Chris Evans almost let his anxiety get in the way of the opportunity to portray Captain America. The actor opened up recently to The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast about his mental state ahead of taking on the superhero role.
While shooting 2010’s Puncture, he found himself overwhelmed with anxiety.
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“It was the first time I started having mini panic attacks on set,” the 38-year-old actor said. “I really started to think, ‘I’m not sure if this [acting] is the right thing for me, I’m not sure if I’m feeling as healthy as I should be feeling.'”
After he played Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four and in its sequel, the Marvel franchise reached out to Evans again asking him to audition for the role of Steve Rogers, also known as Captain America.
Evans, who knew that this role would come with greater fame and a locked-in nine-film contract, felt that his “suffering would be my own,” and he rejected the opportunity to even audition for the part.
However, Marvel came back and offered Evans the part anyway. As the actor was grappling with the decision, he reached out to Robert Downey Jr., who urged Evans not to make his decision based on his fears. He decided to take the role.
“It was the best decision I’ve ever made, and I really owe that to [Marvel chief] Kevin Feige for being persistent and helping me avoid making a giant mistake,” Evans said. “To be honest, all the things that I was fearing never really came to fruition.”
The Avengers actor said he “fell in love” with the do-good character and found a brother in arms in MCU.
“It was nice having Chris Hemsworth around because he was going through it, too,” he said of the Hemsworth who plays Thor in the Marvel universe. “…Hemsworth and I were very new and we also had the stand-alones and so I think we shared in our anxiety, and at least that made it a little bit more comforting.”
Evans went on to star in a total of 10 Marvel films, with three of those films being stand-alone Captain America movies.