Chris Evans Shares Captain America Training Videos In Anticipation Of Avengers: Infinity War

0 Posted by - April 26, 2018 - Film

Chris Evans, the actor who plays Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, recently confirmed that he will be retiring from the Marvel universe after the fourth Avengers film, currently scheduled to be released in 2019. “You want to get off the train before they push you off,” he told The New York Times last month. 

As the April 27 release date of his penultimate Marvel film, Avengers: Infinity War, inches closer, Evans is clearly starting to feel nostalgic about his last outings as an Avenger, and he’s been tweeting videos of his training for Captain America: Winter Soldier as part of his trip down memory lane:

These brief clips of his training, both alone and with stunt workers, offer a fascinating glimpse into the process of becoming a highly skilled superhuman and superhero on screen:

We here at the AWMA blog are big fans of learning more about the training backgrounds of the Marvel universe’s stars and how it influences their characters and their performances on screen. We’ve been particularly curious about the evolution of Captain America’s combat skills from his debut in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger to 2016’s Civil War. So we figure there’s no better way to prepare for Infinity War than to follow Chris Evans’s lead and take one last look back at the training, philosophy, and performances that went into his portrayal of Captain America.

Before we get into how Chris Evans — with the assistance of his trainer and his stunt double — prepared to become one of the Avengers’ most well-rounded fighters, let’s look at just how varied and deep his skillset is. We tackled this topic back in April, 2016 with the blog post “Mixed Marvel Arts: Charting The Evolution of Captain America’s Combat Skills.” But we also recommend watching this excellent breakdown by YouTube user Gozillarex, who argues that Steve’s background includes extensive training and expertise in a number of martial arts and combat skills including Muay Thai (which is responsible for the Cap’s flying knees), boxing, Krav Maga, Taekwondo, Wushu, pro wrestling, Judo, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Discus throwing also gets a shout out for its likely influence on Captain America’s ability to use his iconic shield as such an effective weapon. 

Evans was no stranger to training for films before The First Avenger. He’d played physically demanding roles in movies like Scott Pilgrim vs The World and had even had a (somewhat less successful) run as a superhero in the 2005 Fantastic Four attempt, where he played The Human Torch. But this particular project took his workouts to an entirely different level. Evans put in two hours a day for three straight months with superstar trainer Simon Waterson (who helped Daniel Craig achieve his famous swimsuit-filling figure for Casino Royale) to get in shape for his debut as Captain America. And he might have been a bit too successful with his gains. Men’s Health reports that the team behind The First Avenger had to use CGI to slim down his appearance a bit. 

“I don’t think my body is supposed to be as big as it got for Captain America…,” he told the magazine. “There was a strain on some joints. After a month and a half of training I found my right shoulder would click and my left pec would hurt. It was an ever-evolving workout, in which we always found ways to work around the parts of me that were sore.”

Since then, Evans appears to have started training smarter rather harder, both for his own well-being as well as for his art. He believed, for instance that Steve would devote himself to continuing his combat training and martial arts studies once he was unfrozen and placed in current time, and his one request to Avengers director Joss Whedon was that Steve’s fight scenes reflect this change. “His fight style needs to advance a little bit. I don’t wanna go full Bruce Lee, but there needs to be more than just haymakers and fun kicks. There needs to be a style of fight. There needs to be a consistent display of strength,” he told Cinema Blend about his request.

Evans and the Russo Brothers continued this consistent development in The Winter Soldier.  “Chris Evans truly had mixed martial arts training for Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier as the fighting techniques he employed in the film were a mixture of parkour, Brazilian jiu jitsu, karate and boxing,” Stitch Kingdom reported in 2014. “The filmmakers believed that bringing Steve Rogers into the modern day also meant that he had studied and mastered modern fighting styles and techniques.” Evans also added some gymnastic lessons to his routine.

One thing he didn’t get to do, though, was fight real life MMA legend Georges St. Pierre during filming. “Most of my fight scenes were not with Chris Evans but his stunt double because I cannot afford to hurt the main actor,” GSP told the UFC about his appearance in the film. “I knew Chris a little bit beforehand. He’s an amazing guy and he helped me a lot; he showed me how to fall properly and to make it appear real.” (For the MMA fans out there, GSP also revealed that it was his idea to add his trademark Superman punch to the fight scene in this interview.)

Stitch Kingdom also offered this interesting insight into the film’s famed elevator scene, preparation for which can be seen in Evans’s tweets above:  “The elevator fight was the first fight sequence shot for the film. It featured Brock Rumlow and ten guys in a crowded elevator with Captain America. The challenge was how much choreography could the filmmakers squeeze into a very small space. Realizing that Steve Rogers would have to be on the defensive, the stunt coordinators let Chris Evans use his hands and feet in close quarters until he gets a bit more room to use his fighting techniques and do some serious damage.”

And here’s the finished product:

While Evans might currently be feeling nostalgic about the training that he’s put into Captain America for almost a decade, he’s also admitted that working out probably won’t be high on the list of things he’ll miss about the character. “To be honest, it’s gonna be nice to not have to go to the gym. It sounds so awful to say it, but you know, I’m 36 and we started these movies what eight years ago, nine years ago, or something like that? So over the years, your body just goes through a little bit of wear and tear not only trying to get in shape for the film, but then the actual filming, a lot of stunt work. You get banged up and you never really wanna completely fall off,” he recently told Buzzfeed.

“When you wrap a film, even though you stop going to the gym, in less than six, seven months, you’re gonna be starting another film so you always kinda gotta keep somewhat of a foundation. I really wouldn’t mind just, not quitting the gym completely, but just kind of readjusting my workout to fit a 36-year-old body and not trying to carry around so much size and just kind of be more functional I suppose. I promise I’ll never let it go completely. I’m not gonna turn into Al Bundy.”

Are you excited about Avengers: Infinity War? What do you think of the Chris Evans training videos? Let us know in the comments!

And check out our online store. We’ve got all of the gear you’ll need to train in all of the martial arts that Captain American has mastered.