Exclusive: Chris Evans Talks 'America,' Fave Directors and Dodging the Paparazzi
As we approach what will most likely be the biggest superhero blockbuster of the summer, Captain America (in theaters July 22), Celebuzz was more than a little fired up to speak to the Captain himself; the handsome and talented Chris Evans. The Boston native spoke to us about the challenges of physically demanding roles, his director wish list -- which is surprisingly more Michel Gondry than Michael Bay -- and bonding with his dad. He also lets loose a little bit about the pitfalls of fame, and how he avoids the constant barrage of the paparazzi (Hint: Don't go to places you'll know they're stalking, fellow celebrities.)
Check out our chat with Captain America below!
You’ve done action movies where you’ve performed a lot of your own stunts and allowed yourself to get roughed up. Did you have to do that in Captain America or did the CGI play enough of a role that it wasn’t an issue?
No. This was actually a movie where you went home with more bumps and bruises than usual just because he has special power and ability. He’s not flying around in the sky and he’s not bursting into flames. His powers are grounded in reality. So all he’s able to do are human things and as a result it’s a lot of hand-to-hand combat, in which case they don’t really need CGI so we all had to get the gloves on and get in the ring. You go home feeling pretty sore.
Being from Boston, you’re in good company in Hollywood. Which fellow Massachusetts natives would you like to work with?
Steve Carell is from Acton (Massachusetts suburb), isn’t he? That’d be fun. He’s a funny guy. I love The Office.
You recently filmed a romantic comedy in Boston with Anna Faris. How was shooting in your hometown? Was it kind of surreal?
It was great. It was trouble (laughs). I had a lot of buddies making drop-bys on set and a lot of late nights and early mornings where the trailer seemed like it couldn’t seem to stop spinning. It’s tricky working where all your friends are.
So are you a Boston sports fan and if so, who’s your team?
Oh yeah, huge. I mean it’s a toss-up for me between the Celts and the Pats. I grew up watching the Patriots with my old man. My dad had season tickets to the old Garden and I remember seeing Larry Bird. But in recent years, Tom Brady. Tom Brady can do no wrong. I absolutely love that guy. It’s a tough call. It’s like ‘Which parent do you love more?'
You’ve already worked with some pretty impressive directors, and I absolutely loved you in Scott Pilgrim. Are there other directors you’d like to work with?
Absolutely. I really love Ed Zwick. I love James Cameron. I love P.T. Anderson. I love Wes Anderson. I love Michel Gondry. I mean a lot of these guys are status quo. I don’t want to give the obvious ones. Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg would be really cool. I’m trying to think of unique different guys. Marc Webb. Marc Webb’s great. He did 500 Days of summer.
Nice. What’s your favorite Wes Anderson movie?
The Royal Tenenbaums. No question.
Along those lines, can you name an actor’s career that you could choose to emulate? Not just their talent, but also their whole repertoire as far as the career choices they’ve made?
This is kind of a cliché response, but if you look at Tom Cruise’s career, once he got some heat off Top Gun he seemed to make a point of picking and choosing these Hollywood icons. Somehow he found scripts that afforded him kind of a two-hander to kind of go toe-to-toe with. He went and did Rain Man with Dustin Hoffman. He did A Few Good Men with Jack Nicholson. He did The Firm with Gene Hackman. He did The Color of Money with Paul Newman. He just kind of kept finding these projects that paired himself with these seasoned vets and had that the torch passed. I respect that approach. It was clever.
I don’t want to ask you about your personal life because that’s private, but I will say that I happen to know you dated Laura Beauregard in high school because I dated her brother. I had to throw that in there for the Sudbury peeps. (Author’s Note: Chris and I grew up on the same street in the Boston suburb of Sudbury)
That’s right. (Laughs) Yeah, she broke my heart.
Don’t they always in high school? But, on a serious note, are you concerned about the increased scrutiny and paparazzi presence that unfortunately go hand-in-hand with fame? Do you have ideas on how to handle that?
Yeah of course, that’s kind of a trade-off doing movies like this. The problem is, on the back-end, you compromise anonymity and those paparazzi start wanting to feast and that’s tricky. But, I will say, I do think there is a way to navigate and hurdle those obstacles. Especially in Los Angeles. There certainly are restaurants you know not to go to, clubs you know not to go to. Plenty of celebrities complain about paparazzi yet they choose to have lunch at The Ivy everyday. Guess what, you’re going to get photographed there. It’s up to you to pick and choose where you go in your private life. That’s a big reason why I moved back to Boston.
Oh you did? That’s awesome.
I moved back last year and it just lets me feel … normal. I lead as regular a life as I can.
That means that you’ve reached a certain level that you’re able to live in Boston and still have a thriving career. Congratulations.
That was the goal when I showed up. The first day I stepped foot and said, “Look, I’m slowly working my way back east.”
This is kind of random, but I shot a gun this morning. It was terrifying and I hated it. Have you ever jumped out of a plane or done something scary?
Oh yeah. I’ve shot a gun and jumped out of an airplane. Oddly enough, at the same time! (laughs). I have gone skydiving and it was fantastic. I’m actually trying to go again when I have the time. I’ve shot plenty of guns in the couple of movies that I’ve had to play a cop. It’s pretty fun getting out on that range.
You’ve done professional theater, television and film. How would you compare those three in your personal experience and as an actor as well?
That’s tricky. Film is great because it incorporates elements that I love. I think something that really ties films together is the editing and the music. You have a really simple scene. You know, Cameron Crowe has ways of shooting scenes with music and edits where it could be the most simple exchange between people, but it can have such an impact. Which is the case in people’s lives. That’s kind of our lives where - we’re the stars of our own movies. He has a way of capturing those moments using the things afforded to a director in a huge film. In that sense it’s great to make films to watch directors work their magic with the camera.
As an actor, there’s something incredibly rewarding about theater just because there’s no one else’s fingerprints on it. Like I said, the good things that a director can do to a performance are countered by the bad things. You’re essentially handing over your performance and they can cut and paste and do whatever they want to it.
With theater, your audience is right in front of you and however you think the character should be portrayed and however you think these lines should be delivered, you can spoon feed that performance right to the audience. It’s nice to get that instant feedback. Feeling the energy of the audience is fantastic and on top of it the tricky thing with film is a lot of start and stops and constant action, and as a result you're rarely in the skin of the character for more than a few seconds at a time. I’ve done theater before where I’ve been on stage for 45 minutes straight and that’s something you don’t get in film. So in that sense, theater can be personally satisfying.
Captain America opens nation-wide on July 22!