The Quiet Amer­i­can

Cap­tain Amer­ica’s al­ter ego, Chris Evans, makes be­ing a su­per­hero look easy, but the real su­per­power, he tells Madeleine Ross, is the abil­ity to quiet your brain when the noise gets loud

Hong Kong Tatler - - Concierge -

f you tried to sketch his char­ac­ter from his ré­sumé alone, you’d peg Chris Evans as an af­fa­ble, swag­ger­ing, red-state jock whose rai­son d’être is fame and a large pay cheque. The 35-year-old ac­tor is king of the block­buster su­per­hero genre; he’s played Cap­tain Amer­ica in three epony­mous Marvel adap­ta­tions and two Avengers movies, and has starred in three Fan­tas­tic Four films. Pep­pered through­out this CV of box of­fice record-break­ers are teen flicks and rom­coms. He was the high school heart­throb in Not An­other Teen Movie and the “Har­vard hot­tie” in The Nanny Diaries.

His mass-mar­ket ca­reer tra­jec­tory, how­ever, seems to jar with the con­tem­pla­tive, lum­ber­jack-styled Evans I meet on a hazy evening in Shang­hai. And buried in his ré­sumé of block­busters are some chal­leng­ing, in­de­pen­dent films. Evans played Jimmy in a 2008 adap­ta­tion of Ten­nessee Wil­liams’ The Loss of a Teardrop Di­a­mond, ap­peared in the dark 2007 sci-fi thriller Sun­shine and re­cently di­rected his first fea­ture, Be­fore We Go, in which he also starred. A homage to the 1995 film Be­fore Sun­rise, Be­fore We Go chron­i­cles the friend­ship of two strangers over the course of an evening in New York.

“It was ex­cit­ing, it was chal­leng­ing, it was ed­u­ca­tional,” he says of di­rect­ing Be­fore We Go, adding that he plans to spend more time be­hind the cam­era once his act­ing con­tract with Dis­ney’s Marvel Stu­dios ends. “You never un­der­stand how dif­fi­cult it is un­til you ac­tu­ally do it. There are al­ways un­fore­seen chal­lenges when mak­ing a film and I had a few, but I learned from them. Hope­fully I’ll make some ad­just­ments on the next out­ing.”

He’s al­ways been fas­ci­nated by the way sto­ries are trans­lated from script to screen. “With ev­ery movie that I made, I al­ways had an idea of what I thought the movie would be, then I would see the film and it would vary to some de­gree. I think that sparked an in­ter­est in sto­ry­telling ver­sus act­ing. My agents would say I was no­to­ri­ous for lik­ing ev­ery script that I read; I liked them be­cause in my head I saw a movie that I en­joyed, which may or may not come to fruition based on who ended up helm­ing the film. So I wanted an op­por­tu­nity to bring the sto­ries I saw in my brain to life.”

He has al­ways en­joyed the tech­ni­cal side of film­mak­ing. When act­ing, he likes to be fully briefed as to how a di­rec­tor will cap­ture a scene. “I en­joy un­der­stand­ing what the cam­era’s re­spon­si­bil­ity is be­cause it can change the way the scene is spoon-fed to the au­di­ence. Some ac­tors think that’s too much in­for­ma­tion; they would rather be given di­rec­tion based on their char­ac­ter, but I like hav­ing it all.” What kind of di­rec­tor is he? “That’s tough. I think I give more in­for­ma­tion than ac­tors might want. I en­joy deal­ing with tech­ni­cians. There are some ac­tors that pre­fer more vis­ceral, cre­ative in­put, then there are ac­tors who are truly tech­ni­cally based—you can give them black-and-white in­for­ma­tion and they re­ally know how to trans­late that into artis­tic ex­pres­sion.”

A con­stant con­cern for ac­tors is the risk of be­ing type­cast. For Evans, who has hitched his wagon so com­pletely to the char­ac­ter of Cap­tain Amer­ica, the risk pre­sum­ably looms large. Does he think this role has been a bless­ing or a curse? “Oh, a bless­ing,” he as­sures me in his calm, res­o­nant drawl (one thing un­mis­tak­ably “movie star” about Evans is his deep, hyp­notic voice). “You’ve re­ally got to stretch to find the curse as­pect. I think there are pros and cons to any­thing, but the pros rad­i­cally out­weigh the cons.”

In a few days Evans will head back to Mas­sachusetts, where he was raised, to join his fam­ily for Thanks­giv­ing. “I’ll be back there, sur­rounded by peo­ple that I love, that love me, and it’s got noth­ing to do with act­ing, with your ca­reer. It’s a nice way to just be present.” I ask if he has a Thanks­giv­ing duty—whether, for ex­am­ple, he carves the turkey or sea­sons the pump­kin pie. “I’m the whisky guy,” he smiles—an apt re­sponse con­sid­er­ing he is an am­bas­sador for Pernod Ri­card-owned Scotch whisky brand Chivas Re­gal Ultis. (Evans is in

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