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Chris Evans Gets Candid About His Experience With Anxiety

The erstwhile Captain America on how his fears nearly cost him his iconic role.

chris evans as captain america in avengers endgame.

It’s all too common to conflate an actor with their most famous role. Especially if they’ve played that role for nearly a decade, across multiple films, in the biggest film franchise of all time. But it is easy to see Chris Evans as a version of Captain America IRL, thanks to his scandal-free celebrity, his commitment to charity, and his consistent calling out of Trump on Twitter.

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But just like everyone else on this planet, Chris Evans struggles with anxiety. The erstwhile Steve Rogers opened up in a new interview on The Hollywood Reporter’s “Awards Chatter” podcast, where he discussed dealing with severe anxiety while filming Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer in 2007.

Evans said of the experience, “It was the first time I started having mini panic attacks on set … 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.'” Evans was so concerned that years later when Marvel wanted to bring him in for Captain America, he turned them down.

“My suffering would be my own,” Evans said, daunted by the commitment of nine feature films and much broader exposure. Marvel was persistent, eventually offering Evans the role outright. Luckily, Evans had a heart to heart with Tony Stark himself, Robert Downey Jr. (both share an agent and a therapist) and was eventually convinced to take on the role.

“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 … To be honest, all the things that I was fearing never really came to fruition.”

Evans also talked about forming a bond with Chris Hemsworth, as two lesser-known actors of the six core Avengers. “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. Hemsworth and I were very new and we also had the stand-alones and so I think we shared in our anxiety, and at least that made it a little bit more comforting.”

Even though more people (especially during the pandemic) are openly talking about mental health, there is still stigma around the issue for men. It’s refreshing to see someone of Evans’s fame and stature get candid about his struggles, and hopefully, his words will encourage more people to seek help

(via The Hollywood Reporter, image: Marvel)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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