By Gill Pringle

Steve Rogers always does the right thing, and now he’s confronted with this moral conflict…how intriguing is that for you to take him on this journey?

“It’s great! It’s a treat in taking any character that you portray on that journey. That’s the fun part of acting: diving into somebody. So being able to play someone who’s such a good guy, and who just really wants to do the right thing, which we all strive to do? That’s rewarding. It’s fun taking him into a place where, for the first time, he doesn’t quite know how to react. In Captain America: The First Avenger, I think we can all agree, ‘Nazi’s are bad’, and in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we can all agree, ‘Hydra is no good.’ The conflict now is far more similar to what people go through on a daily basis where there are two sides to the issue. There’s no right. There’s no wrong. What’s the move? No one’s evil here. How far do we compromise to find a solution?”

With all these actors, do you still feel like this is a Captain America movie? 

“Oh, yeah! I still do. It’s so great having other characters, believe me. That’s very helpful. But we had a lot of characters in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as well. So, I welcome them. It still does feel like a Captain America movie. If you read the headlines, you see a cast list that looks like ‘Avengers 2.5’, but it’s not. The plot really does support the evolution of a certain story. Marvel does a good job of making sure that all the dots connect. But they still wanna give certain spikes and certain avenues because it enriches the story. If you get to go with one guy for his journey, even if there is support, that’s much more colourful when you do have The Avengers.”

How does Black Panther impact your character? His country, Wakanda, provides the Vibranium steel that your shield is made of… 

“You know I can’t tell you any of that! You’re not going to bait me to give anything away!”

How does the whole story with The Winter Soldier unfold?

“Sure, again, without giving too much away! Steve is a good guy who puts himself last, but anyone else in his situation, who’s gone through the struggles that he’s been through, would bleed a little bit more on to people, noticeably. When you play a guy who’s as selfless as he is, it’s hard to let that conflict bubble. He had very few people in the world when he came out of the ice, and he cherishes every single one, and Bucky was certainly one. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, you see the hope that the guy is still alive. That’s got to fuel a fire. Not just to have a connection again, but I bet that’s one of the big pieces of Steve’s guilt too. Not hanging on. Dropping the guy. Now seeing what he’s become. There’s gotta be survivor’s guilt mentality. You want to say, ‘I’m glad you’re back. I’m really sorry. I’m sorry.’ That journey is, again, interesting and unique, and it deserves a light. So that’s why we’re gonna try and keep that story just as relevant as what’s going on.”

Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans)
Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans)

We’ve been told that this movie is about intervention. Or whether to not intervene. What is your take on that?

“It depends on what we’re talking about here. I’m for rational thought. I’m for open discussion. I’m for compromise. Compromise is how you resolve things. So there’s always room for it. It just depends on capacity. That’s too much of a subjective question to answer. You can’t just give an overall blanket statement on when intervention is appropriate.”

If you were a superhero, what would you change?

“I don’t know. Well, it’s tough because I don’t think these superheroes are out there forcing their will on anybody. They’re not using their powers to change things. They’ll fight crime when crime happens, but they’re not out there trying to pass bills and exact social evolutions. If I were a superhero, I wouldn’t feel right being like, ‘Well, now that I have these powers, this is how it’s gonna go.’ That’s not what it would be. You try to live by example. I’d like to be more like Steve, and hope that it inspires people.”

Is it difficult acting against the green screen?

“It’s nice having a tangible environment. I’ve done period pieces. I’ve done certain films where you have a complete world to lose yourself in. But I’ve also done theatre where there’s a bunch of people looking at you and lights blinding you. You always have the ability to play pretend. If you can’t drop into your own imagination like that [snaps fingers], then you’re gonna be in trouble. But Marvel movies are certainly good training for that, and at this point, those pieces are special. You know the drill for those big action dances.”

You have input into your character’s role in the story. Can you talk about what type of decisions you helped make for Captain America’s journey?

“I wonder if I can say anything without giving any plot points away. The good thing is that The Russo Brothers are collaborative directors, and they do trust the fact that these actors all know their own characters really well. And we all agreed on what the through-line would be. They’re very open to things, and they have a really good internal barometer of what’s good and what’s bad, so if you disagree on a certain line or something, you don’t feel apprehensive about trying both. [Captain America: The First Avenger director] Joe Johnston actually said this: ‘Any of your takes can be used against you.’ That’s the scary thing as an actor: if you just try something in a take, they could use it. So you gotta make sure that you trust who’s got the power. Because that’s the most liberating thing as an actor is to trust your director. I’m just gonna keep slinging shit at the wall and see what feels right and trust that they’re gonna make this work and I do with them. Luckily we have the same vision and, like I said, if we ever do differ, we try ‘em both. No harm there.”

Captain  Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.)
Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.)

What do you like about Captain America? And what don’t you like about Captain America

“I don’t like the suit…no, that’s not true! I do like the suit. I don’t like the suit on 90˚ days. I like who he is. He’s a good man. It’s nice to live in that headspace. It’s meditating. You get to put yourself in a really good man’s body. And you try to think why a good man does what he does. That’s fun to try and analyse. That’s fun.”

One of your initial trepidations with taking on the role of Captain America was that it was a six picture deal. Now that you’re through most of it, are the shoes more comfortable to wear? 

“Oh, absolutely.”

Are you intimidated by it all? 

“Totally. That’s what I would have said about what I don’t like about Captain America, maybe back then. The invasive aspect of this style of movie-making. I like making movies. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to be a movie star, you know what I mean? You can have a whole career where you do low key movies and live a very normal life. These moves are very well publicised. But now, I’ve learnt that it comes in waves. When a movie comes out, there’s going to be an increase in attention. And with your privacy, it’s more of a challenge. But that goes away. And at the end of the day, I get to come back and do this great character again. I’ve gotten more comfortable in navigating the influx of attention, and I’ve grown to love the character. So it’s the centre of that venn diagram. Everything is good right now.”

You made your directing debut with Before We Go. Will you be directing again?

“I’ve got another project. I can’t tell you what it is yet. But we start next year. We start in February next year. We’re doing re-writes right now. I can’t wait. I loved directing.”

What is it going to be about?

“I can’t tell you that either! Because you’ll figure it out. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to act. If a good script comes along for a purely acting job, I’ll do it.”

Have you got any of the Avengers cast in your movie? 

“No, no. I don’t think I would ever subject them to that.”

Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Agent 13/Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp)
Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Agent 13/Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp)

You do a lot of training to get into shape for these movies?

“Well, yeah. You try to get everything front loaded. In terms of physicality and stunts, I think that I’m pretty good with that…you don’t forget that stuff. I’m not too restricted on my diet. My metabolism is pretty fast. It’s about gaining size. So I just tell these guys, ‘Listen, get all the scenes where I’m not in the suit, if I’m in a t-shirt, get those early. Because I’ll come into this movie as big as I can possibly be.’ When you go running around in this suit all day, you lose like 6 pounds a day. If you were a wrestler trying to make weight, that’s what you would put on. Sweat is just dripping off you all day. After a week of doing stunts all day, you lose 10 pounds. It’s a challenge, plus you’re exhausted. Your workouts aren’t going to be nearly as good. So you try and get as much of the physical stuff where your size is necessary done early. And then just sweat.”

We’re witnessing an explosion of superheroes. Why do think this is?

“There’s a built in audience. These are familiar properties. It’s why you do remakes. Because they’re names that people know and have grown up with. It’s something that they’re gonna see regardless. The more appropriate answer is that they’re really good stories. It’s like Greek mythology. These are just brilliant stories with brilliant writers. The Stan Lee’s of the world tell really complex stories where they’re able to draw parallels to people without superpowers and that’s why people not only go see them, but why the studios make them. There is such built in complex character work and interesting plots.”

Captain America: Civil War is released in cinemas on April 28.


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