America's Most Wanted

By Tanya Pai | Boston Magazine |

CHRIS EVANS IS MORE THAN JUST A TORSO. It’s true that his turn as the Human Torch in the hit Fantastic Four franchise required him to regularly bare his abs. And sure, his jock-with-a-heart-of-gold character in Not Another Teen Movie spent an entire scene wearing only a whipped-cream bikini. And okay, his publicist did impose a ban on beefcake shots after one too many magazines photographed him posing shirtless. And yes, he just may have the most famous pecs in the country these days, thanks to movie previews featuring him bare-chested as jacked-up super soldier Steve Rogers, the lead character in Captain America: The First Avenger — which hits theaters this month as the most hotly anticipated comic-book film in recent memory. But we’re here to tell you that Chris Evans is more than just a torso. Our hometown superhero’s got talent to burn and a résumé to match: He’s worked with Oscar winners such as Kim Basinger, Danny Boyle, and Forest Whitaker. And he’s anything but standard Hollywood.

[sidebar]Evans broke into the business through the back door, spending the summer before his senior year at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School interning for New York talent agents, one of whom he talked into signing him. From there he eventually landed a few guest TV spots and a role on a short-lived series before his breakout turn as the aforementioned scantily clad athlete.

It’s pretty much been fame and fortune ever since, but Evans has kept close to his roots. Though he has a place in L.A., he spends as much time as possible with his family in Sudbury. (His uncle, by the way, is U.S. Representative Mike Capuano, and two of his three siblings are also actors.) He remains friendly with his high school crowd, and he recently flew his former drama teacher down to the Tribeca Film Festival as his guest. It’s all extremely apple pie — hell, even his pooch, East, is an American bulldog. Fitting, then, that playing a stars-and-stripes crime fighter looks to be the force that catapults him to a permanent place on Hollywood’s A-list.

We recently caught up with the 30-year-old actor to find out what it was like getting dumped on prom night; why it’s the Celtics over the Pats for him (but Tom Brady is entitled to do whatever the hell he wants, thank you very much); and how, exactly, a kid from MetroWest found himself starring in the biggest movie of the summer.

Captain America isn’t the first comic-book film you’ve done. There were the two Fantastic Four movies, and you’re playing Captain America again in The Avengers, which comes out next year. Were you a comic-book junkie as a kid?

I wasn’t into comic books. I had to go and do my research once I signed on for all these things. I was more into watching cartoons, which, you know, in retrospect probably wasn’t the best idea. Having read comic books, you start to appreciate the level of intellect that goes into these things.   

Your character has been around so long that there are several different versions of him. Did you research a particular iteration, or did you just go with your own take on who he is based on the script?
Well, it’s pretty much an origin story — the transformation from Steve Rogers to Captain America. All the variations and the evolution of the character come once he’s become Captain America. There was a great comic book called Mythos that was the closest version to the story we’re telling. The artwork was beautiful — it looked almost like it was all watercolor. That’s what I kept by my side while we were filming. I did a bunch of research independently of the film script and just tried to soak up some knowledge of the comic-book world, because we’re making this movie for the comic-book fans.

  • Tanja

    What a lovely man. Boston can be proud of him!

  • Tom

    I had dealings with this guy last year when he was in England and he did something he didn’t have to for a child I know. I can tell you he is a good hearted man who made a little boy very happy!

  • Barry

    I’m always struck by the fact that it’s hard to talk to this man about personal things for long before he mentions his family. It’s lovely. He always wears the St Christopher he got from his grandmother. He’s a great guy. Anon is right, Boston ought to be proud to call him their own.

  • Vic

    I’ve long admired him as an actor. He has been the best thing in most of the movies he’s made. He was extraordinary in Sunshine and London.
    He is right to value his old friends! He seems wise to the fact that a lot of people popping into his life now would abandon him at the drop of a hat.
    But with his loving family and loyal old buddies plus his pleasant and modest personality I’m confident he’ll cope with the success which is so justly coming his way now.

  • Helen

    Looking forward to Captain America, the trailers seem amazing!! I agree that he seems a very likeable young man. Good luck to him, Captain America is going to be fantastic.

  • Tanja

    Sorry, still trying to get my head around the idea of having Chris Evans as a boyfriend and dumping him! Sorry, does not compute.
    Gorgeous face, ridiculous body but I have a hunch the best part of him is …… his heart!! (aaah!)

  • Carla

    What a lovely grounded individual he seems. I hope he finds his ‘Miss Right’ some day. (He’d make a great family man and dad!!)