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Captain America Can Relate to Being a Wimp!

Jul 18, 2011

By: Lynn Barker

Chris Evans, buff Captain America, was “the little guy” in school!

Kidzworld is in Beverly Hills talking with studly dude of the moment Chris Evans who looks really hot and “manly-man” in a green plaid “lumberjack” shirt and jeans. 

Captain America: The First Avenger Poster

Chris has played a superhero before (Johnny Storm/Human Torch in the “Fantastic 4” movies) and now he’s “The First Avenger” Captain America in both the film that opens this week and the new “Avengers” movie that will combine the forces of Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye. The actor also displayed his comedy chops as an egotistical movie star in the recent Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World film.

For those who don’t know, Marvel comic book hero Captain America/Steve Rogers starts out as a brave and very moral but wimpy fellow who would give anything to serve his country as a soldier in WW2. He gets his chance when he is transformed, through science, into a mega-buff, super soldier. Cute Chris, whom we’ve never heard bragging about himself, is telling us that, like Steve Rogers before transformation, he was a total wimp back in school… in “tights and tap shoes”.

Kidzworld: How fun was it for you as an actor to go from wimp to “Studly Do-Right” in this movie? Steve’s body changes but his core “self” really doesn’t.

  • Chris Evans: It was fun. I can definitely relate to being the kind of wimpy kid. If you've seen pictures of me when I was a kid, I weighed like 135 pounds until I was at least 17. So I know what it's like to be small. The truth is I think we tried to keep him relatively the same man psychologically throughout the film. I think the goal is, in the last frame of the film, you hope to still see the skinny guy.

Kidzworld: He’s really likable. You root for him.

  • Chris: Yeah. You know the first part of the movie when you're meeting him, if you connect with him and like him at the beginning, hopefully that's the same guy you see in the end. And there's hopefully not too much change. I mean there's obviously a physical adjustment for him to understand what it's like to have a bigger body. I think the reason he was chosen for this experiment is because I don't think he would let this new physical form change who he is. That's what makes him worthy of this gift. Because he appreciates everything he didn't have before.

Kidzworld: You say you can relate to being a wimp but were you also a victim of bullies like pre-Captain America Steve Rogers was?

  • Chris: No, no. I wasn't a victim of bullies. But you definitely can feel the sting if you like a girl and for some reason she's dating the guy who's a quarterback and I'm in the plays in my tights and my tap shoes (we laugh). ‘Man, this might have to do with the fact that I'm 100 pounds’. Yeah, being a little guy you feel the sting. I never got picked on or anything like that. But you see how the different lives are led if you look a certain way at an early age.

Kidzworld: That’s for sure. This character is just a good guy through and through yet he is not boring. How did you accomplish that?

  • Chris: He's not some wisecracking guy. And my bread and butter has usually been making jokes in movies. I don’t get one joke in the movie. And the truth is that can be seen as boring. I have a good buddy, one of the kids I grew up with, this kid named Charlie Morris. And he is Captain America. He's the best human being I know and I based (some of my) performance on him. It's great seeing someone who has all the moral character and these values that Steve Rogers would have in my friend Charlie.
  • How many people know someone who just does the right thing just because it's the right thing and not because someone's watching or they’re scared about going to heaven or hell? It's not about praise or accolades. It's just right and that's it. That's interesting to me and so I tried to play that angle and hope that it would still be something dynamic enough to watch on film for over an hour.

Kidzworld: Okay, which of “Cappy’s” costumes do you like best; the “flag pajama” early one or the more soldier-like one or maybe a new one in The Avengers?

  • Chris: They each have pros and cons. The first 'Cap' costume is very cumbersome. It's thick and it's bulky. It's tough to do fight sequences in but the cowl, the helmet can come on and off at will. The current wardrobe is a bit different. The range of motion is fantastic. You can really get some good fight sequences in. It's a little bit more form fitting. But the cowl, the hood, has some changes that make it a little bit more difficult to get on and off.

Kidzworld: Your director Joe Johnston has said that you were reluctant to take this part at first so what convinced you and what were you worried about?

  • Chris: I would say it's two things. One was the commitment. It was at least a six-picture deal and that can be 10 years (of my life). That's a crazy thing to think about and then the potential lifestyle change. I've been making movies for ten years but I can still go to a ballgame (without being recognized). I can still go to Disney World. This movie potentially could change that. And that's scary, too.

Kidzworld: And what made you take the role?

  • Chris: The people involved and then the more it came back to me the more it kind of felt like, 'Chris you're running from this thing. And maybe this is exactly what you should be doing. And for better or worse, maybe this is your challenge, your little personal obstacle whether the movie does well or whether it bombs. This is exactly what you have to kind of overcome.' And then it just started making sense in a different way to me. So I went for it.

Kidzworld: You must have gone through a hellish training period for this active movie.

  • Chris: Yeah, it was grueling but I didn't mind. I wanted to do something whether it was lose weight or gain weight. Just losing weight (wasn’t going to work). (With computers) they took size out of my jaw line and they shrunk my skeleton. So, with CGI, they did so much more than I could ever do (like they put Chris’s head on a smaller, thinner actor’s body). So it was nice to do something. You want to get your hands dirty in some way to get yourself inside a character. And if that means (working out to) go big, then go big.

Kidzworld: What did you think when you first saw yourself as “buffed up” Captain America?

  • Chris: I said, 'Man, thank God for camera angles.' They really make you look a lot bigger. I'm not going to lie. I really wasn't that big. I really wasn't. I mean, all right, I was larger. But not like you see it on film and you're like, 'Man, great lighting.' And they kind of grease you up a little bit. It goes a long way.

Kidzworld: I’ll say! But you did prepare more than usual physically?

  • Chris:  Oh, yeah. Ooooooh, yeah. I've never had a trainer before. They sent someone over. I was working in Boston at the time and they sent someone over to Boston for three months prior to filming and we were doing two hours every day. It was just brutal. I usually like the gym. I was hating it. I mean I was just dreading it.

Kidzworld: When you were prepping for this role, were any special Captain America comics inspiring to you?

  • Chris: Yeah, ‘Mythos’. I mean a lot of the comic books that I read were obviously post serum 'Captain America' as Captain America. But we're telling an origin story so you wanted to get your head around who he was before. And there was one comic book I found called 'Captain America: Mythos' and it was kind of the origin tale of Captain America. And it looked like it was water-colored. The artistry was just amazing. So that was the one I kind of kept with me whenever we came to set.

Kidzworld: Was it a seamless transition from this one to The Avengers playing the same character? Any break at all for you?

  • Chris: No, not really. We finished this in December of last year. We broke until March. And then in March we had to do about three weeks of reshoots. There were a couple scenes we hadn't even shot yet. So we came back in March to start filming again. And then we went right to 'Avengers' in April. So it was pretty seamless.
  • I guess to be already psychologically prepared for a character is fine. It would have been nice to have this film come out and gauge the audience's reaction before you start a so-called sequel. I know 'Avengers' isn't the sequel but it's still the same character. And it would have been nice to kind of see what the thoughts of the fans were and then adjust accordingly.

Kidzworld: No amount of rejection stops the wimpy Steve. He just bravely bounces back. Are you like that as an actor; no amount of rejection is going to stop you?

  • Chris: No, I'm an actor. I'm saturated in insecurity! (we laugh). Every day I'm like, 'I quit. I can't do it anymore. I'm done.'

Kidzworld: I doubt that cuz here you are.

  • Chris: Well, I mean I think I have pretty good determination when it comes to (something I really want).  My mother's very Italian. So she's very opinionated and very vocal and it makes disputes difficult to navigate. So I think I'm pretty good at keeping my cool and maintaining patience and a rational thought in (a discussion) whether it's between friends or family members, things like that. I think I'm pretty good at maintaining a determination when it comes to conflict resolution. 
  • If you're talking about career-wise, I'm on shaky ground. I have one bad audition and I'm like, 'Man, I knew I shouldn't have been an actor. I'm going back to college.' But that's most actors. Most actors are riddled with insecurity.

Kidzworld: What has it been like working with Robert Downey Jr. as Ironman in “Avengers”?

  • Chris: He's so great. I didn't know what to expect going into working with him. He's so talented. I mean he's got so much charisma and persona. I can honestly say of all the movie stars I've worked with, he's the one that when he comes on set you really feel like, 'Man, this guy's a movie star.' You just feel it. When he comes in a room he just owns the oxygen. He’s so supportive.

Kidzworld: Example?

  • Chris: Well, I had to do a scene with him the other day where I was just nervous. It was just me and him and I'm just terrified. It's Robert Downey Jr. And every little take he gives you a little fist bump and a little thumbs up. And it just changes your whole day. It probably means nothing in his mind but I go back to my trailer like giddy. He really is something else. He's amazing.

Kidzworld: These Marvel superhero movies seem to recently be hitting their stride. Where do you see this going in future?

  • Chris: More Ironman. Although I think The Incredible Hulk with Edward Norton was pretty good. The guys at Marvel like Kevin Feige, Stephen Broussard, are just so clever and so smart. And if you give them the reins they'll pay it back.  Thor,  I mean they're all just great movies.

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