Chris Evans Shares His Struggles With Anxiety And Why He Initially Turned Down Captain America Role

Chris Evans is best known for his role as Steve Rogers — better known as Captain America — in Marvel Studios’ Marvel Cinematic Universe. Prior to that, he suited up as the Human Torch and Fox’s first two movies featuring Marvel’s first family: Fantastic Four (2005) and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007).

He’s starred in dozens of other movies, a handful of television shows, and recently made his directorial debut in 2014’s Before We Go.

But he’s transformed into one of Hollywood’s biggest stars thanks to his role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s almost a move that didn’t happen. In fact, Evans admits he turned the role of Captain America down more than once, attributing the rejection to anxiety, a mental illness over 40 million Americans suffer from.

Sitting down with the Youtube channel Motivation Madness, the New Englander spoke to dealing with his anxiety and depression while attempting to make a decision to commit to a deal that’d make him contractually obligated to appear in at least six movies under the Marvel Studios banner.

“Normally you do one of those movies at a time and if that movie hits and is a success, your life changes,” Evans reflected. “The worry was if this movie hits and there is a life style change and I don’t react well to it, I don’t have the opportunity — the luxury — to say ‘You know guys, I’m good.’”

Evans went on to detail that the initial deal with Marvel Studios was to appear in six movies over the course of ten years.

“If your lifestyle is changed to the point where your anonymity is compromised, it’s really not your right to complain anymore,” said Evans. “So if someone in your family ends up in a hospital and you’re going in and out everyday and someone’s taking pictures of you and you complain, everyone’s going to say ‘Too bad, you made this bed, now sleep in it’ and that’s a shame.”

After initially turning the role down, Evans said he spoke to a therapist upon a recommendation from those close to him and eventually decided to take the deal.

“I get anxiety about certain things, with press and things like that and all those things are tied into Marvel responsibilities,” explained Evans. “And it kind of started to shift on me. It started to feel like maybe the thing that you’re most scared of is exactly what you should do. Maybe this is what you should push yourself into.”

And the thing that Evans was once scared of doing has blossomed into a budding career with a ginormous fanbase full of Captain America fans. To date, Evans has appeared eight MCU movies ranging from solos movies like The First Avenger and The Winter Soldier to team-ups The Avengers and Age of Ultron. He’s even made small uncredited cameos in MCU flicks like Thor: The Dark World and Ant-Man.

“The times that I felt my best are the moments I’ve been able to pull the plug and say ‘Chris, shhh,’” Evans reflected. “And it’s not quitting. It’s not giving up. It’s not washing your hands of the thought. It’s rising above it. It’s operating on a separate plane. You can’t dissect why that works because the reason it works doesn’t speak the same language that the brain speaks.”

The two movies left on Evans’ initial contract include Avengers: Infinity War and the untitled Avengers 4 follow-up.

Avengers: Infinity War currently holds a 4.40 out of 5 on ComicBook.com's anticipation rankings, putting it in the #1 spot of all upcoming films. You can submit your score for the film here.

First for Marvel though is Black Panther, which lands in theaters on February 16. That is followed by Avengers: Infinity War, which hits theaters on May 4, paving the way for Ant-Man and the Wasp which lands in theaters on July 6.

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