Chris Evans is the latest matinee idol to take a turn this summer as a superheroic savior of the human race. “Captain America: The First Avenger“ debuts in theatres this Friday, July 22. Cast and crew and assorted celebs attended a splashy premiere on Hollywood Boulevard at the El Capitan TheatreTuesday night. But they didn’t walk a red carpet: Given the film’s theme the carpet was instead striped an appropriately patriotic red and white, with star-spangled blue as a backdrop.
The screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely was directed by Joe Johnston for Paramount Pictures and Marvel Studios. Johnston is the helmer of such fan-favorites as “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” and “Jumanji” as well as the cult classic “The Rocketeer.”
Johnston isn’t the only “Captain America” team member with superhero credentials. Evans himself first squeezed his very fine physique into skintight Spandex as Johnny “The Human Torch” Storm in 2005′s “Fantastic Four” and its ’07 sequel.
He wasn’t able to ease up on his workouts with this new role. Evans told reporters the four-month training regimen before filming began nearly took him down. “We did two hours a day, and it was brutal,” he said. “I usually like working out. Going in sucks, but walking out, you’re like, ‘I’m glad I did that!’ This was different. I’d walk out and be like, ‘I need to vomit. I hate this trainer. I hate this movie. I want to go to sleep for a week.’ It was just relentless.”
Before he began throwing weights around, the actor repeatedly turned down the role. He was concerned about a long time commitment spanning six potential movies as well as typecasting if the first film was a hit. Evans also worried about losing what bit of anonymity he still retains.
So what finally turned him around? “I was not doing the movie because it was terrifying to me. I do believe you can’t make decisions based on fear,” he told PopSugar.com. “I think that’s a big mistake, and I think you’ll end up regretting a lot more of the things you don’t do than the things you did.”
Evans actually sought therapy to sort out why he was feeling conflicted about embracing such a golden opportunity. “The question is: What’s the endgame? What’s the goal? If the goal is to be a giant movie star, then yeah, this is a great way to achieve that,” he told the New York Times. “That’s not necessarily what I’m trying to achieve.”
Needless to say, he worked through it. Evans had help: His costars in the superhero ensemble action flick “The Avengers“—currently filming and set for release next summer—include Chris Hemsworth and Robert Downey Jr., who play the leads in “Thor” and “Iron Man,” respectively. They intimately understood Evans’ trepidation and provided counsel.
If these first films succeed, it’s “nice job security, but it doesn’t give a whole lot of freedom,” he says. “That’s the compromise, and it’s worth it. These are good problems to be having.”
Triva: He may not look it now, but Evans was a slight, slender theatre nerd as a kid. “I grew up, half my life, in tights and tap shoes,” he recalls. “You gotta see pictures of me from birth to 18. I mean, it’s a sight. It was a bumpy road for me growing up, and I was a very skinny guy. I went to acting camp, you know? That’ll give you an idea of where I’m coming from.”
CLICK HERE for the PopSugar interview.
CLICK HERE for the New York Times profile.