20Q: Chris Evans Explains Why He Didn't Want to Be an Avenger

PLAYBOY: The Avengers is your second turn playing Captain America. After two movies in the red, white and blue costume, is there anybody on the Avengers team you would trade fashion statements with?
EVANS: God, yeah, absolutely. Pretty much anybody, though some days Robert Downey would have to get into the Iron Man suit, and that looks pretty difficult. But outside of that, the Thor costume looks pretty comfortable. The Hulk has a great deal. Whenever he Hulks out, he just wears those little green CGI jumpsuits. It looks comfy as hell.

You turned down the role of Captain America several times. Why didn’t you want to do it?

They wanted a six-picture deal, and the worry about a six-picture deal is that it can potentially be spread out over 10 years. So you’re making a decision for the next 10 years of your life. Films typically work one at a time. If one movie explodes and your life changes, you’re afforded the opportunity to take a break, if you need it, to get your head back on straight. The fear I had was that I was compromising this control. That’s terrifying, man.

Is it true Robert Downey Jr. took you under his wing and helped you?
When we started filming The Avengers, Captain America had not come out yet, and my big concern with Captain America was the press. I love doing one-on-ones. This feels like a conversation. This feels normal to me. But when you get on a stage, all of a sudden you feel like, man, there are 100 people just looking at you. It’s a little bit of a strange feeling. Your heart starts pounding, and that’s scary. Downey was good at just making me feel calm, saying, “Look, you’re not alone in this,” and helping my confidence.

This is the third time you’ve worked with Scarlett ­Johansson. Is it possible to be around her and not lust after her the entire time?
She is a beautiful lady. She really got blessed. I love that girl, man. She’s like my sister. I’ve known her for 10 years. She’s just one of the smartest people I know. It’s great when someone with a razor-sharp intellect wants to have fun. A lot of my buddies who like to have fun are a little lowbrow, and that’s fun. It’s enjoyable, but you can laugh at only so many farts.

Aside from a long relationship with Jessica Biel, you always seem to be single. Are you picky, or are you just enjoying yourself?
I guess it’s a perfect combination of things. I’m incredibly picky, but that doesn’t mean I look for perfection. I like strange things. I wish you could see some of the girls I have genuinely had crushes on in my life. They’re not the girls you would assume. My friends cannot figure out the girls that, for some reason, I fall for. It’s a unique blend of traits, and on top of that, I’m really enjoying myself right now. I like being able to do what I want to do. If I want to sleep until three today, I’m gonna sleep until three. If I want to go to Vegas this weekend, guess what—I’m going to Vegas. That’s a tough thing to walk away from, and so it has to be the right person. The pickiness makes that an uphill battle.

So what kind of women do you like?
I like girls who are self-deprecating. I like girls who make fun of themselves. If you can’t poke fun at yourself, what are you? I love making fun of myself, so I need a girl who can do that and mean it. And I like generosity. I like compassionate people. I’m not looking for some businesswoman who’s out there making millions and just here to take the world by storm. I just want someone with a good soul. That’s about it. The rest I’m really flexible on. I like a good ass, though. I will say that. It’s ­playboy, right? I can say that? I like a big ass.

Taking all of that into consideration, admit to at least one celebrity crush.
I used to be in love with Sandra Bullock when I was growing up. Sandy B. was my girl. I remember seeing Speed when I was in seventh grade and just thinking, That’s her. I can’t say I know her, but from what I’ve heard, she’s fantastic.

It goes without saying that I’m completely in support of gay marriage. In 10 years we’ll be ashamed that this was an issue.

You grew up outside Boston. Your ­father is a dentist. How’s your dental hygiene?
People think, Oh, he’s making you floss and brush your teeth. No, it wasn’t like that; on the contrary, actually. I could complain freely. You could openly tell him when something hurt.

Your mother has been known to ­defend you on the internet when she sees you being slighted. Should Captain America have his mom fighting his battles?
Yeah, she’s one of those moms. She gets a little up in arms. The internet is a big place where a lot of people can voice their opinions, and my mother chooses to pick fights with random people from all over the world who don’t have the nicest things to say about me.

You were involved in a local theater growing up, a program your mother still runs. Boston doesn’t sound like the friendliest place for a young boy who loves theater. How rough was it?
I played sports as well, which helped. For the most part, when they wanted to give me a hard time, they’d come to my shows and heckle and razz. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been, I’m sure.

Your brother is gay. Do you support gay marriage?
Are you kidding me? It’s insane that civil rights are being denied people in this day and age. It’s embarrassing, and it’s heartbreaking. It goes without saying that I’m completely in support of gay marriage. In 10 years we’ll be ashamed that this was an issue.

You were a senior in high school when you lost your virginity. That seems kind of late for a good-looking guy.
Look at pictures of me growing up. It wasn’t always the way it is now. It was a bumpy road for me. But I think about that. There were kids doing a lot more than I was in high school. I just wasn’t there, I guess. I lost my virginity senior year. It happened one time and only one time.
Before your senior year of high school, you moved to New York City by yourself to pursue acting. What was your plan?
Prior to that summer I wrote letters to maybe six or seven different casting offices and said, “Look, I’m 16. I’m trying to learn. I’ll work for free.” A couple of places called back, and I got an internship. It was the casting ­office for Spin City back when Michael J. Fox was on. I spent the whole summer answering phones, setting up actors on auditions, and by the end of the summer I was pretty friendly with two or three agents I had talked with on the phone. I said, “Listen, I’m an actor. I know I’m just Chris from Bonnie’s office to you, but I’m an actor. Can you give me five minutes to come down and read for you?” They said, “Fine.” A couple of them were like, “Yeah, let’s work together. Let’s do this.” But I had to go back to Boston to finish my senior year, so they said, “Hurry back. Get back for pilot season,” which starts, roughly, in January. So I doubled in a couple of classes and graduated in January of my senior year. I went back to New York, got lucky and got a pilot.

How did the other kids react when you came back for your senior year after living in New York all summer?
It was the greatest. Really, 1999 was such a good year. I graduated from high school, I went to New York, I got a pilot, we shot the pilot for Opposite Sex, the pilot got picked up. I came back home to Boston in March or April, done with school and waiting to go to L.A. in August. I would just stroll into school around noon and see who I could get to cut with me. It was great. I don’t think it will ever get better than that.

Are you sure? Things sound pretty damn good right now.
It’s different, you know? Come on, I was making some horrible show on Fox, making not the best money in the world, but I was so happy, so happy. Things are different now, and I’m very grateful and very blessed. But man, that year was just—I don’t know. There was something great about it. It was all brand-new. There were no consequences. There was nothing to worry about. You were free to make mistakes. It’s all optimism. You’re not jaded.Q16
Not Another Teen Movie
was your first big starring role. What was the first thing you spent money on?

It’s kind of embarrassing. I think it was a Sean John velour jumpsuit, which tells you a little bit about me in 2000. What an idiot. I think if you actually watch the Not ­Another Teen Movie DVD, we do cast interviews and I’m in a velour Sean John jumpsuit. If I showed up in that today, my publicist would say, “No, absolutely not.” I think I took my two roommates and got them jumpsuits as well. It was so ridiculous.

I’m not the only one who feels overwhelmed. Everyone deals with these feelings, at some level or another, in some way.

Your big break came playing ­Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four. How bad did you want that part?

Oh, pretty bad. I had a couple of bad auditions for that one. I went in one time and just blew the audition and left. I called my agent, and he was like, “Yeah, it’s not going to go any further,” and I said, “No, I need another audition.” The first one I just screwed up, you know? That’s what happens sometimes. My fault. The second time, I got in there, and five minutes into the audition, the director had a call on his cell, and he was like, “It’s okay. Keep going,” and he went out and took the phone call. I was reading the scene with the casting director and the video camera, and I was like, “Well, this isn’t right either.” But I got one more shot at it, and luckily it worked out.


Are there any roles you lost out on that really upset you?
I remember I really wanted that movie Fracture that Ryan Gosling ended up doing. I had a really good audition, and the director and I had gotten along incredibly well. He called me and said, “Listen, you’re my guy for this thing.” But Ryan was on the way up as well, and I think he just read it and liked it. And Anthony Hopkins was in it. You can’t beat working with him.


You’re a die-hard Boston sports fan. Has your celebrity afforded you access you only dreamed of as a kid?
Sports is the one thing I get giddy about. I get really excited. I do not keep my composure well when I meet athletes. I can meet any actor in the world and say, “Hello, how are you? Nice to meet you,” and maintain a level of sensibility. I met Kobe once and did not play it cool. I met Michael Jordan once. I don’t even know if he’ll remember it. It was like the best experience of my life. I was at Atlantis in the Bahamas one weekend doing some celebrity bullshit, whatever it was, and a party was going on at one of the clubs. This is right after Fantastic Four had come out, and on the edge of the VIP section was Michael Jordan. He had his little table there, and he just went, “Hey, hey!” He kind of got the bouncer’s attention and said, “That kid’s okay.” He waved me in, poured me a drink and said, “My kids love you.” I did not play it cool. Thank God I wasn’t too drunk at that point, because I might have gone in for a hug or something.


You went into therapy after agreeing to play Captain America. What did you learn about yourself?
What did I learn about myself? Well, that I’m not the only one who feels overwhelmed. Everyone deals with these feelings, at some level or another, in some way.

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