When Chris Evans had second thoughts about playing Captain America, and was swayed by Robert Downey Jr’s phone call

Here’s how Robert Downey Jr convinced Chris Evans to sign on to play Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, when Evans was having second thoughts about it.

Chris Evans, who turns 41 on Monday, will always be synonymous with Captain America, a character that he played on the big screen for nearly a decade. While he said recently that it would be ‘a tall order’ for him to return in the role, he didn’t offer an outright rejection. It was also reported last year that Evans was circling some kind of deal that would bring him back into the MCU fold in a supporting role, like the one Robert Downey adopted post his ‘retirement’ from the Iron Man series.
Starring in the Marvel movies means having to turn down several other offers, as the series’ chronology is largely set in stone for several years. Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Doctor Strange in the MCU, recently spoke about the double-edged sword that the franchise is.
And Evans said that he had some of the same apprehensions when he was deciding whether to sign on as Captain America or not. He turned down the role a handful of times before agreeing, and said in a 2020 interview that it was a phone call from none other than Downey that convinced him to take the plunge.
“I knew where they wanted to go, that’s part of the initial deal, not just for Captain America but for Avengers movies and that was daunting,” Evans told The Hollywood Reporter. He said that the phone call from Downey really helped. “Just hearing him kind of give you that little nudge of encouragement, it just made me feel a little bit more like I was part of the gang and not so intimidated. I guess it was a double edged sword, on the one hand it makes you feel very welcome but on the other hand you just think ‘Oh man, I gotta stand next to this guy? He’s crushing this role. I don’t want to be the weak link here.’ But it was a very nice comforting thing to hear that he was in my corner,” he added.
Both Evans and Downey were given emotional send-offs as Captain America and Iron Man in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. Evans first appeared as the superhero in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, three years after Downey debuted as Iron Man. Evans will next be seen in The Grey Man, a spy thriller directed by the Russo brothers for Netflix.

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