Chris Evans’ portrayal of Steve Rogers in the Captain America series is the role he is most famous for, but he almost did not take it. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter as part of their Award Chatter podcast, Evans has opened up about his casting in the role, why he almost rejected it, and what convinced him to take up the shield.
Evans recalls playing a superhero, Johnny Storm, in Sony’s Fantastic Four movies in 2005 and 2007. As the sequel released, though, he started to suffer from severe anxiety, as he felt that the better movies he was starring in (like Danny Boyle’s Sunshine) were flying under the radar. When he experienced panic attacks on the set of 2010’s Puncture, he started to worry that acting might not be for him.
When Marvel Studios contacted him about testing for the part of Steve Rogers, and potentially locking into a nine-film deal if he did well, Evans initially declined to come in and test for the part. “My suffering would be my own,” he recalls thinking, worrying that his anxiety would grow worse. Although he was offered a modified deal, involving fewer films and more money if he came in for a screen test, Evans continued to turn it down, worrying that the pressure of fame would get the better of him.
The thing that changed Evans’ mind was, ultimately, Marvel’s insistence, as they eventually offered him the part without conducting a screen test. After talking to Robert Downey Jr. (who plays Iron Man), a therapist, and several friends and family, Evans eventually decided that he should embrace the opportunity. “It was the best decision I ever made,” he says, saying that he’s grateful to Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige “for being persistent and helping me avoid making a giant mistake.”
Ultimately, Evans’ fears did not come to pass, and he says “I fell in love with Steve Rogers pretty quick.” He says that the friendship of his fellow Avengers actors, and seeing Chris Hemsworth also dealing with newfound fame, helped him through the experience.
Chris Evans is now finished playing Captain America, and recently starred in the Apple TV+ series Defending Jacob. Fans of the character can look forward to the new Marvel’s Avengers video game coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC on September 1.
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