Happy fourth of July! Celebrity interview with Chris Evans – Captain America

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From Captain America to being jilted, Chris Evans is an actor who’s not afraid to take on different roles

It’s not easy to break free of the action hero stereotype when you’ve played Captain America in one of the biggest film franchises of all time in the form of The Avengers, but Chris Evans has edged elegantly into drama, mystery and comedy genres, continuing to build a portfolio of work that leaves the green screen behind. 

In Ghosted this year, he took on the role of Cole, a lovesick man who tracks one-date Sadie (Ana de Armas) across the world in the hope of getting another shot at romance. He unwittingly, however, wanders into a CIA plot, and winds up surrounded by unsavoury types who want him, and Sadie, dead. 

Combining comedy and considerable artillery, the film was Evans at his best, yet even now at the peak of his powers, he is someone who is happy to reflect, consider his failings as well as his achievements and, of course, entertain in an interview in all the some ways he does on camera, with charm, intellect and no small amount of humility.

Ghosted is a great movie, and succeeded in becoming Apple TV+’s most watched film debut. That’s quite some achievement, yet for you it also represented a conscious step back in the direction of action roles, right?

I like diversions, I like new types of characters, and Cole was really nothing like me. I think that’s healthy. 

“At the end of the day I don’t want to play me. I play me every day anyway!”

At the end of the day I don’t want to play me. I play me every day anyway! The fact this guy ends up in and around a mass of explosions is funny, and perfect. 

Ghosted offered the chance to work again with the brilliant Ana de Armas…

Oh, it was a nightmare, she’s so fussy with everything, she never likes anything that I say or do and if I had the choice, I would probably never work with her ever again in my career… I’m kidding, man. Ana is a really great friend, and we have the greatest times ever. 

I know that there were a few times when we were sitting together on set, and she would show me something funny and we would both be laughing out loud and the other guys there would wonder what was so funny. 

I’m so proud of the things that Ana has done, especially becoming part of the Bond franchise and working with her and Daniel (Craig) on Knives Out was such a great buzz. She’s just an amazing person! 

On the subject, have you ever been ghosted yourself by a prospective partner?

Yeah, I have. Going back some time I had those conversations that started off great and you think: ‘Wow, this is going well so soon.’ Then, the almost inevitable reduction in contact and communication and gradually, it slows down to nothing. 

It’s as if – in some bizarre way – they were trying to be civil and have some manners by continuing to speak, but being non-committal and clearly it was just to give the impression that they’re happy to speak in a friendly way, but nothing more than that. 

Soon, it becomes nothing and that feeling when you send a message, and nothing comes back, and you wonder whether you should send that will almost certainly that will put closure on it… that last text just to show you’re sad with the way things have turned out! 

Then, you realize that you are going to come off looking like an assh*le, so you don’t send anything, and you just try to forget about it. 

Yeah, I’ve been there before, and it’s not a pretty feeling at all! 

“Ultimately, comic book movies have a great source material and obviously they have a built-in fanbase”

Are you done with comic book movies?

I don’t think you can ever be done, totally. Ultimately, comic book movies have a great source material and obviously they have a built-in fanbase, but they are made into films because they have such good characters and story arcs and wonderful writing, and they make so much sense, and so much money! 

It’s interesting to switch to other projects, but never say never. 

Directing is something that’s important to you, and you have worked with some greats. Did you find when you stepped into directing duties yourself – on Before We Go – that it was all it was cracked up to be?

It’s certainly challenging, and it is tough to be in a film that you are also directing. You see a lot of your bad habits when you’re in the editing room. It’s tough to have to watch yourself suck. 

But directing was fun and I liked the responsibility and I am eager to do it again as the first time was a real learning process. Once I get the time to fit another project into my schedule, I am going to start looking for another script to direct. 

“Directing was fun and I liked the responsibility and I am eager to do it again as the first time was a real learning process”

Ultimately, I love acting and I will always love that. It’s very fulfilling, but as an actor you’re only a small piece of the overall puzzle and I love being in control when it comes to the process. If I could, I would get involved in every aspect of a film – the lighting, the camera work, the sets. I love all of it. As a director, you get to put all the pieces together and the trick is to bring all that creativity into one satisfying whole. 

It seems like you’re the kind of person who can really ensure a set of actors get on with one another – you’re the glue. Is there anyone who you felt has been a mentor or a close friend along the way?

I mean, I guess it’s kind of obvious and people will probably already know that my answer will be (Robert) Downey (Jr). He is such a wonderful guy and so talented and experienced. 

He’s so supportive and he has always been in my corner. I’ve always felt backed by him and he really brings everyone into the group and makes sure that everybody feels welcome. 

No matter what it feels like to me, I always try to imagine what it feels like to him, because he really did start so much in terms of the modern superhero incarnation, and he really is so irreplaceable. Nobody can ever be ‘Iron Man’. It’s not a role like a Superman or a Batman that can find different incarnations. 

No one can touch it. No one can. And I wonder what that feels like to kind of come to the end of the road. 

You’re also good friends with Chris Hemsworth…

What’s been great for us is how we’ve bonded over the years. We’ve been through the superhero journey together and we were both kind of apprehensive and nervous when we started out in those films. Neither of us knew how things would turn out and we’ve been able to kind of talk about it and have this brotherly support for each other. I’m very glad to have been able to get to know Chris and become good friends with him. 

You have spent time as an actor on stage. How does that help you when you’re in movies and acting in front of a green screen?

I’d say that the most beneficial tool you can develop to apply to green screen projects is just having a really vivid imagination as a child. As a kid, that’s where you really soaked in make-believe and pretending to be whatever it is you want to be. You’re just playing and you’re having fun. 

So, if you had a really vivid imagination as a kid then I think that’s what gets you through those green screen days. 

Is there a certain burden on you to stay in top shape even when you’re not in training for a movie?

To a certain extent, but you try not to become obsessed with your appearance. The problem is that there are always people in the industry who want you to be more muscled, more sculpted, more tanned, and so on. I’ve never been the kind of guy who’s going to use face creams and moisturizers. There are some things I draw the line at!

What I enjoy doing to stay in shape is playing different kinds of sports with my friends rather than spending hours and hours every week in a gym. At least when you do sports there’s a sense of competition and camaraderie. It’s also good for your mental well-being to get out of the gym and not fuss about your biceps.

What have you learned about women over the years?

[Laughs] That we’re not that different and that when it comes to sex women are thinking about it in ways that would surprise you. Guys tend to be general in their thoughts about women and sex but women like talking about very specific things and that’s been kind of interesting to discover. 

How do you view relationships?

I’m not a person who likes conflict in relationships and I am far more emotional and sincere than people may think. I love being in love with someone and having that love given right back to you in great ways. There’s no better feeling. 

It’s taken a little bit of time for me to see that saying sorry for things is such a healthy way to go about a relationship. You’re in that together and the other person has to see and feel that there’s no lasting argument, grudge or anything like that. 

I just love positive emotions to show that, yeah, I am soft at heart and this rough exterior doesn’t define who I am!

How else have you changed since your early days in Hollywood?

I’ve calmed down a lot. I was very nervous at the beginning because I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to take and how things would play out. Life in general is a lot easier now. 

What might you have been if you weren’t going to be an actor?

Well, I come from a family where we all seemed to have a pretty good gift for math and I inherited that ability, too. My father majored in it in university, and I always enjoyed studying it, so perhaps that.

There’s a constancy to math and what you can understand about existence in binary terms. That’s why I’ve always been drawn to some stories about mathematicians, in films such as Gifted. 

Yet acting was always your destiny…

I would say that my attitude when I was at the beginning of my career was a cocktail of naivety mixed with confidence, but certainly at the time I didn’t have much doubt. A lot of that is from my parents, and I attribute it to the people I had all around me, telling me to go for it, even though it wasn’t the path most people were taking,

I never had sleepless nights thinking it could be a mistake. I was very lucky in that capacity, but again, I can’t take credit for the bravery. I didn’t know any better as a result of my parents’ support. Reflecting on it now, I think it was an insane choice. I didn’t realize that at the time because they never made me feel like it was a risk. 

What else have you taken from your parents?

I have a pretty strong sense of determination when it comes to something I really want. I get that from my mother who is very Italian, and she can be very opinionated and very vocal… 

“I have a pretty strong sense of determination when it comes to something I really want. I get that from my mother who is very Italian”

Do you enjoy getting to work on a much smaller scale smaller films, compared to the big-budget blockbusters?

What strikes me in particular is how fast things move on a smaller film. On a big movie set, everything takes a long time to set up so that you’re often waiting an entire day to shoot one scene or maybe only one part of a scene. With smaller movies, you don’t have that luxury. Time is always running against you, and you have to always be ready to shoot the next scene, so you feel like you’re working much harder and more intensely.

Do you care about whether the public appreciates you for your work, or not?

My work is not for the idea of it. I do it and whatever happens, happens… and I go back to living my life in a very present capacity. So the idea of it, in the future, or the reflection of it in the past, is not relevant to me. In my opinion, it’s not just a waste of time. Acting encourages the ego, and, not to get too theological about it, but to some degree, the tricky landscape of acting is that it really tempts the ego, to believe you are something more than what you are, or that somehow your work is relevant in a capacity beyond the thoughts in your head. That’s both really inspiring and really dangerous!