The Captain America actor said his craft can become "stale" in a chat with Scarlett Johansson for Variety's Actors on Actors

By Benjamin VanHoose
November 11, 2019 01:26 PM

Chris Evans is conflicted over how to approach the rest of his career.

In a conversation with his Avengers costar Scarlett Johansson as part of Variety‘s Actors on Actors series, Evans, 38, says he frequently has to talk himself out of retirement.

“Every couple of months, I decide I’m done acting,” he said. “This has been my thing for decades now. I’m always looking for a way out, but I do love it.”

The actor, who stars in the upcoming murder-mystery Knives Out, made his leap to the big screen with breakout roles in Not Another Teen Movie (2001) and Fantastic Four (2005).

Now, Evans hints that his transition to the small screen is linked to better creative opportunities in the television market. He will appear in the upcoming limited series Defending Jacob, an Apple TV+ thriller centered on a father whose teenaged son is accused of murder.

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Chris Evans in Knives Out
Claire Folger/Lionsgate

“I think TV right now, those creative minds are given a bit more freedom,” he said. “It feels like movies sometimes get inundated with studio notes, and all of a sudden, what was once an original idea becomes boiled down to the lowest common denominator, and then you have no one’s favorite movie but everyone’s lukewarm movie.”

He added: “I think that’s why people may be turning away, and looking to things like streaming service shows that actually are innovative.”

The Captain America star describes how his craft can become “stale” after some time, leading him to either ponder an early retirement, or test out a new approach to his talents — including a 2018 venture into live theater with a Broadway revival of Lobby Hero.

“After a while, the process of filmmaking does get stale. You just want to try and find a new way into what has become very familiar,” he said. “I think what I was hunting for was that prolonged period of time within a scene, thinking it would allow this liberation. It couldn’t have been more to the contrary. When you’re onstage, it’s just like, ‘Man!’ because you have so much to remember.”

Andrew Toth/Getty

Back in March, Evans addressed circulating rumors that he was planning to retire from the profession, shooting down the possibility.

“I never said the word ‘retire,'” he told The Hollywood Reporter at the time. “It’s a really obnoxious notion for an actor to say they’re going to retire — it’s not something you retire from.”

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Chris Evans
Joe Scarnici/Getty

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While, for now, it doesn’t appear Evans will call it quits on his acting career (he says there are “other things” he’s working on at the moment), he does suggest it’s a closed book on portraying his fan-favorite Marvel character.

“I think Cap had such a tricky act to stick the landing, and I think they did a really nice job letting him complete his journey,” he said. “If you’re going to revisit it, it can’t be a cash grab. … A lot of things would have to come together.”

Saying he’s “protective” of the role, Evans also shared that signing on to the superhero franchise was a daunting concept for him — one he nearly avoided altogether.

“It was such a precious time, and jumping onto the movie was a terrifying prospect to me. I said no a bunch of times, and there’s a million and one ways it could have gone wrong,” he said. “It almost feels like maybe we should let this one sit.”

Knives Out opens Nov. 27.

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