From scrawny weakling to muscle mad, that is the transformation that Chris Evans (playing army cadet, Steve Rogers) goes through in just mere seconds. Evans is injected with a serum and sealed in a booth that buffs him up to a size that many in the real world spend years trying to achieve and maintain. But how did the film boffins do it?
Although it looks great for us, for Evans it was a fight for them to do it his way. “They went back and forth on the type of technology they were going to use. Initially, they were just going to do body shrinking, and then they thought, ‘Well, maybe we can get another skinny actor and put Chris’ head on it,’ and I really, really was against that,” he told USA Weekend. “I said to Joe [Johnston, director], “Look, I know we want this to look good and this effect to not be distracting from the film, but it has to be my performance. I don’t want to share this. Your body is a huge piece of the acting puzzle, and I don’t want to have somebody else’s body tell the story that I’m trying to tell.’ So they did some tweaking and they did a bunch of tests and we went back to the initial plan to shrink my body.” The now buff Roger’s was not easy either for Evans, he told USA Weekend, “It was tough. I’ve always been in the gym and worked out and things like that, and I’ve had to get big for other films, but nothing like this. They flew a trainer over from London – I was in Boston working on a film, and we did three months prior to shooting. We were working out every day for just about two hours, sometimes twice a day, and it was just gruelling. I’ve never trained like that in my life.”
The final effect looks great on screen, like in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button it is rare that character’s natural body is manipulated to this scale. In Captain America, it is pulled off so beautifully, you could pass the before and after Steve Rogers’ as two completely new characters. For Evans though it is not the first time he has had a transformation and not the first to star in a comic adaptation, in the Fantastic Four films he plays the Human Torch who’s body bursts into roaring flames and in Scott Pilgram Vs. the World he portrays one of the evil ex’s.
This is Captain America, in cinemas everywhere now.