- During a new interview for The Hollywood Reporter’s “Awards Chatter” podcast, Chris Evans spoke about turning down Marvel’s offers to play Captain America/Steve Rogers due to his anxiety and fear.
- Evans said that he first starting having panic attacks while on the set of his 2011 movie “Puncture,” which led him to question if acting was “the right thing for me.”
- The actor explained that he repeatedly turned down screen tests and offers from Marvel because he saw the job opportunity as “the fork in the road” and wanted to “take control” of his life.
- He did eventually accept the part and said “it was the best decision I’ve ever made.”
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“I really started to think, ‘I’m not sure if [acting] is the right thing for me, I’m not sure if I’m feeling as healthy as I should be feeling,'” Evans told The Hollywood Reporter of having “mini panic attacks” while filming his 2011 movie “Puncture.”
During a new interview for THR’s “Awards Chatter” podcast, the 38-year-old actor spoke candidly about the evolution of his career.
Evans, who first worked with Marvel for two “Fantastic Four” movies released in 2005 and 2007 (starring as Johnny Storm), said that he was filming “Puncture” in Houston, Texas when the studio reached out to him about playing Captain America in the MCU.
Evans had been experiencing anxiety that was “enough to throw me a bit and enough to make me question if I was on the right path.” The actor said that when acting shifted from a hobby to a career, it began “to feel a bit heavier.”
“And anxiety comes with that because it was also during the proliferation of the internet age, where all of a sudden, you can read peoples’ reactions online and all of sudden, your egoic story, your narrative, becomes entangled with what was once just this pure little ball of joy,” Evans said.
He continued: “It manifested as anxiety and a little stress and I’ve gotten a lot better with it, but at the time it was hard to separate. It’s hard to know if the path you’re taking is the wrong one because the way I’m feeling isn’t healthy.”
Evans said that he repeatedly turned down screen tests and offers from Marvel because he saw the job opportunity as “the fork in the road” and wanted to “take control” of his life.
“My suffering would be my own,” he said of knowingly setting himself up for anxiety by accepting a role that could push him into larger-scale fame.
He did meet with Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios, but declined again.
Then he spoke to a few people, talked to therapists for the first time, and admitted that he was making career choices based on fear. Marvel costar Robert Downey Jr. also “made a call,” and Evans said that the “Iron Man” star’s encouragement made him feel like he was “part of the gang.”
“It was the best decision I’ve ever made, and I really owe that to Kevin Feige for being persistent and helping me avoid making a giant mistake,” Evans said.
The actor made his debut as the comic-book character in 2011’s “Captain America: The First Avenger,” his first standalone movie. He went on to star in several Marvel movies, most recently 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame.”
Evans said that “it was nice having Chris Hemsworth around” because his career was also taking off, having landed the role of Thor.
“Hemsworth and I were very new and we also had the standalone and so I think we shared in our anxiety, and at least that made it a little bit more comforting,” he said, adding that he “fell in love with Steve Rogers pretty quickly.”
Evans has spoken about turning down his Marvel role during several interviews.
During an appearance on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in 2016, the “Knives Out” star said that he was “scared” to accept Marvel’s nine-contract offer.
He shared similar remarks during a 2019 cover story for THR, saying that “getting the offer felt to me like the epitome of temptation. The ultimate job offer, on the biggest scale. I’m supposed to say no to this thing. It felt like the right thing to do.”
Evans also said that he was hesitant to portray Captain America because “there’s no real darkness to him,” which is why he turned down Marvel’s offers twice.
In retrospect, Evans told THR that “all the things that I was fearing never really came to fruition.”
“Your fears and anxieties are always these things that are looming in the future, but all that ever happens is tomorrow becomes today and when you start to manage how to cope with today, that anxiety melts a little bit,” he said, acknowledging that having a group of supportive people and well-received movies also helped decrease his anxiety.
- Read more:
- 35 celebrities who have opened up about their struggles with mental illness
- Chris Evans explains how he botched his dog’s haircut: ‘It just exploded in my face’
- THEN AND NOW: The ‘Avengers’ stars before they were famous
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