Chris Evans opened up about grappling with anxiety in a recent interview, revealing that it almost prevented him from accepting his role as Captain America.
The 38-year-old told The Hollywood Reporter’s “Awards Chatter” podcast that he first started dealing with anxiety upon the release of “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” in 2007. Cast as Johnny Storm in that film and its predecessor, “Fantastic Four,” Evans explained that he took on the role because “that was back when the superhero thing was just taking off.”
“I had just been dumped and I needed it!” he shared, before adding that around the time of the film’s release, he’d had growing anxiety due to losing out on parts and not having films like 2007’s “Sunshine” be widely recognized.
“Nobody sees my good movies,” said Evans in the interview.
The actor went on to share how his mental health battles continued, explaining that he had “mini panic attacks on set” during the filming of 2010’s “Puncture.”
“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,’” he said.
Marvel came calling shortly thereafter, offering Evans the chance to try out for the role of Steve Rogers, aka Captain America. The deal meant nine films ― a sizable payout and explosive fame. Evans was fearful of what the outsized limelight would do to his anxiety and said no.
“My suffering would be my own,” said Evans, who repeatedly turned down the opportunity to test for the role, even after the studio offered a reduced number of films and an increased salary.
Not willing to take no for an answer, Marvel offered Evans the part outright, causing the actor to rethink his initial decision and consult “Iron Man” star Robert Downey Jr. for advice.
Evans and Downey apparently share “an agent, a therapist, and trusted friends and family,” all of whom pushed Evans to not let fear guide his decision making.
“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.” he said.
“To be honest, all the things that I was fearing never really came to fruition,” he said.
Evans said he “fell in love” with his Steve Rogers character and that it helped having Chris Hemsworth, who came into the MCU as Thor around the same time as Evans, as a fellow newbie.
“It was nice having Chris Hemsworth around because he was going through it, too. I mean, at the time Downey’s Downey and Scarlett’s Scarlett [Johansson]. And [Mark] Ruffalo and [Jeremy] Renner, at the time, were crushing it, too. 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,” he said.
Previously, Evans has been open about his mental health struggles and shared his trepidation on becoming Captain America with Men’s Health.
“[Captain America] was a big commitment. If the movie hits, your life noticeably changes. If someone in your family is in the hospital, and you’re going in and out and people are taking pictures of and you complain, it’s too bad. You made this bed, sleep in it,” said Evans to the publication in 2019, before adding: “Maybe the thing you’re most scared of is actually the thing you should do.”