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'Winter' will take us by storm
A talk with Chris Evans on the set of 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'

By Don Kaye

In "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) struggles to acclimate himself to life in modern America and his role as S.H.I.E.L.D.'s resident superhero in the wake of the events of "The Avengers." But as dark forces emerge from within the agency, as well as from Cap's past, that threaten to destroy both him and S.H.I.E.L.D. itself,  he must turn to the mysterious Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and new ally Sam Wilson/The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) in order to save everything that he stands for.

MSN Movies had a chance last summer to visit the set of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," and sit down with other outlets for a lengthy talk with Chris Evans about the new movie, his new costume, the Marvel Cinematic Universe and why he's glad he didn't turn down the role of Cap when it was first offered to him. Here is an edited version of that talk (in which Evans had to be careful about discussing some aspects of the plot):

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MSN Movies: Tell us how you like the new suit?

Chris Evans: I do like the new suit a lot. I can tell you that I think a lot of people like the old suit as well, after "Avengers." Not to say nothing bad about the "Avengers" suit. The "Avengers" suit was wildly comfortable, but I think a lot of people enjoyed the old suit. I think a lot of people enjoyed the World War II aspect of the first movie. There was something about that I think people liked.

Are you glad that your ears are getting some air?

Well, they're not getting as much. They get some air on the new suit. I've always liked the ears inside. I always thought I kind of had big Dumbo ears. Whenever they tried out the helmet with the ears out, I was like, "Please don't make me do this. I look so silly," but they did some really good things. They helped -- it looks a lot better. The new suit does have the ears out, and it actually looks okay. I was like, okay. I can live with this.

'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'/Walt Disney Pictures
'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'/Walt Disney Pictures

Where we find Cap when the movie begins? He's been around in the present for a while now, so he's somewhat acclimated. Does he feel pretty comfortable?

Well, he feels comfortable within the structure that he's given. He likes to serve. He likes to take orders. He's like a herding dog. He needs a task. And I think the issue in the first two, "Captain America" and "The Avengers" -- well, "Captain America" was about giving him the opportunity. Then he got the opportunity, and then he was thrust into a different world. And in "Avengers," there were so many characters, it's tough to kind of spend too much with any one. And on this one, it's about him trying to not just acclimate to the modern world, but it's always been Cap's goal to do what's right and to be of service, to help where he can. In this movie, I think the question is, well, what is right? I think it was a lot easier in the '40s to know who the evil was. There's no disputing Nazis are bad. And now, it becomes a little bit more of a difficult answers. There's a lot more of a grey area. What is the right thing? And are you of service to that cause? That's where it becomes a tricky dispute for Cap because things were just done differently in the '40s. Threats are different now, and precautionary measures are taken now, can be questionable and somewhat suspect in his eyes. So it's a tough hurdle for him to jump.

In this film you get some new relationships and you get to build on a lot of old relationships. What direction do you think those relationships with Natasha and Sam take the character in?

Well, I think it's brought in more of a human direction. Cap's such a good guy, it's hard for him to bleed. Not just literally, but figuratively, you know what I mean? He doesn't want to burden anyone with his struggles, and unfortunately, that's what makes characters dynamic and interesting. So any way we can push him in more of a human direction where he does show weakness, and he does struggle, and he does connect with people and show vulnerability, I think that grounds him a little built. It just makes him more interesting.  (That goes for) all the relationships, especially with Natasha and with Sam. Even though we do have the Winter Soldier, for the meat of the film, the majority of the film, the connections that he makes, I think, that really bring him to life are with Natasha and Sam.

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At the junket for the first "Captain America" film, you talked about how it was a big decision for you to commit to this character and the amount of films you'd be making. So three movies in, how do you feel about that and your relationship with Marvel?

I feel really good. I'd really be kicking myself if I hadn't done this. Oh my God. Man, I'd be kicking myself. It was just a matter of adjusting to lifestyle changes. My team told me this in the beginning because they knew I was apprehensive too. They said it comes in waves. You've got to respect the fact that when the movie comes out, there's going to be a surge. And there's going to be some changes, but then it's going to go away. It's going to die back down, just like any type of actor. When a movie comes out, you get a little bit more of a spotlight on it. And then, when it goes away -- you can monitor it. It's not like once these movies are out, your life is forfeit, and you can't have any more control. So you've just got to take those periods of time in stride, and it will pass. And it will die down eventually, and things will go back to a relative level of normalcy.

Aside from that, I love doing these movies because they're good. It's been one of the tricky things in my career. I'm sure you've seen some of my not so good movies. And it's disappointing when you put a lot of time and effort and sweat. When you see the movie, you're like, "That is not what I read. And that is not what I wanted to be a part of, and it's a real disappointment." ...I've begun to just put my trust in Kevin Feige and all the guys at Marvel. They're so good at what they do. Their internal barometer of what is good and bad is pretty on point. Not just from the standpoint of the movie, but in the marketing and the trailers and the wardrobe. It's just going to look right. It's scary diving into such a big endeavor. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work on a massive scale. But you feel a little bit more comfort in that you trust the people that are making these movies, and that's what acting's about, trust. If you don't trust someone, every single take, you're going to be holding back, and it's nice to let go.

'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'/Walt Disney Pictures
'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'/Walt Disney Pictures

The Russo brothers (directors) characterized this as having a different tone than the first movie. How does that change in tone affect Captain America? And is there more of that identity crisis that other super heroes have gone through?

Well, he is a really human super hero. He doesn't shoot lightning. He doesn't fly. It's very meat and potatoes type powers. So I think it's only appropriate that the tone and the theme fits more of a human element. It does have kind of a very grounded political thriller tone to it, and I think that just goes hand in hand with the character. It just works. They're also trying to infuse much more human conflict that doesn't necessarily have to do with fighting monsters and doing giant stunts. It's just about him coping with moral issues about right and wrong and good and bad. That's stuff we can all relate to.

In "The Avengers," there was that seed of distrust planted about S.H.I.E.L.D. Does that get expanded on in terms of your relationship with Nick Fury and with S.H.I.E.L.D.?

It certainly does. Now, am I in trouble now? I'm just going to say -- you said I could say all this s**t. I mean, that's no secret. That's what it is. I mean, it's coming out now in America. How much can we monitor internet use and phone records and text messages? Where do you draw the line? Is it okay to spy on someone before they've committed a crime? Do you take the world as it is, or as you like it to be? And it's a tricky question, and I think Cap comes from a time where there was a little more trust and a little less access. I can go on the internet right now and learn how to make a bomb. You couldn't do that in the 40s. You didn't have to worry about it, but now you do. And where's that line? It's a tricky conversation for me, right now, and I was born in this era. I can't imagine coming from a different place, swallowing the pill of, where society has gone.

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