Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Captain America Franchise, Fantastic Four
Currently Known For:
1990s - Present
June 13, 1981
Captain America Franchise, Fantastic Four
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“But my happiness in this world—my level of peace—is never going to be dictated by acting.” One of Hollywood’s hottest superheroes, Chris Evans is best known for work as Steve Rogers / Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So, how did he become Captain America and why did he turn down Marvel’s offer not once but twice in the early 2000s? Let’s find out!
1980s to Stardom
One of four children born to a dentist and an artistic director in Boston, Massachusetts, Christopher Robert Evans was born on June 13, 1981. He was raised in a devout Catholic home and showed an early interest in performing despite his dad’s incredible athleticism. “My dad was a big athlete,” Evans said. “You want to please your dad and he was so happy when I played, but I was just terrible.” Evans and his siblings took after their mother and developed an intense passion for musical theater. Every Christmas, he and his siblings performed for visiting relatives. “I’m like 12, 13. I’m not, like 6. I’m old enough to know better,” he recalled. “We all thought it was so normal to be singing in front of my cousins and aunts and uncles at Christmas. Mortifying. Thank God this acting career worked out. Otherwise, I’d just be this forever dork. I probably still am.”
Evans pursued his acting dreams at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School. “My name is Christopher Evans and I am a high school junior with an intense passion for theatre,” he wrote in a letter that he sent to casting directors in New York with the hopes of landing a summer internship. Luckily, one director responded, and Evans spent the summer working on Spin City. “They’d release a breakdown on Friday with some part like Janitor #2, five lines. And I’d come into the office on Monday and on my desk would be a stack of envelopes, two feet tall, from every agent in town with headshots from actors,” Evans said. His job was to throw away the stack after his boss picked the talent.
After graduating from high school, Evans moved to New York City and enrolled at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. He made his first credited appearance in the short film Biodiversity: Wild About Life! in 1997. After appearing as Judd in The Newcomers (2000) and landing guest roles in Opposite Sex (2000) and The Fugitive (2000), Evans caught a small break when he was cast as Jake Wyler in Not Another Teen Movie (2001). He landed leading roles in The Perfect Score (2004) and Cellular (2004) before he was cast as the Human Torch / Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four (2005).
Evans reprised his role as the Human Torch in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) and stayed busy over the next few years with credits in The Nanny Diaries (2007), Street Kings (2008) The Losers (2010), and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010). On television he appeared in Boston Public (2001), Eastwick (2002), Skin (2003), and Robot Chicken (2008). During this time, the Marvel Cinematic Universe approached Evans and offered him a nine-film deal to star as Captain America in a new film series. Evans declined and the studio came back with a six-film contract. Evans passed again but accepted an invitation to visit Marvel Studios. During his visit, he made it very clear he had no plans to change his mind.
Joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Fortunately, Evans changed his mind and made his debut as Steve Rogers / Captain America in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). He starred in What’s Your Number? (2011) and reprised his role as Rogers in The Avengers (2012). Once he was linked to the Marvel Universe, there was no turning back as Evans’ career flourished with credits in The Iceman (2012), Snowpiercer (2013), Thor: The Dark World (2013), and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014). He also directed, produced, and starred in Before We Go (2014) and rejoined the Marvel Universe in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Ant-Man (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), and Avengers: Infinity War (2018).
“At the root of it, he has true humility,” Robert Downey Jr., who plays Tony Stark / Iron Man in the Marvel Universe, says of Evans. “I think it’s the reason he was able to kind of come to the front and be our team leader in the Avengers. I think a lot of his theater experience helped, too. Because it was like, ‘OK, I’m going to dress up, I’m going to go out, and I’m going to tell the truth.’ It’s very kind of old-school Spencer Tracy. Although I guarantee you Spencer Tracy never would’ve put on that getup.”
The 38-year-old Evans reprised his role as Rogers in Captain Marvel (2019) and Avengers: Endgame (2019), after which he hinted at his plans to slow down. “I never said the word ‘retire.’ It’s a really obnoxious notion for an actor to say they’re going to retire—it’s not something you retire from,” he says. “Momentum is a real fallacy, in my opinion. But it has a really strong hold on a lot of actors’ mentalities. You really believe that while the ball’s rolling, you have to keep it rolling. I could be wrong, but to me—I just don’t believe in that. I don’t think that’s real.” So, what does that mean for Evans’ future?
Evans has starring roles in The Red Sea Diving Resort (2019) and Knives Out (2019) in addition to the upcoming television series, Defending Jacob. He returned to the stage in the 2018 production of Lobby Hero at the Helen Hayes Theatre and has his sights set on a musical. “I want to do a musical so badly, man. Someone told me they’re remaking Little Shop of Horrors and I was like, ‘Oh, can I be down? Please? Can I be the dentist?’”
While his future in theater is still uncertain, one thing is for sure and that’s Evans’ reputation as one of Hollywood’s hottest superheroes. But where does that leave him romantically? Evans is single and happy. “I was always a really autonomous guy my whole life,” he says. “I really like to be with someone who also has their own thing to do as well… if I’m with someone who just kind of adopts my life, that can feel a bit suffocating.” Take note, Evans fans!