Chris Evans has complicated feelings when it comes to the biggest role of his career. After originating the titular role in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, the actor starred in eleven Marvel Cinematic Universe movies in only nine years, a stint he’s still coming to terms with nearly five years after his last outing as the superhero.
“When I try to remember 2016, ’17, ’18, in the peak of it all, I kind of can’t really remember,” Evans says in a GQ profile conducted before the SAG-AFTRA strike. “It all goes by so quick. It’s just kind of the norm and another one comes out and you jump back into it, another one comes out and it’s just kinda business as usual. So I still don’t know if I’m far enough away from it to reflect properly.”
Evans, who also starred in two Fantastic Four films before being offered the part of Steve Rogers/Captain America, said he was “really apprehensive about taking the role initially,” and had to weigh both the benefits and drawbacks of playing such a revered comic book character.“The pros were that I’d be able to take care of my family forever; the cons were that I would become deeply, deeply unhappy with fame and loss of control,” Evans, who would initially sign on for six films, recalled.
But despite his tenure as a top-billed superhero, Evans told GQ, “I would run away from the leading man role every time if I could,” adding, “So if a good supporting role comes along, I’m jumping at it. Just like Knives Out. I’m happy to be in an ensemble.” And in some ways, even Captain America felt like a supporting character alongside flashy characters like Iron Man or Thor. “That was the beauty of working on Marvel films. You never really had to be front and center,” Evans said. “Even in your own films sometimes.”
The actor then pointed to comments Quentin Tarantino made on the 2 Bears, 1 Cave podcast last November, where he questioned the star wattage of Evans and Chris Hemsworth separate from their superhero suits. “Part of the Marvel-ization of Hollywood is…you have all these actors who have become famous playing these characters. But they’re not movie stars,” Tarantino said. “Captain America is the star. Thor is the star. . .it’s these franchise characters that become a star.”
Unlike his fellow Marvel stalwart Samuel L. Jackson, Evans agrees with the assessment. “You know, he’s right,” the actor said. “The character is the star. You’re there, but you don’t feel the burden of it.” Marvel chief Kevin Feige, however, disagreed, telling GQ: “I think it’s something he was telling himself, and I think it’s something many of the Avengers, including Robert [Downey Jr.], would tell themselves, which actually was very helpful to the process. But in certain cases, including Chris’s, it’s not entirely true.”
As for a return to the Marvel brand that—debatably—made him a star, Evans is open to it. “Yeah, maybe,” he told the outlet. “I’ll never say never, just because it was such a wonderful experience. But I’m also very precious with it. It’s something that I am very proud of. And like I said, sometimes I can’t believe it even happened. And I wouldn’t want the black eye if it felt like a cash grab or if it didn’t live up to expectations or if it just felt like it wasn’t connected to that original thing. So, no time soon.”
In fact, Evans, who wed fellow actor Alba Baptista earlier this month, said he’s partially stepping back from the screen. “Ultimately I really hope to just maybe act a little bit less in my life,” he said. “I have a lot of other interests. Look, by no means have I climbed any sort of a mountain in this field. I have no Oscars and I’m not lumped with other names that are at the top of the mountain in any way. But I also feel very satisfied.”
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