Evans, who rose to prominence in the early aughts after starring roles in films like “Not Another Teen Movie” and “Cellular,” has a lot of expectations riding on him as he attempts to carry the famous shield which means so much to so many comic book readers. It’s a responsibility he understands well.
“At the end of the day, you’re making the movie for the fans. These movies wouldn’t get made if there wasn’t a built-in fanbase. They just wouldn’t. So at the end of the day, your loyalty is to the people who are passionate about these comic books, so you want to make sure that they’re happy, first and foremost,” Evans said.
This loyalty to the fans is not something that Evans took lightly. Evans spoke to how some of his research involved reading “as many comic books as possible … You have to get a sense of who the fans are expecting to see, who they have in their head as far as Captain America is concerned.” He then took this background knowledge and used it to inform his performance, because even Evans attests that “at the end of the day … you’re making the script that’s given to you.”
Evans also spoke at length to the quality of those talented individuals around him. Aside from calling Stanley Tucci and Tommy Lee Jones, “two of the sweetest guys on the planet,” he praised director Joe Johnston for his ability to make the film a collaborative process, rather than one in which the director calls all of the shots. Evans saved his highest praise for the man playing his nemesis, Hugo Weaving.
“Hugo has a presence. You know, it’s his face; it’s his voice; it’s his body. Everything about Hugo belongs on film.”
Even with all that talent behind him, Evans still had his doubts. In fact, he admits that the first time he saw himself dressed as Captain America he thought, “What have I gotten myself into?”
He continued, “You know, it was pretty intimidating when you first put the suit on. I think I was still a little apprehensive at that time … I agreed to do the movie, but with a lot of nerve. And I think the first time I put the suit on, it was a mixture.”
For Evans, the film serves as a bit of a culminating point in a career that has seen him rise to this level of stardom. The actor has had his experience being a supporting character in a big superhero film when he played Johnny Storm/Human Torch in Marvel’s “Fantastic Four”, as well as experience in smaller indies like “Puncture,” but “Captain America” puts him front and center in a large-scale film.
“In ‘Fantastic Four,’ they only want to talk to Jessica Alba, which is perfect for me, because if I had my way, I’d never say anything. This movie, it’s a lot more demand as far as promotion is concerned, which is scary … I struggle with it at times… But ‘Fantastic Four’ certainly helped break me in to understand the amount that was expected.”
Evans expanded on the differences between doing a blockbuster film and a smaller production, saying, “When you’re on a big film, it’s a tedious process … a lot of waiting around, and it’s a lot of camera angles, and it’s long set-up times. Smaller films, there’s obviously a time crunch … and it’s much faster pace. I think on a smaller film you end up going home and feeling a bit more like – a bit more like you made a movie. You know, on a big movie, it’s a lot of hurry up and wait. On a small film, you come home and you say, man, I really – I really worked today.”
Still, the actor remains unfazed by the success, no matter how “crazy” it may seem. “I think if it had all happened overnight, it’d be crazy … if I showed up in L.A. and in the first month I booked some huge movie and, in a year I had an action figure, I think it would have maybe been too much to swallow. But I’ve had a very gradual career, where little things have happened slowly over time to the point where once there’s an action figure, you’re like, oh, OK, that’s – I guess that’s next, and that’s – you know, it’s kind of crazy.”
Speaking about the film, Evans said, “I really think it’s about who Captain America is. That’s kind of why I like doing the film. He’s just – he’s got these indestructible values. You know, he doesn’t do the right thing for anybody. He’s not doing it to be praised. He’s not doing it for rewards. He’s doing it because it’s the right thing, and that’s – that’s a really commendable way to live life. And I think that’s something we can all aspire to.”
“Captain America: The First Avenger” opens nationwide July 22.