Captain America: The First Avenger explores the early days of the Marvel Universe – later populated with such super heroes as Iron Man, the Hulk and Thor. It’s 1941 and the world is being torn apart by war. After repeatedly trying to enlist in the military to do his part, the young and scrappy 98 pound Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) volunteers to participate in an experimental program that turns him into the Super Soldier known as Captain America. As Captain America, Rogers joins forces with Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) to wage war on the evil HYDRA organization, led by the villainous Red Skull (Hugo Weaving.)
MoviesOnline sat down with Chris Evans today at a roundtable interview to talk about the movie. He told us why he was reluctant at first to sign on to play the part in six Marvel movies, why it was a little tricky not being able to gauge the audience response to the character before diving into the next chapter in Captain America’s story, how he felt about the prospect of going from being Chris Evans to being known as Captain America, and what he was doing to stay grounded since he became one of Hollywood’s most in-demand actors. Chris also updated us on how filming was going on The Avengers in Albuquerque, New Mexico and what fans could look forward to.
Q: I think this is maybe the most important question of the day.
CHRIS EVANS: Oh God!
Q: Can you talk about the Brazilian barbecue in other states?
CHRIS EVANS: The Brazilian barbecue?
Q: Yeah, I was going to make a joke about Albuquerque but…
CHRIS EVANS: Oh! (laughs) Yeah, you were out there. You saw. You and I, man, we don’t belong out there, dude. I’ve been out in Albuquerque for two or three months now. This is my tan. What you’re looking at is two or three months in Albuquerque. Everyone else is looking like gold and fantastic and I’m like powder.
Q: People are finally seeing Captain America and you’ve been working on The Avengers for a while now. Now that people are finally seeing it, do you feel a little relieved that people are really digging your take?
CHRIS EVANS: Are they digging my take?
Q: I thought the movie was awesome.
CHRIS EVANS: Awesome, man. That’s my dude. That’s part of the worry. It was nice continuity-wise to be able to go literally from Captain America right into The Avengers. To keep yourself in the same frame of mind is nice as an actor, but it’s also nice to get some feedback from the audience. At the end of the day, we’re making these movies for the fans, and especially the hardcore fans, and they’re the ones that I’m most concerned about. They’re the ones that I’d love to get some response from and adjust accordingly. If they thought one way or another, I’ve got no problem cutting my cloth according to what people are looking for, because, like I said, we wouldn’t be making them without them. It is tricky not being able to gauge the response before diving into The Avengers. If they hate it, hopefully I can make some adjustments before the sequel.
Q: Your character undergoes a physical transformation, but his mind remains the same. Have you had this experience in real life where you’ve changed on the outside but you’re still trying to remain true to yourself?
CHRIS EVANS: Do I have this experience? Well, don’t we all? I guess. I think we all do. I think no matter what goes on around you, we all try to maintain who we are. I don’t think any of us can go through that radical of a physical transformation that he goes through though.
Q: What made you decide to work on this project and do you consider yourself to be a sexy man because of the transformation?
CHRIS EVANS: (laughs) Those are two very different questions. Part A. I chose to do this movie. Why did I decide to do this movie?
Q: To be a sex symbol.
CHRIS EVANS: Well said. Well done. I chose to do this movie because it was the thing that I think I was the most scared of. You know what I mean? I think it was one of the things that at first I ran from it because it was just not what I was looking for. But it wasn’t what I was looking for because I was just scared of it for a lot of reasons. And then, all of a sudden, it did like a 180. All of a sudden it felt like, you know, Chris, if you’re scared of something, you should just push yourself into it. Just do it. I think you regret the things you don’t do more than the things you do, especially if you don’t do it out of fear. So I did it because I was scared of it.
Q: Scared of playing another superhero or scared of playing *that* superhero.
CHRIS EVANS: No, I would have been fine playing a superhero if it was one movie and I would have been fine playing a superhero maybe if it was my first time around. The reason I was scared was because initially it was 9 pictures, then it came down to 6 movies. Even 6 movies, that’s 10 years, dude. I mean, I could be doing this until I’m 40. To make a decision, I don’t know what I’ll be passionate about tomorrow. What if I just don’t want to do this anymore? What if it gets weird or too much or I fall in love with writing or something else and I just want to do something else? Or I just want to move to the mountains, whatever. My freedom is gone if I do this movie. You’re signing something away and I just guess I wasn’t 100 percent positive that the end game in my life was to be a gigantic movie star. And if you’re not 100 percent committed to that goal, making this decision is kind of scary. That, mixed with it’s a big lifestyle change too.
Q: A lot of gym time.
CHRIS EVANS: I don’t mind. That’s not the worst thing in the world. That’s okay. It feels good going to the gym. That’s it basically. It was the commitment. It was a potential lifestyle change. If the movie had been in a vacuum, if it had been a one time gig, a one pop shot, if the movie is a wild success and I can’t go to the grocery store and that’s messing with me, then I can take a step back and say maybe I’ll retreat for a year, two years, three years, whatever, until I feel okay again. That’s just not the way this operates. If I lose anonymity and it’s something I can’t cope with, guess what? Too bad, I better figure it out because I’ve got to get back to work in 6 months. That is the reason I was kind of scared of it. And, I do consider myself a sex symbol. I’m joking! I’m joking!
Q: This is the week where you go from Chris Evans to being known as Captain America. You’re obviously on hiatus, you’re filming The Avengers now and your face is on all the movie posters, you’re doing TV, you’re going to Comic Con, and doing this. Can you talk about what this week is like for you?
CHRIS EVANS: I just gotta get through this week. That’s what I’ve been telling myself since like three weeks ago. I just gotta get through. If I can just get to the 22nd, I’ve made it. This is all tricky stuff for me. I love roundtables. I’ve always told my publicist “Give me roundtables.” I love it. This just feels like a conversation. This feels fine to me. This feels nice. I don’t mind this at all. Press with studio audiences, cameras, red carpets where there’s a lot of people, I just don’t do well. I don’t know what it is. I can’t turn my third eye off. I feel very self-conscious. And I knew that’s what was coming. I knew that was going to be the wave. And then, the lifestyle stuff too. I went to the gym yesterday, at Bally’s, and it was different, just different. You’re signing things. You’re like, man, I guess I knew this was going to happen. I’m trying to not let it …you know it’s going to come in waves. It’s going to come in waves. That’s what I keep telling myself. This is just now. This is just right now. In three months, I’ll be able to go back to Bally’s and no one will bother me.
CHRIS EVANS: (laughs) Don’t say that. Please don’t say that. Don’t say that!
Q: You gotta use some of the money you’re gonna be making to build…
CHRIS EVANS: …to build my own gym. I know.
Q: …in your place.
CHRIS EVANS: Just listen. Of course, people are going to bug me now. My face is on a lot of places right now. It’s just one day at a time. I think I used to, I know before I took this movie, I was very…you just start looking ahead and you can send yourself into a tailspin, just like what could be and how will I ever manage this. One day at a time. That’s the mantra.
Q: Do you talk to guys like Tommy Lee Jones to see how they handle it?
CHRIS EVANS: Sure. Downey has been fantastic. I cannot say enough about Robert Downey, Jr. I love that guy. I love him. He’s so great and he’s so willing to talk about this stuff. This is all new. It is new for me. I’ve made movies but nothing like this. It’s great to be able to talk to someone who’s been in a spot like this for good and bad reasons. He has so much presence and charisma and confidence. He seems so centered and peaceful. He seems like life. He seems happy. Isn’t that the goal? I love being able to talk to him about this stuff.
Q: How do you stay grounded when your life is changing like this? Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
CHRIS EVANS: I don’t know. Hopefully, I’ll be the exact same guy. I just moved back to Boston. I just moved back to where I’m from and that’s a big thing. That helps a lot for me. There’s something about L.A., where just even when you’re not working, you feel like you’re working. I don’t know what that is. Something about L.A., it’s just the heartbeat of this industry. Just about anyone you run into or talk to, it feels almost like work to me. And then, you go back to Boston. My buddies hate my movies. They think I’m the worst actor on the planet. I’m very quickly reminded of who I was and who I am. It’s a good environment. It’s a much healthier environment for me. So hopefully, in ten years, it’ll be the same guy, and hopefully, I’ll be able to attribute that to the people who knew me before.
Q: How much of the forties did you want to consciously incorporate into Steve Rogers – certainly the good aspects like that old school earnest heroism, but also maybe the bad side as well — like some of that initial prejudiced reaction when you first see Jim Morita?
CHRIS EVANS: I don’t have that reaction. Captain America, he doesn’t see color. (laughs) We weren’t trying to bring that back. What a crazy question! In no way did I approach the character and say, “You know what Steve Rogers could use? A little racism. A little of that 40s racism. Let’s sprinkle a little bit of that in.”
Q: It’s something that was there in the 40s. It is different.
CHRIS EVANS: Oh sure, but I don’t think in any way did I approach this and say, in no way would I think that the character would be more fleshed out by letting that bubble up to the surface.
Q: What do you think about how some countries like South Korea and Russia have changed the name of the movie and eliminated Captain America from the title?
CHRIS EVANS: That’s right. They did. I’ve been rehearsing my political response to that very question, and the truth is, that’s not my department. It’s such a tricky question. Again, I don’t know why we chose those markets to change our name. I’m sure there are people around the world who question America’s current political position in the world, but I’m an actor. I make movies. In no way do I know how to navigate those obstacles. They changed them and I couldn’t tell you why.
Q: This movie should be a vehicle for you to be able to hone in on some passion projects for you. Do you have any in mind?
CHRIS EVANS: Porno. I think I’d be great. I really think I’ve got a future.
Q: I’ll bet they’re gonna make you wear the outfits. Where does the shield go?
CHRIS EVANS: I’m glad this is being recorded. I would love to direct. I’ve been saying it for awhile. It’s a tricky thing to make the transition because I’ve never directed before and it’s going to take a really crazy person to trust me with a film. I can’t tell you how often I sit on set and just desperately wish I was in charge. It’s not just about being a control freak. It’s that I love films and I love acting. I think the reason I got into acting is because I like movies. I just like movies. I like all movies. There’s nothing I don’t like. Pick a genre, I like it all. I would be happy to direct anything. You could give me any movie in the world and I’d be happy to direct it. I would just love to create the story, create the journey a little bit more, and I think it would suit what I’m looking for as far as a lifestyle is concerned. I think it would really fit me well.
Q: I think Marvel will get you on the seventh picture.
CHRIS EVANS: Me directing. Wouldn’t that be great? Wouldn’t that be great!
Q: Could you talk a little bit about how The Avengers is going? Can you tell fans what they should be excited about?
CHRIS EVANS: It’s going great. It’s going really well. I mean, Joss (Whedon), I really tip my hat to Joss. He has such a difficult job and every day we come to set and you read how the film is going to be shot or a scene is going to be shot but you don’t know what he’s going to do with the camera and then he’ll open up. Usually when you’re filming, the first shot is some sort of a master shot where before you punch into the coverage of the scene, you start with some wide shot to just get the whole layout of the scene. Typically, those shots are a little bland. It’s just kind of let’s map out the scene with a wide shot and then we’ll come in with some interesting coverage to spoon feed the story along to the audience. Even his masters have energy and action and you watch playback and you’re like man, this is going to have some life and it’s going to have a really good feel to it. Even a simple scene, Joss manages to give the camera some interesting action. And again, I can’t say enough about the actors involved – Downey and Ruffalo. Each day you watch these guys do things and you’re like man, I hope I’m not the weak link in this movie. I gotta work harder. I gotta go home and study my lines ‘cause these guys are great. I have really high hopes for it.
Q: By the way, I enjoy your Dunkin’ Donuts at home.
CHRIS EVANS: I know. I don’t know why they don’t have Dunkin’ Donuts out here.
Q: We’ve had this conversation before.
CHRIS EVANS: Have we?
CHRIS EVANS: It’s ridiculous.
Q: You should really work on this.
CHRIS EVANS: I should. That’s the next goal…after porn.
Captain America: The First Avenger opens in theaters on July 22nd.