Chris Evans is already at a loss for words. The actor has just taken a break from running around a metal catwalk against a green screen for directors Anthony and Joe Russo. Now, he's face-to-face with us. The press. The guys who want all of the answers surrounding Evans' latest turn as our country's patriotic champ Steve Rogers in Captain America: Winter Soldier (opening April 4th). Most of all, we want to know why he's wearing his old costume. Why IS he running around this catwalk in the old suit?
Evans doesn't know what he's supposed to say. Certainly not with a publicist eyeing him and monitoring his every word.
So, the actor flashes that million dollar smile that's a blinding vision of stars 'n stripes and apple pie and American eagles and 4th of July fireworks and all the things that helped land him the role of Rogers in the first place. "I'm not sure what I can tell you!" he says.
And we accept that. This is a Marvel production, after all. This is the dance we always do with the talent and we'll take what we can get. If he's going to divert a "suit" question, we'll roll with it, but damn if we won't try to get some other info out of him.
ComingSoon.net/SuperHeroHype is visiting set of "Winter Soldier," the anticipated follow-up to the 2011 film Captain America: The First Avenger from director Joe Johnston. It's our chance to see what Cap has been up to post-Avengers. Stark was a headcase after the incident in New York. Thor was… well, being Thor and dealing with Asgard issues. Cap? Well, the man out of time has some interesting conflicts to face and here to talk about them (if he can) is Evans. Let's begin…
Question: Kevin says the suits have a thematic arc.
Chris Evans: Is that it? [laughs] I'm not sure what I can tell you. Sure it does! Kevin just said, "Spill the beans!"
Q: How do you like the new suit?
Evans: I do like the new suit a lot. I can tell you I think a lot of people like the old suit after "The Avengers." Not that I have anything bad to say about "The Avengers" suit. That was wildly comfortable, but I think people liked the old suit. I think people enjoyed the World War II aspect of the first movie. There was something about that people liked.
Q: Are you glad your ears are getting some air?
Evans: They get some air on the new suit. I've always liked the ears inside. I always thought I had big Dumbo ears and when they tried to make the ears on the outside, I was like please don't make me do this. [laughs] I look so silly They did some really cool things and the new suit does have the ears out and it actually looks okay.
Q: Where do we find Cap when this movie begins?
Evans: He feels comfortable within the structure he's been given. He likes to serve. He likes to take orders. He's like a herding dog and needs a task I think the issue in Captain America was about giving the opportunity, and then he got the opportunity. He was thrust into a different world. And, "The Avengers," there were so many characters, it was too much to spend any time with one. And, on this movie, it's about him trying to not just acclimate to the modern world, but I think it's always been Cap's goal to do what's right and help where he can. I think the question in this movie is: What is right? I think it was a lot easier in the '40s to know who the evil was. There's no disputing Nazis are bad. Now, it's a bit more difficult. What is the right thing? And, are you a service to that cause? That's where it becomes a tricky dispute for Cap.
Q: You get new relationships and build on old relationships. In which direction is the character taken in when it comes to those?
Evans: I think it's brought in a more human direction. Cap is such a good guy, it's hard for him to bleed, figuratively. He doesn't want to burden anyone with his struggles and that's what makes him interesting. So, any way we can push him in more of a human direction and show weakness, struggle and vulnerability and connect with people, I think that grounds him a bit and makes him more interesting. All of the relationships, especially with Natasha and with Sam, even though we do have Winter Soldier, he's not… what you're seeing today is more third act stuff, but the meat of the film, the connections he makes that bring him to life are with Natasha and Sam.
Q: Three movies in, how do you feel about your relationship with Marvel and this decision you made to commit to this character?
Evans: I feel really good. I'd be kicking myself if I hadn't done this. I'd really be kicking myself. [laughs] It was just a matter of adjusting to lifestyle changes. My team told this in the beginning. It comes in waves. You have to respect when the movie comes out, there's going to be a surge and changes. Then it'll die back down. Just like any type of actor. You can monitor it. It's not like when the movie is out, you forfeit your life. You take those periods in stride and there will be a relative level of normalcy. I love doing these movies, because they're good. It's been tricky in my career, I'm sure you've seen some of my not-so-good movies. And it's disappointing. These movies, I've begun to just put my trust in all of the guys at Marvel. Their barometer is pretty on point.
Q: Is there an identity crisis for Cap at all here or is it about placing him out-of-context and seeing where that bounces off?
Evans: Well, he's a very human superhero. He doesn't shoot lightning, he doesn't fly… it's very meat and potatoes powers. I think it's only appropriate that the tone and the theme fits the human element. It does have a grounded "political thriller" tone to it and I think that just goes hand-in-hand with the character. It just works. They're trying to infuse much more human conflict that doesn't have to do with fighting monsters or doing giant stunts, it's about him coping with moral issues, right and wrong. I think we can all identify with that.
Q: But he's not questioning his own identity in this ambiguous environment?
Evans: No, no…I think it's a question of how he fits into the world around him?
Q: There was a seed of distrust planted in "The Avengers" when Cap discovers what S.H.I.E.L.D. is up to. Is that expanded here?
Evans: It certainly does. I don't know…am I in trouble now? [laughs] Yeah, it does. That's no secret. That's what it is. It's coming out in America now. How much can we monitor cell phone use and stuff like that. Text messages. Where do you draw the line? Is it okay to spy on someone before they've committed a crime? Do you take the world as it is or as you'd like it to be? It's a tricky question and Cap comes from a time that was a little more trust and a little less access. I can go on the Internet now, I mean I couldn't do that in the '40s. It's a tricky conversation for me to have right now. This is my time and it's tough to swallow the pill of where society has gone.
Q: Can you talk about working with Joe Johnston and then shifting into the Russos, as an actor?
Evans: It's a tough call because I loved Joe and I love the Russos. It's probably tougher… well, I shouldn't say that. I was going to say it was probably tougher for Joe because he didn't have as much information. Russos can reference the first Cap and "The Avengers." It's another link in the chain. Characters have been laid down and those films did very well, so there's an expectation at a level now where maybe there's a bit more pressure on the Russos. With Joe, it was all brand new and we were feeling it out together. He loves the '40s and '50s and has that look down so well. I think Joe liked a bit of a more grounded Cap in terms of his powers and abilities. It's an impressive athlete as opposed to someone who is ripping through cars and stuff like that, which is fine. We're pushing it a little bit more in this one. You've seen "The Avengers"! Those guys are good, I need to have a reason to be on this team. [laughs]
Q: Can you talk about the new fighting style?
Evans: I remember when I first met with the Russos… Has anyone played the Captain America video game? I love it. And I don't like video games. But I loved it because I liked the way Cap moves. He moves so well and beats ass. This is how he should be moving. He doesn't just have speed and power. He's been training. He's got the frame of mind to absorb this information, so you can imagine with his training and abilities, the guy should really be dangerous and we should show this. It's not just taking Jason Bourne, if Bourne can do it, Cap should be flying through these things. We're turning up his power and his speed, so the fights are a bit more grisly.
Q: The use of the shield Cap had in the video game was great.
Evans: Yes! The shield and the acrobatics. He's flipping off things and using his environments. It wasn't just punch, punch, kick, kick.
Q: Can you talk about Steve and Sam and what they make of each other…
Evans: Sam [Wilson aka The Falcon] works at the VA now and he’s like a therapist for those who have come back from overseas and are struggling. In that regard, Sam and I connect. We have an understanding, it’s not like Cap has that many friends. His life is his work and Natasha kind of comes in and gives him a hard time about that, too – about dating, finding a social life outside of your work. And so [Sam] extends an olive branch and tries to be a friend. Later on, when things happen, that friendship proves to be invaluable.
Q: How does the Winter Soldier's presence impact Steve Rogers?
Evans: Now it's going to get tricky. The stakes are high. That's one of Steve's biggest sources of guilt. Out of his whole crew of Howling Commandos he convinced to come to battle and he's the one guy that didn't make it back. That was the one guy who was always there for me. And to find out he did make it and was subject to some of the things he was subject to, it's a lot for Steve to process. He takes full responsibility, because he wouldn't do it any other way. I think that's a political answer, yeah? I didn't give too much away…
Q: How much of this movie is you looking at the past and looking at the future and trying to adjust?
Evans: That was another thing we tried to figure out in this movie because, again, a lot of people really did like '40s and '50s aspect of the movie. And even the characters. You try to think of ways of working them back in, but I think eventually that could get tired if you're like, "Well, it's not the '40s." And everyone is like, "All right, shut up! We get it, you missed the '40s." We tried to strike a balance.
Q: You have any scenes with Robert Redford?
Evans: Yeah, it was great. I was so nervous the first day. Within the first few minutes I was like, thank God. He's the nicest guy in the world. And it's not like he can't direct. He could have easily come on board and made it his set. He just didn't do that. He has immense respect. We shot like a 15-hour day, the Russos love their coverage, and he had minimal lines. And he could have left and [let someone else read the lines]. But he didn't do it, he stuck around and did off-camera for me. He's just classy. He classes up the whole project.
Q: Are you the person who has been in the most superhero movies now?
Evans: Maybe! Or is it Sam? Let's do a count? I've only had two Fantastic Fours…
Q: Hugh Jackman?
Evans: That's right. [laughs]
Hit Full Screen for bigger versions of the new photos below and stay tuned for the Super Bowl spot!