Chris Evans On Balancing Movie & Comic Versions of ‘Captain America’

Published 4 years ago by

Captain America steve rogers peggy carter 570x379 Chris Evans On Balancing Movie & Comic Versions of Captain America

When the Captain America: The First Avenger TV trailer aired during the 2011 Super Bowl, even some of the more skeptical fans did a 180° turn and started to believe that Chris Evans, the man who brought Johnny Storm to life in the Fantastic Four movies, might actually pull off a pretty convincing onscreen version of Captain America/Steve Rogers.

For our part, we had already started to believe in Evans when official Captain America images started hitting the Web. The actor had clearly shed his funny-man persona from films like The Losers and was seemingly ready to deliver a serious and respectable portrayal of one of the most revered and iconic heroes around.

However, by now we know just how fickle – if not downright brutal – comic book geeks can be when it comes to the onscreen adaptations of their favorite characters. Every new image, poster, trailer, set photo, piece of concept art and interview quote gets scrutinized down to the very last letter and/or pixel, and fanboy reactions to these promotional materials tend to range from strong to rabid.

So while there have been a lot of new additions to “Team Evans” in the last few months, not everyone is yet sold on Chris playing Cap, nor are they sold on director Joe Johnston (The Rocketeer) and Marvel Studios being able to do Cap justice on the big screen.

Evans is all-too-aware of the tidal wave of fan opinion he and his movie are up against, and in talking with Total Film, the actor addressed the precarious balancing act of bringing Cap from the page to the screen intact, while still being able to inject something fresh and new into the character’s movie counterpart:

“It’s important, you know at the end of the day we are doing this for the fans. And if they’re not happy, we’ve missed the mark…You go in and do as much research as you can from the comic books, but you’re also trying to make something your own. This is an origin story.”

“I think a lot of the comic books deal with after he’s become Captain America, so to some degree we had to take some liberties. But you want to make sure you’ve done your homework….You want the character to be the icon, but if you reduce him to a red, white and blue outfit it makes him shallow.”

“It wasn’t until we got our hands dirty with the script and had a good couple of scenes in the can, that I thought, ‘Man, I think I’m actually getting this guy.’ I feel like the character now, much more than a shield or a mask.”

It’s an ongoing debate we see here amongst our Screen Rant readers: Where do you draw the line between faithfulness to the source material and ‘taking liberties’ for the sake of a blockbuster movie?  I know some fans will read into Evans’ quote about ‘having to take some liberties’ and start on a long furious rant…but what else would you expect from the “Screen Rant” comment section ;-).

For my part, I’m all for filmmakers breaking away from the (literal) boxes of comic book pages – so long as they always preserve the core essence of the character(s) they’re working with. I’m not mad at Matthew Vaughn (yet) for changing up the canonized history of the X-Men for his approach to First Class – nor am I raging that Marc Webb is using a new costume design for The Amazing Spider-Man.

captain america first avenger movie trailer Chris Evans On Balancing Movie & Comic Versions of Captain America

I don’t see the point of using film to simply imitate what is offered by a comic book; if I wanted to immersed in the exact same world I read about on the page, I would simply pay for a new comic book issue, not a movie ticket. When I go to see comic book movies, I expect to see a film that takes the best of comic books and expands upon it in the way only movies can. But that’s just me.

Captain America: The First Avenger will deploy in theaters on July 22nd.

Source: Total Film

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  1. Like any character you have to add a little personality to compliment what we already know about them from the comics. This movie is going to do the character justice.

  2. That last paragraph sounds like where the All-Star Superman animated movie missed the mark. On the flip side, “taking liberties” is probably scary to fans because some seemingly minor detail that the filmmaker sees as expendable or unimportant could turn into that whole Han Solo/Greedo Star Wars debacle. Movie looks good, though. I’m not worried.

    • Han Solo/Greedo debacle?

      • Han shot first in the original version of ANH, but Lucas changed that to where Greedo shot, then Han. That pissed off a lot of the fans.

        • Gotcha. Thought it was refering to Greedo being shot then reappearing a scene later with Jabba the Hut and the exact same conversation takes place.

        • Was he trying to convince people that Han was the kind of guy that’d give a sucker an even break? If that what he thinks, then I don’t think he understood Han’s character.

          Mind you, I’m not sure that Lucas knows what a character is anyway… or maybe he does. Characters are those units that provide a few lines of dialogue (not that he knows much about that either) between flashy special effects. If only he could replace characters with robots.

  3. cant wait

    • me2 =)

  4. two thoughts here….

    1st. in response to your last paragraph. I agree completely!!! People are always upset about things not playing out exactly as they do in the comics. Let me start off by saying I love comics… but I don’t want to go into a movie knowing it will end exactly like the comic. That would be a huge spoiler wouldn’t it? do you really want to know exactly how Spider-man beats Green Goblin before watching the film? Or how Wolverine could possibly take down Phoenix? (spoiler alert… He couldn’t. lol )

    my 2nd thought is this… How much are they really going to be able to elaborate on his character before the transformation to Captain America? I’m sure they shot some footage before he got ripped… and I have seen the images where they superimposed his head on some scrawny guys body. but those are just a couple quick shots. and yes… he is shirtless in those shots… but you can’t just hide that frame he has now under regular clothes for any kind of extended pre-Super soldier formula scenes.

    • Ironically, people seem to like comic-book “adaptations” to films, which are basically rehashes of reinterpretations.

      But certain things SHOULD end like the comics. I mean, we KNOW Steve turns into Captain America but maybe directors should consider instead the possibility that he turns into a monster… right? As far as you, and other canon-libertarians are concerned, a twist such as the Red Skull being the hero of the story would be alright, because it be something new… right?

      And Wolverine has very well near beaten the Pheonix in the past (future?). Yeah, sure, Jean wanted to be beaten (technicallity) but still.

      And the fact that we KNEW Spider-man beats Goblin, and that at some point he has to choose between woman he loves and saving a gaggle of innocents, is enough to keep it canonical, IMO. But that the woman is MJ and not Stacy, and that she survived, isn’t a bad twist.

  5. you know , thats not a perfect Steve Rogers haircut in that clip,
    But, its pretty close.

  6. Well, I guess I have to disagree with you on the comic issue, Kofi..

    The reason I would see a comic story on film is because I want to see the panels realized in living color. I want to see a movie made of the story I love. Ultimately this has never happened but it is what drives me to go!

    I have loved all of the Marvel movies made but only because I have acquired extreme distance from the comics.. if I am too close to them, as I was in Spider-Man, it is sooo easy to be critical!

    • i beg to differ. zach snyder did a wonderful job with the watchmen.

  7. I completely understand wanting the panels in living color on the screen, but it’s impossible. Literally. Also, it would be asking for the writers and creators of these characters to do the acting, because each character is a piece of it’s creator IMO. Love this article btw!

    • @Marc Isn’t that the essence of movie-making?.. a team working together to create a likeness of the original thought, story, character? Sadly, the easy way out is often taken.. but I blame producers in this, like the one that wanted to turn the original version of The Crow into a musical.

      But, yes, while in some stories it would be impossible I concur with you, there is nothing wrong in striving to approach that goal!

      I am confident that Chris will make a good Cap.. Evans might have had a successful comedic role but he was serious enough in Push and Sunshine. I was more worried about Red Skull’s make-up but so far it looks good to me.

  8. The “Taking Liberties” part does not bother me at all, you would have to be pretty ignorant to think adapting something into a movie could be done without doing so.

    What i love is him saying they are basically doing this for the fans. It may be lip service but its far better than the uncharted interview where gamers were told they dont matter and they have to make a movie for everyone else.

  9. I don’t mind what approach filmmakers take, as long as the character itself essentially is the character I know from the comics, and the background and history remains somewhat faithful (in a realistic way) as well.

    Iron Man is a perfect example of this. The Vietnam War is now a distant memory so they had to change the setting of Iron Man’s origin to Afghanistan. And it worked perfectly because Iron Man was always intended to be a modern man and an up-to-date technological wizard.

    Captain America on the other hand, has always been a relic of WWII and written that way. Being a modern Ice Man has added to his mythology and made him a much more interesting character, one that makes his own story even more dynamic as he’s essentially a time-lost warrior and patriot.

    In that sense, I feel they’re taking a very intelligent approach to this movie (Chris Evans certainly seems to care, at least) and I have a feeling I will be more than happy with the results.

    • I agree with most of this, up to the end (and maybe including it). The end part is what worries me if they make Steve a dancing, prancing, Chris Evans fool…

      Don’t get me wrong. I like Chris and believe he could be a Steve Rogers, but it is SO EASY for comedians to slip back into old characters. And, while I liked him in The Losers, we’ve seen enough of Green Lantern and Ryan Reynolds to believe that some people just can’t peel away the humor to fnd more serious characters. And, Green Lantern not being the worst of those, GREEN HORNET tops it by leaps and bounds in forgetting about subtlety in humor!

      • There is no comedy in Sunshine or London, he is not a full comedic actor. He just happens to pull off funny well, at least IMHO.

        • I’ll have to see those two. He’s been mostly comedic, but I have high hopes that HE can pull off as serious a Cap as has to be. Doesn’t mean that Steve Rogers can’t have a smidge of humor either, but it seems that he’s a man intent on defending the US through thick or thin, muscled or not, and he’s a bonafide soldier.

          I just don’t want direction to be the downfall of what could be a potentially star elevating vehicle for Chris, as if he needed to be elevated any more! :)

          • Oh and I forgot Street Kings, watch them, he is far from comedic in those. But if you want to see a soldier attitude it is definitely in Sunshine.

  10. Sure there is the possibility that directors and movies will take liberty with the given sources, but there should be a limit to that hubris! Where the Cap is concerned, I don’t know if this is still in the movie, but there were talks about Cap being part of USO performances and what not. Give him a love interest he meets years later after being cryogenically frozen by the gov’t or have Bucky be a girl, but DON’T have Steve Rogers dancing and prancing around in a joke of a Cap A costume!

    As for 1st Class, sure you can have mutants we’ve never heard of, but to screw with continuity so much, such as Frost being older than the Prof by the time everything is sorted out is wrong! Havoc MUST NOT be Slim’s bro, but give us a Summers ancestor, and his existence should be fine. And by all means have a young Mystique there, because she’s as old as Logan with similar mutant anti-aging genes! But why introduce such new comic book characters to the film U, when there are enough mutations to combine and give a new identity to? Pixie’s presence in the movie is just… lame. And don’t even get me started on Beast apparently already reaching his second mutation BEFORE the original 5 are even part of a team!

    Smallville has been able to take liberties successfully and NOT, taking probably the most flak on the Jimmy Olsen stupidity, and most successful in the Chloe Sullivan Intro into the DC U. And Superman Returns just screwed the pooch… everywhere! Why not learn from those successes and mistakes?

    • The X Men First Class argument is getting tired now, it is the First Class version of the original 3 movies, it is a prequel to those films which messed with continuity anyway.

      • But not as much as FC will have when all is said and done. It’s screwing with the continuity of even those timelines set by those movies, so how can it be defended as “the First Class version of the original 3 movies, it is a prequel to those films”? And because those films screwed things up, they should continue to screw the timelines up even more?

        Hey, I was one of the first among my peers to point out all that X3 crapped on as far as timelines go. The other two were a bit more bearable as far as taking liberties is concerned. So, why exactly is the argument “tired”? Who labeled it as such? You?

        That argument won’t be tired until movie makers respect the Source, whether it’s the comic books, previous movie canon, or just plain logic. And this won’t happen until viewers stop being so lax about this.

  11. @”I don’t see the point of using film to simply imitate what is offered by a comic book; if I wanted to immersed in the exact same world I read about on the page, I would simply pay for a new comic book issue, not a movie ticket.”

    Exacty! The film version just needs to be viewed as an alternate reality of sorts for the comic book universe. I’m not much of a comic book reader, but hasn’t that happened MANY times in the comics?

    • Maybe moviemakers should stop taking any parts of the comic book universe as source material in the first place. Why don’t they just come up with their own material and take as many liberties with that as they want. Then we’d all be satisfied with original material that doesn’t desecrate any other material.

  12. Kofi the difference between films changing details about the stories and Xmen FC is that most other films create an original story with characters you love. First Class is creating a semi original story with characters you don’t love and if your not a comic reader than ones you’ve never even heard of.

    I don’t mind changing the story I mind changing the characters. Xmen first Class is like having a Captain America movie about Antman or calling your movie Iron man and have it star The Wasp.

    • Not really because all the characters in FC were X-Men at some point in the books. I agree its a weird take on the franchise but I am hoping this FC movie is a prequell to Singers 2 X-Men movies. Then it would make a little more sense.

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