The actor has starred as Captain America since 2011, but in a recent interview he explained he had rejected the role numerous times because he was suffering from anxiety.
Evans told The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast that he started feeling anxious as his career progressed. “All of a sudden your hobby becomes your job,” he said. “Anxiety comes with that.
“Also, it was during the proliferation of the internet age, where all of a sudden you can read people’s reactions online and your narrative becomes entangled with what was once this pure little ball of joy. It manifested as anxiety and stress, and I’ve got a lot better with it, but at the time it was hard to separate.”
Evans said he especially struggled with his mental health when he was shooting the 2010 film Puncture. “It was the first time I started having mini panic attacks on set,” he said. “They were enough to throw me a bit and enough to make me question if I was on the right path…
“I really started to think, ‘I’m not sure if this [acting] is the right thing for me, I’m not sure if I’m feeling as healthy as I should be feeling.’”
When Marvel invited him to test for the part of Captain America, which would have meant committing to a a nine-film deal, Evans turned the opportunity down because he was worried about the impact it could have on his mental health.
“I went to a few different therapists,” he said. ”My suffering would be my own, that was too much to cope with at the time.”
Evans rejected more opportunities to test, even as the number of required films was reduced to six and the salary offer was increased.
Marvel later offered him the part outright, with no need to test or audition, and Evans finally took the role. “It was the best decision I’ve ever made, and I really owe that to [Marvel chief] Kevin Feige for being persistent and helping me avoid making a giant mistake,” he said.
“To be honest, all the things that I was fearing never really came to fruition.”