Chris Evans almost turned down ‘Captain America’ over panic attacksMay 26, 2020
Even superheroes can suffer from anxiety.
While he might seem like a paragon of confidence on screen, “Captain America” actor Chris Evans reportedly rejected the star-making role several times due to debilitating panic attacks.
“All of a sudden your hobby becomes your job,” Evans, 38, told the Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter Podcast of struggling to cope with his meteoric rise. “Anxiety comes with that.”
As a result, the “Avengers” star repeatedly turned down the opportunity to try out for the part of Steve Rogers in 2011’s “Captain America: The First Avenger,” despite a proposed salary increase and an offer to cut his daunting nine-film contract to six flicks.
“My suffering would be my own,” lamented Evans, who worried that the prominent movie role would cause his anxiety to spike. He also feared how he would be viewed on social media as it was “during the proliferation of the internet age where all of a sudden you can read people’s reactions online,” says Evans.
Captain America’s battles with anxiety reportedly began in 2010 while shooting indie film “Puncture.”
“It was the first time I started having mini panic attacks on set,” Evans recalls, adding that he wasn’t sure if “this [acting] is the right thing for me.”
Despite his repeated rejections, Marvel offered him the role of the star-spangled superhero outright, which Evans finally accepted. He changed his tune after consulting Avengers co-star Robert Downey Jr, a therapist and several family friends, who told him not to make decisions based on fear.
“It was the best decision I’ve ever made,” said Evans, who also played Johnny Storm, aka Human Torch, in Marvel’s critically-panned 2005 flick “Fantastic Four” and its sequel in 2007, “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.”
And he was able to conquer the panic attacks before they became an issue.
“To be honest,” he said, “all the things that I was fearing never really came to fruition.”
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