Chris Evans of "Puncture"

"It's nice to take a role that doesn't require me to be in the gym every minute of the day. Sort of."

Captain America is tired.

At least, that's how Chris Evans (star of "Captain America," “What’s Your Number?,” next year’s superhero extravaganza “The Avengers” and the compelling indie drama “Puncture,” out Friday) sounds when he talks to RedEye by phone from New York. Admits the 30-year-old actor, “If I’m not doing press and I’m not filming, I’m probably sleeping.”

Fortunately Evans’ snooziness doesn't carry over to the set. “Puncture” features his best, most charismatic performance--as real-life, drug-addicted lawyer Mike Weiss, and his instrumental role in motivating hospitals to use safety needles that protect employees from being accidentally stuck.

In the film, Weiss owns an alligator; Boston-native Evans may be known for his tough on-screen persona and superhero physique, but he’s quick to admit that, were he to own an alligator, he’d be afraid of being bitten and has no interest in owning any unusual pets. No disagreement here.

You got in great shape for “Captain America,” but do you feel smaller when standing next to Thor/Chris Hemsworth for “The Avengers”?
Oh, yeah, he’s a big dude, man. He’s a big guy.
 
What’s that like when you spend all that time pumping up and then you go stand next to him?
Well, that’s the way it’s supposed to be. He is a God.
 
And Captain America’s just an average dude?
That’s right.
 
How aware are people of the story behind “Puncture”?
Not aware at all, unfortunately.
 
Why not?
[Laughs] Why aren’t they aware of it? Meaning why aren’t they aware of “Puncture” or the topic “Puncture” deals with?
 
The safety needles.
I don’t know. I wish I could tell you.
 
One of my favorite scenes in the film is when Mike holds a mock trial with other drug users. Why don’t law schools try things like that?
I know, right?
 
What was it like to play this legal character and try to find something new in a story about a legal issue?
It was great. It was fun. It was a little intimidating given the fact that he was a real character. This guy actually lived, so it was a little daunting sitting down with his family and his friends, a little intimidating at times, but really fun.
 
The Hollywood Reporter questioned if you played the part too well. What does that mean to you?
Uhh  … oh, god, I don’t know. [Laughs] I’m not quite sure. I try and not read those reviews. Those reviews are almost none of my business.
 
I think this is your best performance. Do you reflect on the work you do, as far as if one performance feels better than the others?
I’m not quite sure I understand the question. When I’m working on a film, it’s all-encompassing. When you’re working on a film, you throw yourself into it completely;  but when you’re done you move onto the next. That’s part of the appeal of filmmaking as opposed to something like TV. There’s variety, so you can go from one thing to the next and just shed one role and move right into the next one.
 
In your GQ interview, there was a note that you knew all the words to the songs from “The Little Mermaid.” I’m curious what other movies, Disney or otherwise, you feel like you have memorized?
Oh, god, I don’t know. That might have been a bit of an exaggeration.
 
So you don’t know all the words to “The Little Mermaid”?
No, probably not.
 
Is there a particular song from the movie you’d know if it came on?
I don’t know. This is really the interview?
 
How are things going with “The Avengers”? I feel like it would be like hanging out at the All-Star game.
Yeah, it was great. It was a great experience … It couldn’t have gone better. I almost should knock on some wood. It was too good. We all got along so ridiculously well; that type of stuff doesn’t happen in films. It’s just so lucky for a franchise that it happened on a film that we’re all going to be stuck together for quite some time.
 
What talk has there been lately of the Captain American sequels? When are those starting, and what’s something you’d like to see for those?
The sequels probably won’t start ‘til late next year, so they’re still working on the script. They really haven’t told me much. They’ve got their hands full right now with the third “Iron Man” and trying to get “The Avengers” out.
 
What’s the challenge of one-upping a good movie like “Captain America” with “The Avengers” and the “Captain America” sequel?
It’s just making sure the fans stay loyal. The comic book fans are pretty harsh and aggressive, and they know what they like and they know what they want, and trying to keep them happy is important. They’re the reason we’re making these movies. So the challenge is always making sure that the die-hard comic book fans are satisfied.
 
How do you know when they’re satisfied?
Well, you don’t. You just gotta hope. That’s the gamble.
 
I was a fan of your Fox TV show “Opposite Sex” a long time ago.
Oh, Jesus, wow!
 
When is that coming out on DVD?
[Laughs] Probably never.
 
Why has it disappeared?
Well, it’s just one of those shows. There are shows like that every year that just come and go. We did five or six episodes. It was a long time ago.
 
Do you have all of them on DVD?
My mom probably has them somewhere, yeah.
 
What does it mean to you to have the first movie to ever debut on “Bachelor Pad”?
Wait, what’s that?
 
The contestants on the TV show “Bachelor Pad” got the first look at “What’s Your Number?”
Oh, I don’t know what that is.
 
What’s something you hope people take away from “Puncture”?
That’s a good question. Obviously there’s a message in the film and there’s a topic that should be discussed because there are front-line health care workers that are being affected by it. But I hope they just get a peek into this guy’s life. This is a real person. You feel a certain sense of responsibility when you make a film about someone who actually existed. You want to make sure you do them justice. I hope they go away happy they got to peek into this guy’s life.
 
Was this your most challenging role?
Probably just because of the added pressure of playing a real person. There’s just some added responsibility and intimidation, so for that alone I’ll say yeah.

Emma Roberts is constantly confused for Emma Watson. Ryan Gosling is confused for Ryan Reynolds. Who are you confused for, named Chris or otherwise?
Someone that I’m confused for? God. I don’t know! I don’t know. I really can’t think of anybody. I don’t think I’m ever confused for anybody else.

What’s the most memorable reaction you’ve had from someone since you’ve been “Captain America”?
Nothing too crazy. People are pretty respectful. “Hello. Can I take a picture? Sign something.” I haven’t had anyone throw their underwear at me or anything like that.

 So that happened with other movies?
No.

Plus:
His all-time favorite legal drama: “Hmm. “A Few Good Men” is a great one … Great cast, great writing, great direction.”
What goes through his head about Chicago? The Bears.
What’s he listening to these days on his iPod? He hasn’t updated it in a while. But he listens to Alice in Chains.

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Fridays at 7 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com