The Personal Journey Behind Chris Evans's Surprising New Project — a Political Website: 'We Have the Power'
The Avengers star hopes to engage more Americans in politics with his bipartisan site A Starting Point
At a time when Chris Evans could use his fame and platform — including nearly 14 million Twitter followers — to do almost anything or make almost any film, he's decided to venture into the world of politics with the bipartisan website A Starting Point.
The actor, best-known for his role as the Avengers' Captain America, says the idea came from his own frustration at not being able to find reliable, fact-based information online about basic political topics and policies.
"It's not that I'm specifically drawn to politics. It's just when you look around, you try to figure out how can you help," he tells PEOPLE in the latest issue.
The website is divided into three sections: "Starting Points," which is a glossary-type section featuring two-minute answers to common questions asked of our elected officials; "Daily Points," which features participating politicians talking for one minute about any subject they want to address; and "Counterpoints," a section that features a discussion between two elected officials who have differing viewpoints about an issue.
"There's a lot of things you can do as an actor with your name," says Evans, 39. "I could be making booze — I don't discourage anyone from doing that, I love booze — but there's no denying that I played a certain character, and it just so happens to align with part of my nature in terms of being someone who is politically involved and who cares about the wellbeing of people in this country."
He continues: "You have to use your platform to do more than just retweet things."
Evans is no stranger to speaking out politically, including criticizing President Donald Trump. He expresses himself freely on social media — an outspokenness that was instilled in him at an early age.
"My family's always been very political. Very, very vocal," he says. "It's always the conversation around the dinner table. It's not something we ever shied away from."
Evans's uncle Michael Capuano served 10 terms in Congress and the actor fondly remembers campaigning for him in his younger years.
"I've always been really proud of him," he says.
Although Evans has his own strong political beliefs, you will not find them anywhere on A Starting Point.
"Nowhere on the site is my opinion," he says. "I think that's really important if you want to try to become synonymous with a place of unbiased information and accurately represent what is happening in Washington."
Evans and his co-founders Mark Kassen, a director and producer, and tech entrepreneur Joe Kiani made sure to involve elected officials from both sides of the political aisle.
They made nearly a dozen trips to Washington, D.C., to meet with politicians and now have more than 170 senators, congresspeople, governors and mayors featured on the site — though it took work to get them there.
"I thought there was going to be a little more willingness, a little more trust, but there wasn't," Evans says. "It was nice when the ball started rolling. I ended up really being inspired in a lot of ways by a lot of things I saw. They're civil servants. They're just people trying to help other people."
Evans says that since the site launched in July, the response has been great.
"If the only thing we achieve is political engagement from an otherwise apathetic voter, then we've done our job," he says. "Success looks like more people voting."
He adds: "We have the power. We have the numbers. We can make that mechanism work for us, if we're all involved."