Captain America and Hawkeye on ‘evolving fighting’ on the set of ‘Age of Ultron’
So far, we’ve run our conversations with Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Joss Whedon, and Chris Hemsworth, and next up is the first conversation we had for the day, with none other than Chris Evans.
He was actually the first sign we saw after entering the Shepperton Studios lot that we had crossed into Marvel’s world. A golf car drove by us with Captain America sitting next to the driver in full costume. That’s one of those things that is so surreal that it took us all a moment to register what had just happened, and by that point, they had looped back around to say a formal hello.
When we sat down to talk to Evans, he joined us in the shadow of the Quinjet, a full-size set that was pretty much completely immersive when you stepped inside. Evans is always one of the most no-nonsense and direct guys you can talk to on a set, and this was no exception:
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How much is Cap reeling from the events of the Winter Solider when we meet him here?
You know, he’s adjusting. The team doesn’t have anyone to report to now. There’s no more SHIELD, so we’re all kind of depending upon one another. That gives him an opportunity to kind of take more of a leadership role, I suppose. Since there’s no one else giving him orders, he doesn’t have to question the chain of command or anyone’s motives. But it does mean he needs to rely on his team a lot more, so it’s added a little bit more tension to the actual dynamic of the Avengers. But, you know, with these movies it’s hard to dive too deeply into any one character’s plotline, you know what I mean? That’s just the nature of how these moves are gonna have to work. Do your movie and then you come to “Avengers” and then we all gotta address a group conflict and then go back to your conflict. It’s just there are too many plots, too many characters to try and spend too much time with your own individual conflict.
At the end of “The Winter Solider,” you are starting your own mission. When you enter into this film, do we see you on that mission?
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I can’t tell you that.
How has the group dynamic evolved and how are the relationships developing?
I don’t think I can tell you that, either. These are tough to give because you don’t wanna give too many plot points away. I can see headlines now plastered everywhere and I’d get a little talking to.
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We are embargoed for quite a while so you can tell us everything.
Oh, you are? Okay, then. We’re all… everyone has their own personal… The Scarlet Witch… what can I tell you? She has a way of making each of us… she gets in your head. That’s her ability, so each one is confronted with their own personal issues and demons, and that creates personal struggles as well as conflicts for the team. I don’t wanna dive too deeply into each person’s individual conflict but it’s… it’s tense.
This is your fourth film playing Captain America. How comfortable are you with the character and what ownership have you taken with who Captain America is?
Very comfortable. You know, the first movie you’re terrified. The second one, you’re intimidated because there are so many great people, but by “Captain America 2,” you really start hitting your stride and feeling like you’re making some core progress with the character. You get a little more comfortable speaking up when you have opinions. The Russos are great and I love that movie, and it all just worked out in terms of the evolution of my personal connection with the character. So at this point, I’m feeling really good and again, like I said, it’s hard to give too much individual attention to your own plotline in a movie like this. They still give you hurdles to jump, but it’s almost kind of… I’m very excited for “Cap 3.”
Is there carry-over from the relationship that you and Scarlett have in “Winter Solider,” which is so funny and casual?
You know, they, they do really good stuff with Scarlett in this one with her personal stories. The bond is definitely there, and in “Cap 2,” we established it. We’re not gonna keep beating on that one. It’s built. It’s there. It’s solid. The foundation is there. This movie begins with a connection between the two of us, but she has her own arc in this movie.
Do we get the impression in this movie that they have gotten together in-between the two movies at all, or do the Avengers only come together for these big events?
Meaning does it seem like the main Avengers characters have had other battles in-between?
Have they done anything in-between the first Avengers movie and this one?
They do a good job ‘cause, you know, the movie’s only a couple of hours long. You got a lot of people to fit in there, so you don’t wanna… we really hit the ground running with this movie. The opening scene is, you know, BOOM, so we don’t wanna be like, “What have you been up to?” So you hit the ground and then you kind of pepper in dialogue like, “Man, those past couple of years have been crazy, haven’t they?” That’s in no way a cheat. That’s for the audience, to say, “You don’t wanna waste your time having reunion moments. You just wanna get these guys fighting together. Everything that Marvel does, it’s a chess move. Nothing is by accident. Everything is calculated, so sometimes there are things that even I find out, and I’m like, “That’s why you did that? You guys. You sons of bitches.”
Was there anything you talked to Joss about before you started on this that you wanted to make sure was included?
In terms of the character, Joss got it right with the first and Captain America and not only that, but he’s a fanboy, you know what I mean? He’s loved comic books so it’s not like you’re talking to someone who might not have a handle on what audiences want or who this character is at his core. The only thing I talked to him about was his ability consistency. With the second Captain America, we really pushed the envelope in terms of what this guy is capable of, which I was excited to see ‘cause, you know, in the first “Captain America,” he’s just strong. In “Avengers,” it was still, in my opinion, a little bit too punch, punch, kick, kick. It’s fine but, you know, you just can’t be Jason Bourne. We gotta see this guy do stuff that’s like, yeah, he deserves a spot on this squad. In “Cap 2,” he’s pinballing off of jets and doing unbelievable things. I don’t wanna take a step back, so we gotta make sure that the scenes show that he’s continued training. His fight style needs to advance a little bit. I don’t wanna go full Bruce Lee, but there needs to be more than just haymakers and, you know, front kicks. There needs to be a style of fight. There needs to be a consistent display of strength, and he should, you know, utilize your environment in a way that’s like, “Oh, that’s right, he can pick up a motorcycle with one hand.” Let’s not forget that so that I can get punched by a human and get knocked down. It just doesn’t make sense to me. That’s a tough thing to manage, to try to remember. You know, even in “Avengers,” I punched a heavy bag across a room. If I hit a person, he’s not getting back up. It’s just the way it’s gonna go, so we can’t do this any other way. That’s it. Just trying to keep your finger on that pulse, and it’s tricky with all these characters.
What is Cap’s role in bringing these guys back together again?
Well, it’s not that he’s sounding the alarm. It’s out of necessity. Once SHIELD fell, this affected everybody and…
(Evans looks over at the Marvel guys, watching them carefully as he speaks.)
I don’t know how much I could or even should say, but there is something that affects all of us that requires us all to come back together and fight as a unit. Cap’s more than willing to take a leadership role. You know, he’s been in wars. He understands the dynamic of a team. He’s not doing it out of arrogance or ego. He’s doing it out of necessity and functionality.
Who is your favorite Avengers other than yourself now that you’re on your second adventure together?
Who’s my favorite Avenger? That’s so tough. I, I wouldn’t… I’d put myself at the bottom of the list honestly. As a man, as people… I’d take Steve Rogers. As an Avenger? Come on, I don’t know. I really think Thor is pretty cool. I really like Iron Man just ‘cause, you know, I can’t get enough of Downey. Every single line he gives is so good. It’s really crazy watching him work if you ever get a chance. You’re just like, “God, I can see why this guy gave birth to this.” We wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for Downey and what he did with the first “Iron Man.” Ruffalo? Everything the guy does is just so interesting and unique. Such a good choice. You know, I’d be the first to admit it… if you had asked me who’s gonna play the next Hulk, I don’t know if he would have been on a lot of people’s radar, and yet I can’t picture anybody else now but him. He’s perfect. I don’t know. Everyone’s so great. Paul Bettany, man…. we just had our first scene with him. He’s so good. He’s so good. He’s so good. He is. You’re gonna love him. He’s gonna be amazing.
What have the other newcomers brought to the table?
It’s gotta be tough coming in, you know, being the new kid in the playground. People have done these movies as a group and in their individual franchises. Come in and try to not mess with the formula. But everyone’s so talented and professional. I don’t know what you wanna call it, but it just feels right, you know? When we’re sitting there yesterday having a scene with Paul, with Aaron, with Lizzy and it’s like, “You guys weren’t in the first ‘Avengers’? No, shit, you weren’t.” It just feels, it just feels right. It feels normal, and they’re all so cool and so good and every couple of days, Joss will show little clips of what these abilities are gonna look like and how Lizzy’s gonna see things. They’re gonna do so many cool things and everyone is just… y’know, I’ve never been a part of a movie where everyone just gets along so well, so consistently, and even when you add new people in, the dynamic doesn’t shift at all. I don’t know. I don’t know how it’s working, but I’m just happy to be a part of it.
Is there a sense, now that you’re back on set with this team and this director, that you’ve done this before? Do you feel more confident?
A little bit. In a weird way, it feels like you never really left. When it’s your movie, there’s this weight and pressure and involvement you’re in. Every single day, you’re in every single scene and it’s, uh, it’s a lot. This movie is just fun. it’s like summer camp or something. There’s still a responsibility and everyone is still wildly committed and professional about it, but there is something about saying, “We’re in this together. We’re all locking arms, you know, and we’re all a team. In sync. It feels a lot safer in a way.
Have there been a lot of script changes since you got on set?
Oh, yeah. Oh, my god. Joss. Like, before you shoot, he’s like, “Here are nine new pages.” Joss. All right. Okay. It’s not major plot changes but just sometimes dialogue shifts. Sometimes, I don’t know whether it’s that there are a lot of voices and opinions coming down, or if Joss just wakes up with a brain that can’t sit still and has a better idea and a better exchange and everything is good. Nothing is bad. It never goes. It never gets worse. Everything is like, “Man, the guy just leaks clever repertoire.” Every single scene is… even on the day and in the moment, he can be, “I don’t know if I like this.” And he’ll think for thirty seconds and come up with some brilliant exchange. God, this guy’s just good. This guy’s good at this. So there are enormous amounts of changes but nothing that really, you know, shakes the earth.