And now the end is near.
Captain America just can’t admit it. On an early Sunday morning in Los Angeles, actor Chris Evans — the man with the red, white and blue shield — was contemplating “Avengers: Endgame,” due out Friday.
Exactly whose superhero life is ending? Inquiring minds, you know.
In a black sweater and dark jeans, Evans tries to find the words. “Well, I can give you the broad strokes. … There is a completion … of an arc. … It’s safe to say that this movie does kind of provide an ending to a lot of …” Evans stammers.
Blame the powers at Marvel who won’t let Evans say too much during the time we talked during production and this month at a global press event. Evans, a 37-year-old, soft-spoken Boston native, is enjoying “Avengers,” plus he has a slew of upcoming roles including a limited Apple series, “Defending Jacob,” which debuts next year.
Review-Journal: When you’re not saving the world, what is your idea of a great Sunday?
Chris Evans: If I have the time, I’m out camping. There is nothing like waking up with nature all around you. My dog Dodger loves it, too. A great Sunday is a hangout with friends … and definitely my dog.
You’ve been playing Steve Roger/Captain America since 2011’s “Captain America: The First Avenger.” How hard is it to keep the secrets of these movies?
It’s just the Marvel way. How amazing to go into a movie where you don’t know what’s going to happen. As an audience member, you want it to remain secret.
What is the best part of playing Captain America?
It’s nice to hear cheers when you walk into an auditorium when we do fan events. Not to seem saccharine, but it’s the more personal moments that mean the most to me. It’s that one kid who says to you that Captain America got him through a tough time, that these characters were all that kid had in that moment when he or she felt anxious or sad. You realize that you are part of something that means a lot to so many people.
When we last saw Captain America in “Avengers: Infinity War,” he had lost so many friends.
It was tough to watch so many of your friends just blow away like dust. All I can say is there is so much good stuff coming up. And if Marvel has proven anything, it’s they know what they’re doing. They don’t miss. It’s this unbelievable tapestry of characters.
How do you slip back into Captain America mode?
Initially when I took the role, I thought of my buddy, Charlie, when I was about to start one of these movies. I grew up with him and he’s a really good guy. Most people know somebody in their lives who embodies what it is to be a good person.
What does being a good person mean to you?
Being somebody without ego. Charlie is very balanced, measured and compassionate. He wants more for other people than himself. Those are admirable qualities that both Charlie and Captain America possess. So, in the beginning stages of the character, I’d think about Charlie a bit to get into the role. In the last few incarnations of the role, however, I didn’t need to go there. I felt close to the character.
What do you most admire about Cap?
He doesn’t bring an innate sense of super power and strength to the table. He’s a guy with a lot of heart and a real clean moral compass.
How has your superhero changed over the years?
Cap hasn’t changed, but the world around him has changed. In “Winter Soldier,” for example, they even manage to change how he views the system. He’s a company guy. He believes in the military and the government. They take that from him. With “Civil War,” they take his notion of family from him. I loved when Cap’s boat got rocked. We find out he’s not perfect. Of course, all the heroes in the Avengers world have their baked-in-the-cake flaws. That makes for great storytelling.
Who is your favorite Avenger to stand next to in a scene?
I have a real soft spot for my scenes with Downey. They do such a nice job of giving Cap conflict since he sees things differently than how Iron Man sees them. They push each other’s buttons. It’s a really complex dynamic between the two. What we’ve learned is they can relate to each other on a number of levels now — as family, friends and brothers.
What is your preference: Bearded Cap or non-bearded Cap?
I do prefer a bearded Cap.
Hasn’t the facial scruff been an issue in the past?
For one of the movies, I was in the middle of shooting something else that required a beard. I walked onto the “Captain America” set with all this facial hair. I thought, ‘Why not? We’re making Ruffalo green. They can fix it.’ I had to spend hours in the makeup chair putting prosthetics over my facial hair.
What’s the goofiest thing all of you do on an Avengers set?
Board games. No one can beat Don Cheadle at Boggle. It’s a word game. You’re lucky if Ruffalo can find the word c-a-t. One day, Downey spelled out a-s-b-e-s-t-o-s. But the best was when we were all flying on a plane and playing. Don found the word a-v-e-n-g-e-r-s. That wasn’t just Boggle. That was a good sign!
Ever have a moment when you looked at yourself in spandex, holding the shield, and thought, “This is my life?”
There were times when it felt like it was happening to somebody else. I know that’s a common feeling for actors. But it does feel a little out-of-body-ish. Over enough time, you start to feel connected to the experience, the character and the world.
What happened when you filmed the last scene for “Endgame?”
The last day of filming is always an emotional day for me. Here it was the culmination of almost 10 years of filming and this unbelievable tapestry. It was a lot more emotions than even I thought I’d feel.
Does Cap live or die?
I gotta go.