‘Captain America’: Chris Evans’ Mom Convinced Him to Take Marvel’s Iconic Steve Rogers Role

The last time audiences saw Chris Evans, people were making a big deal out of the very cozy-looking sweater he wore in the whodunit Knives Out, which turned out to be a refreshing stepping stone out from the long shadow of Steve Rogers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Still, that part of him will always loom large in Evans’ life and Evans knows this well, especially since it was Evans’ own mother who helped convince him to join the MCU when he was prevaricating.

What did Chris Evans do before the MCU?

Chris Evans at the 'Avengers: Endgame' world premiere
Chris Evans at the ‘Avengers: Endgame’ world premiere | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Evans gave an in-depth interview to Esquire magazine, where he and his mother, Lisa, spoke about what drove Evans to pick up performing. The bug bit hard when Evans was in high school, his mom said. 

“The director of the drama program made the kids do Shakespeare and Dario Fo and Pirandello. Chris loved it. Even at that young age, you could tell he understood what he was reading. He would portray a character in a way that might be a little different than what you might expect. Just very interesting choices,” she said. 

His early credits didn’t seem to move the needle much on his career. One of his early gigs was the movie The Perfect Score, featuring future Marvel castmate-to-be Scarlett Johansson. Then came the actual heroics when he played Johnny Storm in Fox’s two Fantastic Four movies. 

How did Chris Evans’ mom influence his MCU decision?

Evans’ work in those movies was praised as one of the better aspects of fairly ordinary adventures, but because he had already been down that road, he wasn’t eager to repeat himself. So when Marvel Studios approached Evans about playing the star-spangled man, he resisted.

He knew even then there would be no turning back from that sort of fame, provided it all worked out. So he asked his mom about it. 

“I said to him, ‘Look, you want to do acting work for the rest of your life? If you do this part, you will have the opportunity,” revealed the star’s mom. “You’ll never have to worry about paying the rent. If you take the part, you just have to decide, It’s not going to affect my life negatively—it will enable it.’ ”

It’s essentially what happened with George Clooney when he made Batman and Robin. As Business Insider noted, that movie was derided when it was released in 1997, and that made Clooney shy away from jobs primarily for the big payday.  So from that point on, he only took projects he really wanted to do. Evans, too, looks for that kind of freedom.

What is Chris Evans doing now? 

Having proven definitively that he didn’t need to have a shield to be in a hit movie with Knives Out, Evans is relishing having something like a regular schedule working on Defending Jacob, an Apple TV+ show. Evans plays a prosecuting attorney whose son is accused of a grisly murder, and that forces Evans’ character to confront his own past — something Evans wants not to do as much for himself in real life. 

Case in point: Being compared to Clooney by the interviewer wasn’t exactly a correct projection of the actor’s future. 

“I don’t have some huge plan in terms of what my goals are. I just kind of wake up and follow my appetite. I’m at a point in my life now where I have the very, very fortunate luxury of pursuing what I want to do. And I don’t corrupt that process by thinking about how other people see me,” he said.