Actor Chris Evans has said that being cast as the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four movies meant a lot to him, as he’d “just been dumped.” The actor played the superhero in two Fantastic Four films, before going on to play Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“That was back when the superhero thing was just taking off,” Evans said on THR’s podcast. “For the most part, this was right on the heels of the Spider-Man with Tobey Maguire and the X-Men, so the superhero thing was just taking off. You try to remember the moments in your life when you get those phone calls to get a job and I’m ashamed to admit that I can’t always remember getting those calls but that one I remember. There was a lot of other personal things. I think I had just been dumped. I needed a win. I remember getting that phone call and just thinking, ‘Aw, yes!’ It was really a role that I enjoyed, it was the best paycheck I had ever gotten. It felt like a little bit of a corner had been turned and maybe I could parlay this into something else.” Both Fantastic Four films received poor reviews and were only moderately successful at the box office.
Marvel president Kevin Feige had said in an interview that Evans having played a superhero already came in the way of him being cast as Captain America. He told the Hollywood Reporter, “We thought, OK, well, he’s that character. Let’s keep looking.”
Feige said that they rationalised Evans’ casting by reminding themselves that it wasn’t unusual for stars to lead multiple franchises simultaneously. He said, “As we (continued) not finding people, we went back to the initial lists. And that brought us back to Chris. And I thought, well, Patrick Stewart played Jean-Luc Picard and Charles Xavier. Harrison Ford played Han Solo and Indiana Jones. Who cares?”
Evans has said that he turned down the Captain America offer not once, but twice. He told the Hollywood Reporter, “Getting the offer felt to me like the epitome of temptation. The ultimate job offer, on the biggest scale. I’m supposed to say no to this thing. It felt like the right thing to do. You see the pictures, and you see the costumes, and it’s cool. But I’d now woken up the day after saying no and felt good, twice.”
The actor played Captain America from 2011 to 2019, when the character was retired at the end of Avengers: Endgame. Evans most recently appeared in the Apple TV+ series, Defending Jacob.
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