Chris Evans Talks Captain America’s Future, New Avengers & Ultron
Chris Evans Talks Captain America’s Future, New Avengers & Ultron
Earlier today, Chris Evans shared a brand new Avengers: Age of Ultron posterwhich offered a close-up look at Captain America’s new Avengers-branded field outfit. The costume is another iteration of Marvel Comics’s red, white and blue star-spangled Avenger, and while Evans digs the design, he really misses the style and comfort of his Captain America: The Winter Soldier stealth suit.
Evans told us this while wearing the new superhero uniform, sitting down in front of us and other online journalists at London’s Shepperton Studios. He was our first interview of our Age of Ultron set visit and seemed more enthused than ever at the current status and plans for his character, Steve Rogers, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
This all took place last June, long before Marvel Studios unveiled Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and before we knew what the events of Avengers: Age of Ultronwould be leading to. In our interview, Evans spoke about what’s changed from Avengers 1 to its sequel, from writer and director Joss Whedon’s plans and comfort level, to what each of the other stars, new and old, bring to the table and how “fun” this movie is compared to working rigorously on solo movies.
As you’ll see below in the full interview, Evans briefly teases the new characters joining The Avengers as well as Ultron’s army and how he’s the most formidable opponent so far for the team, and him personally. We also followup on our previous conversations with Evans about what he wants to see from Cap’s continuously evolving combat skill and how they step it up again this time around…
Chris Evans: Hey team!
How much is Cap reeling from the events of The Winter Solider when we meet him here?
Chris Evans: You know, he’s adjusting. It’s, you know, the team doesn’t have anyone to report to now. There’s no more S.H.I.E.L.D. so we’re all kind of depending upon one another, but that gives him an opportunity to kind of take more of a leadership role I suppose, you know. Since there’s no one else giving him orders he doesn’t have to question the chain of command or anyone’s motives but it does mean he needs to rely on his team a lot more so it’s just kind of added a little bit more tension to the actual dynamic of the Avengers. But, you know, with these movies it’s hard to kind of dive too deeply into any one character’s plotline, you know what I mean? That’s just the nature of how these moves are gonna have to work. You do your movie and then you come to Avengers and then we all kind of gotta address a group conflict and then go back to your conflict. There’s too many, too many plots, too many characters to try and spend too much time with your own individual conflict, you know.
At the end of The Winter Solider, Rogers is starting his own mission? When you enter into this film do we see you on that mission?
Evans: I can’t tell you that. Next question.
[Laughs]How has the group dynamic evolved and how are the relationships developing?
I don’t think I can tell you that either [Laughs]. These are tough to give because you don’t wanna give too much, too many plot points away. I can see headlines now plastering and I get a little talking to.
We are embargoed for quite awhile so you can tell us everything.
Oh you are! Oh, okay! All right, so, oh great. So, Steve’s a woman in this one.
Everyone has their own personal… the Scarlet Witch… what can I tell you [Laughs] has a way of making each of us kind of, you know, she gets in your head. That’s her ability so each one is kind of confronted with their own personal issues and demons and that kind of creates personal struggles as well as conflicts for the team. So I don’t wanna dive too deeply into each person’s individual conflict but it’s tense.
This is your fourth film playing Captain America. How comfortable are you with the character and with what ownership have you taken with who this Captain America is?
Very comfortable. You know, the first movie you’re terrified. The second one you’re just, you know, intimidated because there’s so many great people but by Captain 2 is when you really start kind of hitting your stride and feeling like you’re making some core progress with the character and you get a little more comfortable speaking up when you have opinions. And [directors Anthony and Joe Russo] are so great and I love that movie and it all just kind of worked out in terms of the evolution of my personal connection with the character. So at this point I’m feeling really good and, you know, again like I said it’s hard to give too much individual attention to your own plotline in a movie like this. They still give good hurdles to jump but it’s almost kind of… I’m very excited for Cap 3.
Note: This was months before the third Captain America was revealed to be Civil War.
Is there carry over between the relationship that you and Scarlett [Johansson] have in Winter Soldier which is so funny and casual?
Yeah! You know, they do really good stuff with Scarlett in this one with her personal story as well so the bond is definitely there but in Cap 2, we established it. We’re not gonna keep beating on that one. It’s built. It’s there. It’s solid. The foundation is there. So this movie begins with kind of a connection between the two of us but she has her own arc in this movie.
Do we get the impression in this movie that The Avengers have gotten together in between the two movies or do they only come together for these big events we see on screen?
No, they do do a good job ‘cause, you know, you don’t wanna waste time – the movie’s only a couple of hours long and you’ve got a lot of people to fit in there so we really hit the ground running with this movie. The opening scene is, you know, [snaps fingers] boom, so we don’t wanna kind of be like ‘what have you been up to?’ So you hit the ground running [LAUGHS] and then you kind of pepper in dialogue like ‘man, those past couple of years have been crazy haven’t they?’
That’s in no way a cheat. That’s for the audience’s sake. You don’t wanna waste your time trying to be like, you know, having reunion moments. You just wanna get these guys fighting together.
…Everything that Marvel does there’s, you know, it’s a chess move. Nothing is by accident. Everything is calculated so sometimes there are things that even I find out and I’m like that’s why you did that? You guys. You sons of bitches.
Was there anything you talked to Joss about before you started on this that you wanted to make sure was included or involved?
In terms of the character, Joss helped write the first Captain America and not only that, he’s fanboy, you know what I mean? He loves comic books so it’s not like you’re talking to someone who might not have a handle of what audiences want and who this character is at his core. The only thing I kind of talked to him about was his ability consistency. You know, with the second Captain America we really pushed the envelope in terms of what this guy is capable of – which I was excited to see ‘cause in the first Captain America he’s just strong. In Avengers it was still in my opinion a little bit punch, punch, kick, kick.
It’s like fine but, you know, you just can’t be Jason Bourne. We gotta see this guy do stuff that’s like ‘yeah, he deserves a spot on this squad.’ You know, in Captain two he’s pinballing off of Quinjets and taking down, you know, doing unbelievable things. I don’t wanna take a step back so we gotta make sure that it seems that he’s continuing training. His fight style needs to advance a little bit. I don’t wanna go full Bruce Lee but there needs to be more than just haymakers and front kicks. There needs to be a style of fight. There needs to be a consistent display of strength, you know, utilize your environment in a way that’s like ‘that’s right, he can pick up a motorcycle with one hand.’
Let’s not forget that I can’t get punched by a human and get knocked down. It just doesn’t make sense to me. So that’s the only thing and that’s a tough thing to, to manage, to try to remember. You know, even in Avengers, I punched a heavy bag across a room. If I hit a person they’re not getting back up. It’s just the way it’s gonna go. We can’t do this any other way. That’s it. Just trying to keep your finger on that pulse and it’s tricky with all these characters.
What Cap’s role in bringing the team back together again?
Well it’s not that he sounded of the alarm. It’s kind of out of necessity. You know, once SHIELD fell, this affected everybody and I don’t know how much I could or even should say. but there is something that affects all of us that requires us all to come back together and, and fight as a unit. Cap’s just more than willing to take a leadership role. You know, he’s been in wars. He understands the dynamic of a team. He’s not doing it out of arrogance or ego. He’s doing it out of necessity and functionality.
Who’s your favorite Avengers other than yourself now that you’re on your second adventure together?
Who’s my favorite avenger? That’s so tough. I’d put myself kind of at the bottom of the list honestly. As a man, as people, I’d take Steve Rogers. As an Avenger [Laughs], I mean come on. I don’t know. I really think Thor is pretty cool. I really like Iron Man just ‘cause, you know, I can’t get enough of Downey. Every single line he gives is so good. It’s really crazy watching him work if you ever get a chance. You’re just like god, I can see why this guy gave birth to this – we wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for Downey and what he did with the first Iron Man.
Ruffalo! You know, everything the guy does is just so interesting and unique. Such a good choice. You know, I’d be the first to admit. If you had asked me who’s gonna play the next Hulk I don’t know if he would have been in a lot of people’s radar and yet I can’t picture anybody else now but him. He’s perfect! I don’t know. Everyone’s so great. Paul Bettany, man. We just had our first scene with him. He’s so good! He’s so good. [Laughs] He’s so good. He is. You’re gonna love him. He’s gonna be amazing.
What have the other newcomers brought to the table?
It’s gotta be tough coming in, you know, being the new kid in the playground with people have done these movies as a group and in their individual franchises, coming in and trying to not mess with the formula. But everyone’s so talented and professional. I don’t even know what you wanna call it but it just feels right, you know, when we’re were sitting there yesterday having a scene with Paul, with Aaron, with Lizzy and it’s like yeah, this is — yeah, you guys weren’t in the first Avengers? Oh shit, you weren’t.
It just feels, it just feels right. It feels normal and they’re so cool and so good and every couple of days Joss will show a little clips of what these abilities are gonna look like and how Lizzy’s gonna… you see things. Like man, let’s not forget Cap’s really strong! [Laughs]. It’s just they’re gonna do so many cool things and everyone is just, you know, I’ve never been a part of a movie where everyone just gets along so well, so consistently and even when you add new people in the dynamic doesn’t shift at all. I don’t know. I don’t know how it’s working but I’m just happy to be a part of it.
You’re back on set with this team and this director, does it feel like you’ve done this before? Do you feel a little more confident?
Yeah, a little bit. In a weird way it feels like you never really left. When it’s your movie there’s this kind of weight and pressure and involvement you’re in. Every single day you’re in every single scene and it’s a lot. This movie is just fun. It’s like summer camp or something. There’s still a responsibility and everyone is still wildly committed and professional about it but there is something about just kind of we’re in this together, we’re all locking in arms, you know, and we’re all team. In sync. It feels a lot safer in a way.
Has there been a lot of script changes since you got on set?
Oh, yeah [Laughs]. Oh, my god. Joss. Like before you shoot he’s like ‘here’s nine new pages.’ Joss! All right. Okay. I mean it’s not major plot changes but just sometimes dialogue shifts. Sometimes, you know, I don’t know whether it’s that there are a lot of voices and opinions kind of coming down about individual pieces of dialogue or if Joss just wakes up with a brain that can’t sit still and has a better idea and a better exchange and everything is good. Nothing is bad. It never goes. It never gets worse. Everything is just like, man, the guy just leaks clever repertoire. It’s just every single scene is like ‘man, I don’t know’ And even on the day and in the moment he can be ‘I don’t know if I like this.’
And he’ll think for thirty seconds and come up with some brilliant exchange. God, this guy’s just good. This guy’s good at this. So there are enormous amounts of changes but nothing that really, you know, shakes the earth.
You mentioned how has your fighting style has evolved. How has it evolved in this film?
Well, I mean again we’re just trying to – the foes are a bit more of a challenge so in a way he’s not as effective as I’d like him to be. You have to measure your enemy’s ability based on his capacity to win and sometimes Cap has to take that one to the chin – Be the one who gets thrown around a little bit ‘cause, you know, these Ulrons… pretty powerful. So how as for his fighting style, it’s not like incorporating like Wing Chun or Jeet Kune Do or anything like that. I’m trying to incorporate a lot more of his reflexes, you know what I mean?
I’d love to get some scene where you kind of understand, it’s not just speed and ability. It’s the fact that he can move. Even if his hands were bound you couldn’t get a finger on him. You know, he can still react incredibly fast so we’re trying to incorporate that but by the same token we’re also trying to show what this foe can do. So it’s gotta catch you some times. I don’t know, I guess I can’t get too specific about how his fighting has evolved. It’s just a matter of maintaining the speed and strength and agility and all that stuff.
The first film really set up phase 2 in a very interesting way, in terms of where it left you guys and the Marvel universe. Heading into phase 3 do you feel like this launches the characters into some really interesting places by the end of this film. Do you have a sense of where you’re going?
Oh, sure. I mean, even if you have to look contractually, how we’re all kind of set up. If they want to have a clean break towards the end, we’re approaching the final act so you can really kind of pull out all the stops. So yeah, by the end of this movie everyone does have a very interesting trajectory and it’s not so much about like the next six films. It’s, you know, we’re ready to I was gonna say blow our load. That doesn’t [Laughs], that doesn’t sound good at all [Laughs]. You know, it’s they’re gonna pull out all the stops. I guess that’s [Laughs] the better version of that idiom.
Obviously a big part of this film is going to be Ultron. I’m curious if you can talk a bit about what he presents as a villain to the group and also what’s it like working with Spader?
Chris Evans: Spader, god, Spader! So good! I mean that’s the thing about Joss. It’s not just about the power of the villain or, you know, his shiny lights or abilities. It’s kind of the mentality of the villain. It’s really, it’s Joss. He’s a very clever writer so it’s really about you guys are — can I say whatever the hell I wanna say? Am I already in deep shit?
Publicist: No, you’re good.
Chris Evans: Don’t fuck me on this, guys.
Publicist: In general terms, you can talk about Ultron.
Evans: Okay, he’s a woman too.
Evans: There’s an ideology behind Ultron that makes him more unique that just a bad guy. He doesn’t wanna just kill the Avengers. He doesn’t wanna just destroy the world. He has these monologues and these beautiful speeches that embody a certain mentality about what’s wrong with humanity. It represents something deeper than just ‘I’m evil and I don’t like the good guys.’ So hopefully it’s things like that. That’s what makes you care a little bit more about the story than just, you know, I’m an evil bad guy. You have like a really complex -like look at what Hiddleston did with Loki. He made a real character. He made a real conflict and Loki could have a movie that has nothing to do with superheroes. It would just be like a really interesting character study, like this guy needs a therapist. But it’s deep and that’s what makes you give a shit. I think that’s what we’re gonna have with Ultron.
You talked about the leadership role that Cap plays in the Avengers now. How does that go with Thor and Hulk and Tony Stark?
Well, again, approaching the end, certain people are moving on into different things and so and the things that we’ve each seen in ourselves in this movie, each one of our hurdles, our battles, our struggles, our shortcomings, our fears. These are the things that have kind of motivated the catalyst for change and evolution and so for someone like Tony who might not want to be anything but the front man. He has to kind of face that.
But people like Thor. Thor’s a soldier. I mean he’s just a soldier in another world, so there’s an understanding between those two men, Cap and Thor. It’s the same with Hawkeye. I mean these guys have all been in battle so I think for the most part, there aren’t as many conflicting egos I don’t think in terms of ‘well, who’s leading this crew?’ It’s more personal conflicts and more personal questions about who they are as people and what they’re looking for and what makes sense and what’s right and wrong. It’s not so much about well, who’s the front man?
One of Cap’s arcs was just about being comfortable, man out of time in a very increasingly complicated world. It seems like in this movie it’s going to get even more complicated. He has a trust issue maybe after the last film. Villains and heroes are gonna cross paths. They are gonna trade sides throughout this movie. Can you talk about his response to that? What are his demons?
Well they do, you know, there are more relationships in this movie, personal relationships. Cap has to kind of witness and I think that does kind of make him question his own purpose in terms of, you know, this is a guy that wanted the family and the wife and kids and stability and normalcy. He wants to serve his country but what he really wanted in my opinion was a normal life, and then he went into the ice and things changed. So it’s a matter of where is home? You know, he’s always been a little lost and even in Cap 2 it’s very much about well, what do I want? What am I supposed to be doing? What completes me? And in this one he kind of has to watch some of those relationships close and question, is that the end game? Is that what he’s fighting for?
There has been a visual evolution of the Cap suits. But just for you as a performer, how much input do you have in terms of what you want to do physically and how much give and take there is?
I didn’t get enough input on this I tell you that [Laughs]. I really like that stealth suit from Cap 2, the navy blue one in the opening. That was my favorite one. It was so cool and it moved well and it breathed. It was just great. They keep changing this shit. [Laughs]
In the comics, the roster is always changing. Are we gonna see a shake up? In this we have Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, in the comics, like in the ’60s Cap, all the rest of the guys left and they became the Avengers…
I don’t know how to answer that one without revealing too much. I mean, you know, it’s Marvel. They’re never gonna do the same thing, you know what I mean? They’re always gonna try and make events and surprise and give audiences what’s unexpected.
Given that your suit now has the Avengers A on the side of it, would you say that the team become more of a formal organization? Now that you have outfits like that that are Avengers branded?
Certainly. I mean that’s the thing. The first Avengers, it’s growing pain. It’s getting to know each other, finding trust, understanding our roles and developing allegiance. We’re a unit. Like I said we hit the ground running in this movie and since the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. we’re forced to depend on one another so right from the jump in this movie there’s a very clear understanding that this is a team and that we operate as a team. We’re gonna win as a team and we’re gonna lose as a team. That’s kind of the undercurrent. There’s no question about each other’s loyalty to one another. It’s just a matter of how to go about as a team jumping these hurdles.
Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” stars Robert Downey Jr., who returns as Iron Man, along with Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk. Together with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and with the additional support of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/War Machine, Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill and Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig, the team must reassemble to defeat James Spader as Ultron, a terrifying technological villain hell-bent on human extinction. Along the way, they confront two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen, and Pietro Maximoff, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and meet an old friend in a new form when Paul Bettany becomes Vision.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron releases in theaters on May 1 2015, followed by Ant-Man on July 17 2015, Captain America: Civil War on May 6 2016, Doctor Strange on November 4 2016, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on May 5 2017, Spider-Man on July 28, 2017, Thor: Ragnarok on November 3 2017, Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 on May 4 2018, Black Panther on July 6 2018, Captain Marvel on November 2 2018, Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2 on May 3 2019 and Inhumans on July 12, 2019.