Chris Evans of 'Captain America' admits he was a late bloomer
Chris Evans got buff for "Captain America: The First Avenger," but the actor admitted to OnTheRedCarpet.com that he could relate to his character's initial scrawniness.
"I was really small kid. Very skinny, very short. Late bloomer," Evans told OnTheRedCarpet.com special correspondent George Pennacchio of KABC Television. "I think around 18, 19, I got a little more height and then around 20, 21, I started being able to retain a little bit of weight."
In the film, which is set in the 1940s, Evans' character Steve Rogers is deemed physically unfit to join the U.S. Army and fight the Nazis during World War II. He then volunteers for a secret research project that turns him into super soldier Captain America.
"The movie takes place in the '40s, obviously, and we're at war," Evans said. "They did a good job of not making it filled with bells and whistles. It has a very utilitarian feel to it, it actually feels, feels functional, like this actually serves a purpose in war time."
Though "Captain America" is currently No. 1 in the box office, after earning $25.8 million on Friday, Evans turned down the role several times before finally agreeing to tackle the superhero, because he worried it would not be successful.
"Obviously, in retrospect, it was the right move to make," Evans conceded at the film's premiere. "It was nerves in the beginning, and I think everyone can understand that."
His fellow Marvel superhero actor Robert Downey Jr., who portrays Iron Man, understood Evans' apprehension.
"This was a huge risk for him to take," Downey Jr. told OnThRedCarpet.com at the premiere. "I think of all the Marvel characters, the one that had the biggest likelihood of kind of maybe being embarrassing if it wasn't executed correctly is Captain America so I think that any apprehension he's had about it was all grounded in reality."
The film's director Joe Johnston, however, was adamant about getting Evans for the role and knew he would give in eventually.
"We always wanted Chris," Johnston told OnTheRedCarpet.com at the film's premiere. "But he turned us down a couple of times because he didn't want to be typecast, I guess. I think once he realized that we were doing a good production and we were a good team and we would take care of him... plus all his friends told him he'd be an idiot if he turned it down, he eventually came around."
Sebastian Stan plays Rogers' friend and sidekick Bucky Barnes and Hugo Weaving plays his nemesis, Red Skull, who works for Adolf Hitler. Tommy Lee Jones portrays Col. Chester Phillips, who recruits Rogers for the research project and Hayley Atwell plays Peggy Carter, Captain America's love interest.
Evans said that he got a bit roughed-up during filming, considering his superhero character didn't have many super powers.
"The thing about Captain America - his powers are not too fantastical," Evans said. "The action sequences rely on hand to hand combat. You certainly are stuck doing a lot of your own stunts and going home with some bumps and bruises."
Though Evans had to remain mum during production on the Marvel comic film, the actor admit that it was nice not having to answer too many questions.
"It's kind of nice being able to say, 'Sorry, can't talk about it!' It gets me out of a lot of questions," Evans said of the secrecy surrounding the "Captain America." "The only problem is now I have to go through it all over again with 'The Avengers.'"
Evans, a 29-year-old Boston native, is known for his parts in the 2005 movie "The Fantastic Four" and its 2007. He will reprise his role as Captain America in the movie The Avengers," which is directed by Joss Whedon of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" fame and is due to be released on May 4, 2012.
Check out a trailer for "Captain America: The First Avenger" below.
Reporting by George Pennacchio of KABC Television and special correspondent for its entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).