s a sight. It was a bumpy road for me growing up, I was a very skinny guy, and I did theater, I went to acting camp.
What was your workout regiment like?
They flew a trainer out – I was doing a film in Boston – so I started there, and we did it about four months, about two hours a day. It was brutal. I usually like working out, you feel better when you go to the gym – walking in sucks, but walking you say “I’m glad I did that.” This was different, I would walk out and need to vomit. I’d think “I hate this trainer, I hate this movie, I want to go to sleep for a week.” It was just relentless – normally you do three sets, twelve reps, you feel a little burn and move on to a new muscle group. This guy, you do four workouts for chest, and you feel like your chest is on fire, you move over here, and say “what are we doing here?” and he’s like “We’re doing chest.” “We’ve done chest! Chest is done!” You’d do an hour of chest, six different workouts. The extent to which we would push things was grueling.
Did you change your diet?
That doesn’t matter, I have a fast metabolism, for me to get big was to eat a lot. Rule of thumb. That was the hardest part, honestly. Working out sucked, eating sucked more, just to keep eating? It’s not like I was eating ice cream, you have to eat a naked piece of chicken, it’s not romantic. You get to the point where you can’t look at another piece of chicken. You’re just so bloated, but you have to keep consuming protein.
Was there a prop or costume you wanted to take home?
I wanted to take the whole suit home, but they wouldn’t let me.
New suit for Avengers?
Yeah, new suit.
What is your favorite bad ass thing you did in the movie?
I really liked the underwater stuff. I never filmed anything underwater, and we had to shoot in this giant tank. You have to do scuba, you go under water with this scuba thing, and then they pull it out, and then you film. They yell cut, but you’re under water for a long time. It was cool and different and I liked how that sequence turned out.
Captain America opens July 22. Check it out.