Chris Evans Goes Skydiving: "What If the Chute Doesn't Open?"

Esquire tags along on the Gifted actor's 12,500-foot free-fall

By Zach Johnson Mar 15, 2017 3:35 PMTags

Chris Evans is going down—literally.

For Esquire's April issue, Evans decided to go skydiving in rural southern California. As the actor laid in bed the night before, he confessed, "I started exploring the sensation of 'What if the chute doesn't open?' Those last minutes where you know. You're not gonna pass out; you're gonna be wide awake. So what? Do I close my eyes? Hopefully, it would be quick. Lights out. I f--king hope it would be quick. And then I was like: If you're gonna do it, let's just pretend there is no way this is going to go wrong. Just really embrace it and jump out of that plane with gusto."

Because of his Marvel contract, Evans needed clearance before his 12,500-foot free-fall with Skydive Perris. "They give you all these crazy insurance policies, but even if I die, what are they going to do? Sue my family?" Evans, who will return as Captain America in Avengers: Infinity War, laughed. "They'd probably cast some new guy at a cheaper price and save some money."

Before jumping, Evans looked up the rate of skydiving fatalities. "It's, like, 0.006 fatalities per one thousand jumps," he told writer Maximillian Potter. "So I figure our odds are pretty good."

But after his nerves kicked in, Evans said, "I want to see you jump first."

Have Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. Ever Butted Heads?

Evans had skydived once before, with his ex-girlfriend Jessica Biel. He chose to do tandem skydiving this time around, explaining that "jumping out" is his favorite part. "Jumping out is always a real thrill," he said. But the next day, he admitted, "I don't know what I was thinking."

Clearly, the actor isn't afraid of facing death. So, what does scares him? "Like, always kind of wanting to be there as opposed to here. I think I'm worried all of a sudden I'll get old and have regrets, realize that I've not cultivated enough of an appreciation for the now and surrendering to the present moment," said Evans, who added that he's been reading Michael A. Singer's The Surrender Experiment. "It's about the basic notion that we are only in a good mood when things are going our way. The truth is, life is going to unfold as it's going to unfold regardless of your input. If you are an active participant in that awareness, life kind of washes over you, good or bad," Evans shared. "You kind of become Teflon a little bit to the struggles that we self-inflict."

Evans is taking Singer's words to heart. "Our conscious minds are very spread out. We worry about the past. We worry about the future. We label. And all of that stuff just makes us very separate. What I'm trying to do is just quiet it down. Put that brain down from time to time and hope those periods of quiet and stillness get longer. When you do that, what rises from the mist is a kind of surrendering. You're more connected as opposed to being separate. A lot of the questions about destiny or fate or purpose or any of that stuff—it's not like you get answers," Evans told Esquire (on newsstands March 28). "You just realize you didn't need the questions."

Perhaps that's why Evans isn't sweating being single again after his recent breakup with Gifted star Jenny Slate. "Yeah," he said. "I'm steering clear of those questions."

Captain America: Civil War Movie Pics

According to the 35-year-old actor, dating isn't easy when you're in the public eye. "There's a certain shared life experience that is tough for someone else who's not in this industry to kind of wrap their head around. Letting someone go to work with someone for three months and they won't see them," Evans explained. "It really, it certainly puts the relationship to the test."

Evans takes his relationships seriously—and not just the romantic ones. "In my own life, I have a deep connection with my family and the value of those bonds. I've always loved stories about people who put their families before themselves. It's such a noble endeavor. You can't choose your family, as opposed to friends. Especially in L.A. You really get to see how friendships are put to the test; it stirs everyone's egos. And If something goes south with a friend, you have the option to say we're not friends anymore. Your family—that's your family. Trying to make that system work and trying to make it not just functional but actually enjoyable is a really challenging endeavor," Evans told the magazine, "and that's certainly how it is with my family."