Chris Evans on The Losers, Scott Pilgrim and Captain America
04.26.10 by BJSprecher
Actor Chris Evans might very well be considered the poster boy for comic book movie adaptations. After making his comic book movie debut as Johnny Storm, aka the Human Torch, in Fantastic Four (2005), Evans has gone on to star in a number of comic book and comic book-related properties. He provided the voice of Casey Jones in TMNT (2007), which began as an independently-published black-and-white comic book, reprised the role of the Human Torch in Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), and played a man with superhero-esque powers in Push (2009). Evans currently has one comic book adaptation in theaters, another in post-production, and is preparing for the what might be the biggest role of his life in a third. In a recent interview with ScreenStar, Evans discussed his upcoming projects and how choosing movie roles is like playing chess.
Evans' latest comic book movie, director Sylvain White's The Losers, opened on Friday. Evans plays Jensen, a member of an elite team of ex-Special Forces operatives known as "The Losers" who work in the shadows to clear their names and get revenge on those responsible for trying to kill them. While Evans admitted that The Losers doesn't break any new ground in terms of plot, he said that the ensemble movie benefits from having strong character relationships built upon the actual friendships formed between the cast members during production.
Movies like this, I think, live and die based on the chemistry. We're not reinventing the wheel with the plot, and neither were the movies in the '80s that were so successful, like Lethal Weapon and the Die Hard movies, where you have to really like, not just the characters, but the characters' interactions with each other. And this movie, I think, accomplishes that based on the fact that we all really—really—got along off set. I know on a lot of movies people say that, 'Oh, we love each other. We go to dinner all the time.' Then the movie wraps and you never see each other again. This is not the case here. We all became incredibly close and to this day remain very good friends.
Evans' next comic book adaptation heading to the big screen is Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, currently in post-production. The story revolves around a young slacker (played by Michael Cera) who much defeat the seven "evil" ex-boyfriends of the object of his affection (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) to win her love. Evans plays one of the ex-boyfriends, Lucas Lee, a "sell out" pro skateboarder turned movie star. Evans said that he had so much fun making the movie that he wished he had a bigger part to play in it.
That was a fantastic time. My only frustration with that movie was that my part was so small. I was there in the beginning doing rehearsals and training with the cast, but then I left for about a month and a half. Then I came back and we filmed my character for about three weeks, maybe four, and then I left again, and they kept filming for another two months. It was so sad because I'd been having such an amazing time. That whole cast is so young. Everyone was under 30, and they're all so funny and so talented. Edgar is such a riot. It's this broad comedy with a comic book backdrop. It was fun and it was silly.
Now, Evans is preparing to star in what is potentially going to be a career-changing comic book movie for him, director Joe Johnston's The First Avenger: Captain America. An integral chapter in Marvel Studios' grand "shared universe" of movies leading up to its super-team movie, The Avengers, Captain America will be unlike any other Marvel Studios movies as it will be a period piece, set almost entirely in the 1940's, the era in which the comic book was first published. Evans said that he did not accept the role lightly.
It was tricky saying yes. A couple of sleepless nights were involved. I'm going for it and I'm not looking back. I'm trying to just stay positive and focus on the fact that it could be a great thing. It really could be, it should be, and that's the way I'm looking at it.
It is a big responsibility. I'm a little scared, to be honest. I'd be lying if I said anything else, and I have no problem being honest about that. It's intimidating. It's a big responsibility and you want to do your best work. I'm not quite sure what else to say. It was a challenging process for me, trying to decide whether or not to do it. I came down on the side of going for it because I really think Marvel is doing some great things these days, the script is great and it's going to be a fun character to play. He's a wonderful character, just as a man, aside from the comic hero background. If it was just a story about the man, Steve Rogers, I'd be really interested. He's an incredibly noble, honest, selfless man, and those are qualities that I think people can aspire to and look up to.
This is obviously going to be a very time-consuming ordeal, not just with Captain America, but with The Avengers. They'll shoot back to back. The shoots are long. The press is very time-consuming. It's going to be very tricky. These are all the things I've had to try and weigh. But I said, "Well, if you do this, hopefully it will enable me to make whatever I'd like to make in the future." That's an opportunity you want. It's chess, really. Sometimes this one move isn't going to bring you everything you want, but five moves down the line it just may. So, again, it was pros and cons, and the pros won out.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World opens August 13th. The First Avenger: Captain America begins shooting in June, with a scheduled release date of July 22, 2011.