Chris Evans Says He Was Suffering 'Mini Panic Attacks' Before Accepting Captain America Role
The actor revealed he turned down several opportunities to test for the movie before Marvel offered him the role outright without any testing
Chris Evans' decision to suit up as Captain America did not come easy for the actor.
The 38-year-old appeared on Monday's episode of The Hollywood Reporter's podcast, Awards Chatter, where he opened up about his past mental health struggles and early hesitations he had about playing the famed Marvel superhero.
Evans explained that he began to experience severe anxiety around the same time he landed his first major role as the Human Torch in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer in 2007.
"That was back when the superhero thing was just taking off," he shared, adding, "I had just been dumped and I needed it!"
After missing out on roles in Gone Baby Gone, Milk, Elizabethtown and Fracture, the actor said his anxiety took a turn for the worst while filming his next film, Pucnture, in 2010.
"It was the first time I started having mini panic attacks on set," he recalled. "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.'"
When Marvel then invited Evans to test for the part of Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, in 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger, he revealed that he almost didn't jump on the chance due to all the added pressure and fame that would come with the role.
"My suffering would be my own," he recognized at the time.
Evans admitted that he turned down several opportunities to test for the part, even after Marvel upped his salary and only required him to star in six movies instead of nine.
But Marvel didn't give up — instead, they offered Evans the role outright without any testing.
After consulting with his therapist, friends and family, and Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. — who shared the same agent as Evans — the Boston native decided to say yes to Captain America.
"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," Evans said, adding, "To be honest, all the things that I was fearing never really came to fruition."
The actor went on to say that he "fell in love with Steve Rogers pretty quick," and was able to confide in others on set about his fears.
"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," he said.
"Hemsworth and I were very new and we also had the stand-alones ... so I think we shared in our anxiety, and at least that made it a little bit more comforting," he recalled.