In advance of Avengers: Endgame, Chris Evans is covering The Hollywood Reporter in a profile he jokes is his “last cover interview”. He says it as a joke about his looming post-Marvel career, but this is his last run of magazine interviews as Captain America. No, he’s not retiring, which he reiterates in this interview, but he is done playing Cap. He’s been talking about being done playing Cap since the second Captain America movie, and as many times as he’s walked it back, I think he actually is done playing Cap this time. If he sticks around Marvel in any capacity, it will be one in which he isn’t required to maintain the Cap Physique (his arms are “thick as thighs” writer Alex Pappademas notes, and his legs are skinny as toothpicks—the Cap Physique has never required leg day). Evans has talked about moving on from Marvel for a long time—those retirement rumors didn’t come from nowhere, dude—and he is finally approaching an end point.
This interview is all about this turning point Evans is approaching. During this decade he’s gone from “Captain America? If you say so” to “Cap Twitter-punches Nazis!”. He has evolved into Cap, his politics and willingness to stand up to bullies—at least on Twitter—echoing Captain America’s Hitler-punching debut. This whole profile is a very good look for Evans, but honestly, politics is where he is most relatable. Of Tom Brady he says, “I really hope he’s not a Trump supporter. I’m just hoping he’s one of those guys that maybe supported him and now regrets it. Maybe he thought it was going to be different—and even that bothers me—but maybe there’s a chance now he just thinks Trump’s an absolute dumb sh-t, which he is. If he doesn’t, if he’s still on that Trump train, I might have to cut ties. It’s really tough. I think maybe a couple of years ago […] I might have tried to pull some, like, mental gymnastics to compartmentalize, but I don’t know if I can anymore. So I’m just hoping he’s woken up.”
How many of us feel this way about co-workers, friends, even family? He completely articulated how I feel about an unfortunately large number of people in my life—I’m just hoping they’ve woken up. Politics is often seen as a third rail for celebrities—which is mentioned in this interview—but Evans has become a superstar because he IS political, because he is outspoken and does not retreat from the conversation. (The “third rail” myth is also somewhat dispelled by Brie Larson and Captain Marvel, which is blazing its way to $1 billion.) Being politically active is the second-best thing to happen to Chris Evans’ career (the best thing is Marvel).
They don’t really get into the gossip, but his romantic life gets thrown into the equation. Jenny Slate comes up, and I am wondering about this line from Evans: “If I’m with someone who just kind of adopts my life, that can feel a bit suffocating.” Is that shade being thrown at Jenny Slate? I hope not, because she was tremendously good for him. Not only did she get him to read The Mother of All Questions, but dating a normal-nerdy girl made him seem attainable in a way that NEVER hurts a celebrity’s profile. So I really, really hope that’s not shade because he better recognize how good that relationship was for his public perception.
It will be interesting to see what Chris Evans does, post-Marvel. He has a bunch of adult-oriented dramatic work lined up, including a series for Apple TV+, even though he looked hella bored at the big unveiling. He wants to direct again, and another good look for him is acknowledging his directorial debut, Before We Go, is not a masterpiece. My question is if Evans can maintain Top Chris status without the Captain America alter-ego. So much of his popularity stems from the way in which his public persona echoes Captain America, especially in a time when we need those true-north heroes because the world is on fire and everything is awful. What happens when he doesn’t have that to fall back on? Is he still Top Chris, or does a new Chris emerge?