‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’: Chris Evans on Captain America’s search for home

April 27, 2015 | 1:37 p.m.

For Chris Evans, wielding Captain America’s shield is nearly second nature by now.

Friday’s theatrical release of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” marks the fourth time Evans has portrayed the star-spangled superhero on the big screen (not including a funny cameo in “Thor: The Dark World”).

“Certainly I feel more comfortable with the character,” Evans said on the film’s London set last summer. “Every time you play him you peel back a layer.”

Chris Evans as Captain America  in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel Studios)

Chris Evans as Captain America in “Avengers: Age Of Ultron.” (Jay Maidment / Marvel Studios)

“Age of Ultron,” director Joss Whedon’s sequel to 2012’s blockbuster “The Avengers,” sees Evans reuniting with Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), along with newcomers James Spader, as the titular villain Ultron, Paul Bettany as the Vision, Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver.

Hero Complex caught up with Evans during filming to chat about his fellow cast members, returning to the superheroic role, working with director Joss Whedon again and what’s next.

On sharing the stage in “The Avengers” movies:

When it’s your movie, you have a very specific arc that you are constantly aware of. You’re in every single day working. The nature of these [“Avengers”] movies, there’s a lot of characters; it’s not just about you. There are a lot of plots, a lot of story lines, so there’s less of a light shined on your individual role. As a result, I don’t know whether it’s the pressure or the concerns, something just feels a little more like you’re sharing the load a bit. It’s nice in a way. There’s a little bit less stress at night. When it’s your movie … you don’t want to be the weak link in the chain or let your franchise down. With everybody involved, you feel a little more comfortable because there’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen and a lot of people paying attention to things. It feels a little relaxed. But I don’t want it to sound like people check out – no one’s coasting on these movies. But I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a different element of pressure and stress involved with your film.

I really get along with everybody on this movie. It’s a great group. It’s nice to know that these movies usually come together fairly well. Marvel knows what they’re doing.

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Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, left, Chris Evans as Captain America, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Marvel)

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Chris Hemsworth as Thor, left, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and Chris Evans as Captain America in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Marvel)

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Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, left, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Chris Evans Steve Rogers in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Ultron (voiced by James Spader), left, and Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Marvel)

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Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, left, and Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Iron Man's Hulkbuster suit (Robert Downey Jr.) versus the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Marvel)

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Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), left, and Dr. Cho (Claudia Kim) in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and War Machine (Don Cheadle) in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Marvel)

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Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, left, and Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Jay Maidment: Marvel)

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Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), left, and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Marvel)

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Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), left, and one of his mercenaries (Bentley Kalu) in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Marvel)

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Thomas Kretschmann as Baron von Strucker in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), left, Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) assemble in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Marvel)

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The heroes of "Avengers: Age Of Ultron," from left: Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), James "Rhodey" Rhodes (Don Cheadle), Dr. Cho (Claudia Kim), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). (Film Frame / Marvel Studios)

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Chris Evans as Captain America, left, and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel Studios)

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The villainous Ultron Prime (voiced by James Spader) in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Film Frame / Marvel Studios)

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Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel Studios)

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Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, left, and Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel Studios)

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Chris Evans as Captain America, left, and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel Studios)

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Chris Evans as Captain America, left, and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel Studios)

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From left: Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark and Chris Evans as Captain America in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel Studios)

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From left: Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America, Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man and Don Cheadle as James "Rhodey" Rhodes in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Film Frame / Marvel Studios)

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Elizabeth Olsen on location in Aosta, Italy, for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on March 24, 2014. (Photopix/Getty Images)

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Aaron Taylor-Johnson on location in Aosta, Italy, for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on March 24, 2014. (Photopix/Getty Images)

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An actor films on location in Aosta, Italy, for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on March 24, 2014. (Photopix/Getty Images)

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Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner are seen on location in Aosta, Italy, for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on March 24, 2014. (Photopix/Getty Images)

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Director Joss Whedon and star Aaron Taylor-Johnson on location for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on March 24, 2014 in Aosta, Italy. (Photopix/Getty Images)

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Actors in motion-capture gear on location for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on March 24, 2014 in Aosta, Italy. (Photopix/Getty Images)

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Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson are seen on location in Aosta, Italy, for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on March 24, 2014. (Photopix/Getty Images)

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Aaron Taylor-Johnson is seen filming 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' in Pont-Saint-Martin on March 24, 2014 in Aosta, Italy. (Photopix / Getty Images)

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Jeremy Renner is seen filming on location for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on March 24, 2014 in Aosta, Italy. (Photopix / Getty Images)

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General view of location of 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' in Pont-Saint-Martin in Aosta, Italy, on March 24, 2014. (Photopix/Getty Images)

On Steve Rogers’ evolution throughout the films:

I wasn’t choosing to do this, but I happened to see a little bit of the first “Captain America” on TV…. It’s almost tricky watching yourself. It feels a lifetime ago but you realize the evolution the character’s gone through, and it’s nice being a part of the progress of the character. I think with all that happened in the second “Captain America,” I think he really made leaps and bounds as far as how he sees himself and how he sees his place in the world and on this team. So it did feel kind of like a new character coming into this movie. And I certainly feel the most comfortable I’ve ever felt with him. “Cap 2” was a really nice exercise in getting to know the guy. It felt a little more, “We get it, he’s a boy scout. We get it, he’s a man out of time. Now let’s let him actually be a character and let him have some conflict. Let him be human.” It felt really grounded. That’s kind of why I’m so excited to get back into “Cap 3,” to dive back in with a little more personal conflict.

In “Avengers,” it’s more about him trying to find out where home is. I think he’s seen a few other relationships in the film, and now that there’s no more S.H.I.E.L.D. to report to, he’s a soldier. That’s where he kind of defines himself. They’re just reporting to themselves. They’re leaning on each other. They really are this individual unit, this kind of self-governed family. And I think he struggles without structure. In this movie, he’s looking to find out where he belongs. He was kind of doing that at the beginning of “Cap 2,” and S.H.I.E.L.D. fell as a result. I think he’s still trying to find out what his definition of home is.

On Steve’s relationship with Tony Stark:

“Avengers” was a bit of a catalyst for their relationship. They respect one another. In this movie, they certainly have to lean on one another. With whatever happens with Downey’s contract, these characters may be coming and going, there may be a changing of the guard. There has to be an evolution of their relationship. That’s just what’s going to happen to the characters. The team won’t always be the team that you see it as today. We keep bringing in new characters and some characters leave. I think there’s been a very nice journey between Steve and Tony, and I feel like in “The Avengers,” we were both kids, there was [an ego struggle]. In this movie, we argue, but the dialogue is even written more just like a seasoned relationship, the way you’d see an old married couple argue as opposed to a 20-year-old couple argue. They know each other. They might press each other’s buttons, but they get past it quickly.

Robert Downey Jr., Joss Whedon, Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans on "The Avengers" set. (Zade Rosenthal / Marvel Studios)

Robert Downey Jr., Joss Whedon, Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans on “The Avengers” set. (Zade Rosenthal / Marvel Studios)

On working with director Joss Whedon again:

He’s just as stressed, and he’s just as neurotic. He’s Joss. He’s a perfectionist. He doesn’t stop working. We work 13-, 14-hour days. I think he dreams new scenes. I just got these pages today and I’m sure tomorrow he’s going to rip them up and write some new ones. He’s constantly engrossed in these movies.

It’s very comforting knowing that Joss knocked the first one out of the park so we can all breath a little sigh of relief knowing that he’s quarterbacking the ship. He’s a very self-deprecating guy. It’s very healthy on these movies. You’ve got to make fun of yourself. You have to, these movies are very stressful. There’s a lot riding on it. There’s a lot of money spent. You don’t want to have a peak and then a bomb, you know what I mean? You did well last time, you gotta step it up next time. That’s what the fans want; that’s what we want. That’s what everybody wants. You really can’t miss a beat. There’s no do-overs.

On acting with James Spader and Paul Bettany:

I didn’t know what [Spader] was going to do. It was even written, he’s sarcastic. I was like, “Is he a robot?” I was so curious as to how he was going to do it. I was so thankful that I wasn’t Ultron. I had no clue what I would do with this. The first day, all of us were just mesmerized, because he did have a monologue, and it was so good. He’s just so villainous and syrupy. His voice and his posture, right away, you’re like, “Man, this is going to be something special and I’m watching it happen. I’m watching a character come to life.”

"Avengers: Age of Ultron" actor Chris Evans attends the 2015 Academy Awards in Hollywood on Feb. 22. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” actor Chris Evans attends the 2015 Academy Awards in Hollywood on Feb. 22. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

When you read the script you’re like … “What is Ultron?” I’m trying to read the comic books and I’m on the Internet, and I don’t understand. And you know Paul Bettany’s in the movie, even his character in the script, I was like, “Who the … are these people? I don’t get this.” When you finally get to set and you get to see them do it, you’re like, “Oh. That’s cool.” You feel what it feels like. I remember the first time I saw the trailer for “Lord of the Rings,” it’s something you’re anticipating, something you’re excited for and you see a trailer that blows your mind. These movies are nice, but sometimes you forget how cool they are and then you see Spader do his thing, you’re like, “That’s going to be the trailer. That’s going to be the moment that a lot of fans are looking for.”

On what’s next after the Marvel films:

When I’m done with my Marvel contract I am going to focus on directing. I don’t see myself in the near future pursuing acting jobs unless I’m directing them. I stand by that. But I love acting. It’s a ridiculous thing to say you’re going to retire from something; it’s not like I’m too old to act. I did direct [“Before We Go”] last year, and I loved it. I do kinda want to pursue that, and I probably will for the foreseeable future outside of the Marvel world.

I like normal stuff. I want a normal life. I like going to parades and Disney World and stuff like that. I want a normal family. The goal is not to be a gigantic movie star. It’s fun for now, and it’s great. It’s enabling a lot of other things that I want to do. I’m trying to look at this as a chapter in my life. Later on, I’ll remember this chapter fondly and say that was a really good time. I’m fine with that.

— Gina McIntyre | @LATHeroComplex

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Comments


One Response to ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’: Chris Evans on Captain America’s search for home

  1. @LordElfa says:

    There are some cheap condos in Cincinnati if he's interested. No alien invasions here yet.

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