Chris Evans went into therapy to deal with his ‘Captain America’ role


Man, I don’t know what to think about Chris Evans, who is at once a nearly perfect physical specimen (if you’re into that sort of thing) yet so obviously filled with a nearly pathological level of existential anguish that I truly feel for the guy; or, at least, that’s the feeling I got after reading the New York Times interview conducted in preparation for his lead role in Captain America. It turns out that Evans had an exceedingly difficult time accepting this role, so much so that Marvel Studios had to keep offering it to him even after he repeatedly rejected the job. And when Robert Downey Jr. urged the filmmakers to continue their pursuit, Evans finally accepted but then immediately went “into panic mode” and quickly checked himself into therapy. Really:

It may be difficult to summon up sympathy for Mr. Evans, a Massachusetts-born dude’s dude who has brought slyly self-aware performances to films like Cellular, Fantastic Four and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and who has had to navigate Hollywood with little more than his rugged good looks, piercing blue eyes and billowing forearms that threatened to topple the lunch table.

Yet beneath that enviable exterior Mr. Evans is an unexpectedly thoughtful guy — perhaps perilously so. His self-questioning, often humorously self-effacing nature has helped him build a distinctive resum&eacute, but his lead role in Captain America: The First Avenger brings with it a whole new set of existential crises.

“The question is: What’s the endgame?” Mr. Evans said in a characteristic moment of self-analysis. “What’s the goal? If the goal is to be a giant movie star, then yeah, this is a great way to achieve that. That’s not necessarily what I’m trying to achieve.”

In [his] early, high-profile experiences, Mr. Evans said, he found acting to be “a very safe place to play, have fun and not feel judged or scrutinized.” The downside was having to give interviews to promote his work. “I feel fake,” he said. “And then I feel transparent. And I feel the other person can see that I’m fake.”

[D]uring a European junket for a Fantastic Four movie, he said, he became so nervous that he fled a room full of reporters. “No one’s even speaking to me,” he said, “and in a matter of 60 seconds I went from being fine to full meltdown, just stood up and walked offstage.”

When Marvel Studios began casting Captain America in late 2009, it did not initially consider Mr. Evans for the title character, a virtuous World War II hero who eventually finds himself in the present day . . . Yet once the studio set its sights on him, it may have come to wish it had forgotten the actor’s name.

Mr. Evans said he resisted a test audition, for which he would have had to sign a pre-emptive deal for as many as nine Marvel movies, including three Captain America films and three films for The Avengers, about the super group that includes Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk. When Marvel reduced the contract to at most six movies and “sweetened the pot a little bit,” Mr. Evans said no again.

He said his opposition stemmed from a fear of commitment — not just to publicizing a $140 million behemoth like Captain America but also to signing away, potentially, a decade of his life. “In a few years what if I don’t want to act anymore?” he said. “What if I just want to — I don’t know — do something else? The reason I kept saying no is because I was scared. Maybe this is exactly what I had to do. Maybe this is exactly what I had to face.”

Mr. Johnston, who had directed Jurassic Park III and Jumanji, and contributed art design and special effects work to the original Star Wars films and Raiders of the Lost Ark, said Mr. Evans’s moral quandary showed he was perfectly suited to play Captain America and his alter ego, Steve Rogers.

“Steve Rogers is a guy who, at the heart of it, has a very simple mission,” Mr. Johnston said. “He just wants to serve his country and do the right thing. And Chris comes off as basically a really good human being. He can wear his heart on his sleeve when he needs to.”

But have no illusions that anything other than Captain America — and a desire not to bungle the handoff to The Avengers — will be on Mr. Evans’s mind for the next several weeks. If Captain America is a dud, he will be disappointed. And if it succeeds, the next 10 years of his career might be spoken for, and that could be the bigger problem.

“It’s nice job security, but it doesn’t give a whole lot of freedom,” he said. “That’s the compromise, and it’s worth it. These are good problems to be having. It’s not like, poor me, I’m working in the coal mines.”

[From NYT]

In one respect, it’s slightly difficult to feel bad for Evans’ dilemma that ultimately resulted in a six-film contract, which (if things go according to plan) will probably result in enough money to live off for the rest of his life. Still, he’s a mama’s boy and honestly appears to lack confidence in himself which is really refreshing compared to, say, the current young crop of actors (represented by the ridiculously overconfident Kellan Lutz) who have so much self-esteem that it’s disgusting. So yeah, I’ll buy that Chris Evans possessed genuine fear about accepting his Captain America role, and I hope his therapy works wonders in the near future. Because life (especially in Hollywood) really is too short to brood it all away.

On a side note, he totally waxed this sh-t, right? Ouch.





Captain America movie stills courtesy of AllMoviePhoto

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18 Responses to “Chris Evans went into therapy to deal with his ‘Captain America’ role”

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  1. Eve says:

    I believe he lacks confidence because critics and some regular movie goers have bashed his acting skills for years — which I don’t think it’s fair. He may not be great but he isn’t bad (for instance, I think he did a really good job in Sunshine). And he knows this particular movie must be a hit. Otherwise Marvel will have serious problems with The Avengers (already being shot) and its promotion. He also knows that if anything goes wrong, people are going to blame him even if it isn’t his fault. Let’s say his ass now is so clenched that a single hair wouldn’t pass through it*.

    On a side note, he totally waxed this sh-t, right? Ouch.

    Yes, they mercilessly waxed off his chest hair. Poor thing, I’d have loved to kiss the boo boo.

    P.S.: That’s a Brazilian saying — I don’t know or must have forgotten the American one.

  2. Riana says:

    I support any actor who THINKS before they accept a role and genuinely considers whether they ate capable of giving a fair portrayal. Men have their childhood loves and the task of representing THE Captain America can be overwhelming and intimidating.

    Good luck to him, from what I’ve heard he’s such a sweetie.

  3. katnip says:

    Why do these younger actors act as if when they do a role they are changing the world. That their performances are so taxing. It is an ACTION film. Not some Oscar bait role.

    I might be harsh but really? Come on. They have stunt doubles and green screen.

  4. OBM says:

    This is brilliant.
    He’s an actor who can see that there is a life, a very worthy and interesting one, outside of acting.
    Just because thousands would sell their soul for a role that might bring fame, he can not only separate fame from acting but acting from life and see the gaps in between. This is a healthy, mature psyche. More of these kind of people, please.

  5. Hollowdoll says:

    “a virtuous World War II hero who eventually finds himself in the present day”

    So where did this WW II hero learn it was manly to shave/wax his chest? LMAO!

  6. Blue says:

    Lol @ hollowdoll I was wondering that as well. I thought “real” men had hair everywhere

  7. Mari says:

    He’s having internal dialogue and questioning if he’s doing right by his future. This makes me think he’s more than the typical “get fame, get rich, get girls” Hollyboy like the Lutz. It will be interesting to see if, down the road, he’ll be able to break out of the action star coop he’ll be confined in for years to come. Maybe he’ll be the new Bruce. We shall see.

  8. Jag says:

    He sounds like he takes it all way too seriously. It’s a job. Definitely, the commitment for 10 years might be a bit daunting if he’s questioning whether he’s going to remain an actor or not. But for most, non-Hollywood, people, knowing that you’d be getting a fantastic income for 10 years would be a good thing. I can’t feel sorry for him because of that.

    He needs to stay in therapy and watch himself. If it’s too much for him, he absolutely should find another line of work.

    I don’t like him so muscle-bound. Guess I’m just weird. lol As for the movie, it doesn’t look interesting to me, so I’m one less ticket for them to count.

  9. lorna says:

    um, don’t buy into this guy’s presentation. My cousin did stuntwork on the avengers recently. Chris helmsworth, robert downey jr, and the rest were completely gracious with the crew, stellar guys. The only exception was Chris Evans who was a grade A, rude douche on set. My cousin never complains about stars, he’s done a lot of tv and movie work and is used to them being a bit divaish. But Chris’s douche factor was THROUGH the roof. He’s full of crap. lol

  10. Liz says:

    I don’t find him appealing at all. Far too feminine looking and he strikes me as being rather shallow.

  11. Ari says:

    I don’t give a hoot if he is shallow or not he is fun to watch and since he is fully aware that he is an actor who might disappear in a few years if he keeps this melancholy attitude up, I will be loving watching his hot ass up on the big screen for my salivating pleasure.

  12. dj says:

    Someone who thinks seriously about their place in the world and its consequences. I would “panic” too if I had to be in front of those people asking me questions or worse NOT asking me questions. Yikes.

  13. Patrice says:

    Here’s the thing about Chris: He’s absolutely gorgeous, yes, but as Bedhead mentioned, he’s also a HUGE “mama’s boy” and NOT in any kind of healthy way. He himself has admitted that he “has” to “check in” with his mother “several times a day” or he just can’t function. I’m sorry, but that is NOT NORMAL behavior for anyone past the age of middle school, never mind an almost 30 (or is he 30?) year old adult male. Whenever I read articles like the one above about him, I can’t help but trace it back to that. I mean, the inability to make a decision on his own without panic (this isn’t the 1st time he’s talked about it), self-professed commitment issues with women, etc.

    The saddest part is that he seems like a really talented, super nice, everyday kind of guy, but I wonder if he feels a lot of pressure to financially support his huge family? He grew up in Sudbury MA right next to my town (we’re about the same age) and even though his family wasn’t poor, sometimes to some folks, too much money is never enough. Who knows? This is all just speculation on my part but, just piecing together all of the past interviews I’ve read with him…I can’t help but wonder if he wasn’t pressured by family to take the role (I mean, he wasn’t exactly around acting the past few years and then all of a sudden *boom* huge blockbuster. It’s strange).

  14. jello says:

    Wow. He sounds incredibly self involved. He also seems to believe he invented self reflection. News flash Captain America…most people consider life’s options before a major decision. We don’t expect our internal questions to make headlines though. I suggest he takes his head out of his own butt, and take an interest in the world beyond his little bubble. Sorry if this sounds harsh, but I found this whole article annoying.

  15. Annie_Grey says:

    Sounds like he might have an anxiety disorder. Practically running out of an interview from fear of looking fake sounds a bit like it.
    At least he cares, though! Seems like a sweetie.

  16. Hazel says:

    Aw, I really like him. Seems like a really sensitive guy- but not soppy. He reminds me of Jack Davenport so much (Brit actor, played Norrington in POTC).

  17. Eve says:

    @ Hazel:

    Oh, I love Jack Davenport and yes, I can see a small resemblance (like Davenport could be his older brother).

    I also loved Coupling — I used to watch on Eurochannel here but then we moved and had to change from cable tv to the satellite one (as far as I know, Eurchannel is not available among the ones offered by Sky TV).

  18. leslilly says:

    He’s handsome, has a great body & isn’t cocky? Love it. I haven’t seen him in anything besides The Losers, I think. He was hilarious in that role – “do you like the angle of my dangle?”