Today at long last American audiences can see Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, relish in a whole new opportunity to cheer for its titular superhero and swoon over its star, Chris Evans. But hey, Evans is so much more than CapAss. In an in-depth profile on Rolling Stone, the hunky action hero, his family and his fellow Avengers opened up on what makes this All-American actor tick.
While the full piece is totally worth your time, here are the highlights.
Evans is not as easy-going as you think.
Robert Downey Jr. has describes him as a “Nervous Nellie” because of how stressed out the star gets over Marvel’s marketing tours. Scarlett Johansson concurred, saying, “It’s funny. He’s extremely easygoing, he loves to hang out, he loves to be around people. But whenever we do a premiere, or he has to be in the fray in some work-related context, he’s terrified.”
However when you hear all the details and people and events that are a part of promoting a studio movie as massive as Captain America: Civil War, it’s easy to understand Evan’s anxiety. Hell, reading about a red carpet flooded with stars, photographers and reporters as helicopters hover overhead and promotional vehicles zing up to the entry way were enough to give me a tension headache. Evans explained, “A red carpet lasts, what, 30 minutes tops? But that to me is like 30 minutes of walking on hot coals…the premiere - that’s overwhelming. It’s the volume of it: You’re in the center of this thing. You can fight a whole army if they line up one at a time. But if they surround you, you’re fucked.”
His coping methods include meditation and an adorable puppy.
Evans’ mom said he’s had a tendency to get lost in his thoughts and worries since he was a boy, describing a family car ride where the future star purposely left his Gameboy at home so he could stare out the car window and ponder. But Evans strives to overcome overthinking with meditation techniques he picked up studying with a Buddhist guru in India. Also, he’s got Dodger, a one-year-old “rambunctious golden-retriever mix” whose picture is cruelly not included in the Rolling Stone piece.
He talked Marvel down from a nine-movie contract to a six-movie contract.
It’s not news that Evans feels frustrated by his Marvel dealings, but through his perspective, it seems less like a lack of enthusiasm or gratitude, and more about the many, many, many other requirements of being Captain America. His contract not only demands the movies, but also the cameos, the exhaustive promotional tours, and the corporate tie-ins, which are more extensive than with other films or the New York plays Evans longs to be a part of. Yes, it’s what he signed on for and what’s required to sell these beautiful blockbusters. But it’s not why Evans wanted to become an actor. As he put it, “I love acting - but that’s not all you’re asking me to do…(When I’m acting) the noise goes away. You’re just leaned into the experience. You’re really riding the wave of just living.”
He’s proud of his Captain America.
Having spent years lost in a string of bland hunk roles, Evans was determined to take a character that could have been “a real piece of cardboard” and make him memorable and layered. Speaking to the challenge of that, Evans shared, “He’s a little vanilla. He’s a good man, but he’s not exactly flashy. He doesn’t have the great one-liners; he’s not flying around shooting missiles. He’s probably not the one your kids want to dress up as. So it’s tricky.”
Johansson, who has known Evans since the pair appeared in The Nanny Diaries together, explained Evan’s portrayal of Cap saying, “There’s a sort of a loneliness about the way that Chris plays [Cap] that I think is very touching. He has a kind of longing, self-searching quality that Chris has given him - like he’s struggling with something maybe all of us are struggling with.”
He agrees with me that Cap is not a virgin anymore.
Asked if the no-drinking, no-cursing Cap has had the pre-maritals, Evans said, “At this point, he probably has. He has to have. But he’s respectful - he never talks about it.” (So, suck on that, Rebecca!)
He’s a real hero.
This is not said explicitly in the profile. But by sharing about his anxieties, Evans admirably exposes a vulnerability that is too often stigmatized. A lot of use suffer from anxiety and overthinking. And its stigma makes it worse, making us feel unworthy or weak. To see that the brawny and bright star who embodies American ideals also struggles with anxieties means a lot. It’s a “stars are just like us” moment that matters.
So props to Evans, and thanks from your fellow “Nervous Nellies.”
Kristy Puchko is #TeamCap always.