Understandably, the search for Captain America wasn’t easy. The character isn’t a representation of America as it is, but instead stands for everything it should be. Finding someone who could portray that ideal onscreen is a tall order. Kevin Feige told The Hollywood Reporter that the studio was determined to cast an American in the role when they began their search. He also said Evans wasn’t initially considered due to his past as Johnny Storm. However, Feige rethought the decision after an unsuccessful search for the hero. He explained:
“We thought, OK, well, he’s that character. Let’s keep looking. And 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 told THR he’d been experiencing panic attacks surrounding acting and was remembering how much he’d wanted to be a Disney animator as a kid. The actor had even begun to wonder if he’d chosen the wrong profession altogether. Evans was struggling so much that he turned Marvel down — twice. He said:
“Getting the [Captain America] 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.”
Not only did Evans turn down the nine-film deal and then the six-film one, but he also felt good about his decision. However, Marvel persisted, now sure they’d found their Cap. Evans eventually agreed, a decision that brought him into therapy — which is a development he’s still grateful for. Seriously, can’t we all benefit from a good therapist? I know I do!