SuperHeroHype got a chance to talk to Chris Evans on the set of Captain America: The First Avenger, an interview you can read below:
Q: You're playing one of the most iconic superheroes in the Marvel universe. How did the suit affect your performance? Did it change your idea of who Cap was when you actually strapped it on?
Chris Evans: Sure. I think wardrobe in general's a pretty big deal for any character. Not to knock the magnitude of the suit down to any other film, but whenever you put on the clothes of the character, it certainly helps bring the character to life. Of all the characters I've played, superhero or not, I was most excited about putting this one on. It absolutely lends itself to the role. There was a lot of build up for me to do this, more so than anything else I've done, and deciding to do it was a big thing, and nerve wracking, lots of sleepless nights, and then finally putting it on, I was like, "am I going to feel good about this, or is my body going to reject this? Too late," but it felt fantastic. I love it. I never want to take it off. I have trouble with the fly though.
Q: What's the source of those sleepless nights?
Evans: I'll be candid with you. There's a couple of factors. One, I'd already done the superhero thing, I didn't know how people were going to respond to the fact that I was doing it again, and I was in a really good place in my life as far as finding a happy medium of working, and navigating this profession, but still having anonymity. The paparazzi doesn't follow me. I can live my life and do this, which is a tricky thing to kind of balance, and this movie, obviously nothing's a guarantee, but this is certainly a potential game changer. There's a giant commitment, I could be doing these movies, I'm sure most of you know there was a huge number of multi-pictures they wanted, theoretically I could be doing these into my 40s, and that was a crazy thing to wrap your head around. Was I ready to make a decision for that much of my life. I love acting, but I want to do other things, I'd love to direct, I want to write. Who's to say, in ten years, maybe I just want a break. You can't take a break if you do this, you're in, and that's a very stressful thing to pull the trigger on, it's a big chapter of your life you're saying yes to.
Q: Has there been anything that that informed the way you created the character of Steve Rogers and Captain America?
Evans: Obviously I went and read as many comic books as I could find, but I think the most helpful thing in the comic book world was finding out who he was before. This is an origins tale, and I think, if at the first film you still see little Steve, little 'Skinny Steve,' that's the guy you relate to, and that's the guy that you always see in Steve Rogers. I think that's what the audience will like, that's what I, certainly will like. On a more personal note, I have a friend who is a comic book nut, and he loves when I say this, he's the best human being I know. He's an Eagle Scout. To be an Eagle Scout, I don't know if you guys know what an Eagle Scout is, it's like a boy scout that did it way too long, until they were 19, 20 years old. I remember going to this Eagle Scout, he's just a good man, he does the right thing. He would rather, not even tell a white lie. He's not pious, he's not condescending, he just would rather do the good thing, his morals are intact, I'm amazed that people like him exist. Even his demeanor is, I don't know, noble and honorable. He is Captain America to me.
So I told my buddy that I was basing it off him, and I wish I could do his reaction, it's hilarious, it's what Steve Rogers would say if you told him you were going to base him in a movie. So on a personal level, that's who I'm ripping off, but obviously the comic books are the best information.
Q: As an actor, how do you feel being modified by CGI?
Evans: It's certainly a different animal, you don't have the tangible world to play off, but I think most actors probably started out as little kids in their back yard playing make believe anyway, so you've just got to tap into the pretend part of your brain, and just have a little fun, be willing to look a little silly. It's kind of fun actually, when you let go, and you really go for it, you really are eight years old again, wearing a Captain America suit. It's ridiculous. You're a kid all over again, it's a lot of fun.
Q: Captain America's very morally upright. We've seen over the last few years all of these cynical, and tortured, and wisecracking heroes. Is this reclaiming the superhero from that direction?
Evans: Sure, I suppose. Great way to put it. I don't know how I can elaborate on that, it's a wonderful way to put it. Most superheroes get their powers by accident, or they were born with it, this guy was chosen, he was picked, specifically because of his moral fiber, and that's a great thing, that's a great thing to reward. So you want to make sure he's not just morally sound, but likeable. It would be a unfortunate if the guy was a real, true noble guy, but a bland, boring person. I think it's a great way to put it though, I really can't add any more to that.
Q: How's it been using the shield? Did it take a lot of getting used to?
Evans: It's good, it's tricky. They had a bunch of different shields. Some of them are the real heavy, legit shields that look fantastic on film, some of them are, if you guys have seen, a bit rubbery, when you're doing dangerous stuff, and you don't want to get hit in the face with it. So each one has a different weight to it. It's always strange, but it's always great sliding it on, it just feels cool. It's strange seeing a stuntman dressed up and thinking, "is that what I look like? Alright! That's fantastic!" you forget. But the shield is kind of the icing on the cake.
Q: Are you looking forward to giving orders to Robert Downey Jr?
Evans: I don't know. I've been asked that a couple of times. I just met all those guys for the first time at Comic-Con, and they all seem so fantastic. I don't know what Joss [Whedon] is going to do with the script, I don't know what level of leader they're going to make him right away. I know in a lot of the Avengers comic books he's sort of the quarterback in those scenarios, but that's up to Joss. That's out of my hands.
Q: Can you talk about where you see Captain America's place in the present world?
Evans: Well, Ed Brubaker had that great quote where he said, in modern comic books you have those left-wing people who want Captain America to be speaking out against George Bush, and against Washington, and you have right-wing people wanting Captain America to be in Afghanistan, fighting the war. Obviously I think, in the '40s, it was pretty clear-cut who the enemy was. Does that mean that the morals, and the man you have to be as Captain America is a little bit less black and white, more grey? Probably. I'm sure it's a lot easier to say "Nazis are bad" than it is to say "Republicans are bad." It's just not that clear cut anymore. But again, like my friend Charlie, he lives in a world of grey. I think that's what makes people morally sad, there isn't a harsh black and white, there's an understanding – his name's Charlie, by the way. He's going to love this – I can't see him coming down on either side of any situation quick and easily. I think he would weigh the options and listen, and I think that translates, at least currently to a whole different type of climate.
Q: Can you talk about Steve's relationship with Bucky?
Evans: It's been great. I really like it actually. It's a little bit different from, at least, the original Captain America comic books. The original comic books, Bucky was a young guy, kind of a sidekick, kind of the one Steve had to look out for. We do it a little differently, but the relationship is still very well developed. I think it's one of the best ones in the film, you really care about these two guys. They're friends before Steve gets this injection. I don't want to give too much away, I think I'll get murdered by Kevin Feige.
Q: How grounded in reality is the action?
Evans: Good question. When I came into it I was interested about, "what are the extent of his abilities. Can the guy jump over mountains? What can he actually do?" because I think that will affect how cool the movie looks in the end. You want him to be someone who is obviously superior, obviously able, but you don't want the guy punching through brick walls. They basically equated it to, he would crush the Olympics. Any Olympic sport he's gonna dominate. He can jump higher, run faster, lift stronger weight, but he can be injured. He could roll an ankle and be out for the season. He's not perfect, he's not untouchable. So a lot of the effects, if I'm going to punch someone they're not going to put them on a cable and fly them back 50 feet, but he's going to go down, probably not getting back up, which I think humanizes it. It makes it something that, again, I think everyone can relate to a little bit more, which I really like.