Desmond Chiam feels closely connected to Cap (Picture: Twitter/@deschiam / Marvel Studios)
One of the stars of Marvel’s The Falcon and The Winter Soldier on Disney Plus has recounted the tear-inducing day he was given a small piece of Captain America’s shield to keep, explaining that the superhero was his ‘favourite character growing up’.
Desmond Chiam, 33, stars in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier as a member of anti-patriotism group the Flag-Smashers, playing a character called Dovich opposite the organisation’s leader Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman).
But while the Flag-Smashers are adversaries of protagonists Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), Desmond felt a strong affinity to their old friend Captain America throughout his childhood.
The Australian actor recently shared a couple of pictures on Twitter and Instagram, with one capturing him holding Captain America’s shield on set and the second showing a phone case with a little red fragment inside of it.
In his caption, which on Twitter made up a 16-part thread, Desmond said that he was ‘attaining a bit of a childhood dream’ to be ‘holding old mate Cap’s shield’ as an adult.
‘Captain America was my favourite character growing up, and given that I was a Chinese boy living in Australia – it was pretty much gg kid,’ he wrote.
Desmond recalled getting ‘old VHS tapes in a free goodie bag at the Melbourne fair’, one of the tapes being the 90s animated X-Men series and the other a Captain America cartoon from the mid-1960s when the superhero loses his friend, Bucky.
‘In a simple breakdown, his status as my fave makes sense. There were a lot of demands placed on me, both mentally and physically, growing up. What better idol than a guy whose power is being peak human? The best a human can be. If he could do it, I could do it,’ he wrote.
The Reef Break star said that he ‘forgot’ about Captain America until he went to university, ‘when my best mate passed away in an accident’.
‘I didn’t have anyone I felt comfortable talking about that to, and inevitably I turned back to early childhood crutches. Steve Rogers’ mate died and he became a superhero,’ he said.
Stressing that ‘this is a terrible way to deal with trauma’ and urging people to ‘seek help’ if they need it, he added: ‘I didn’t, but Cap as a totemic force kept me on the straight and narrow. At the very base level, he kept me functional. And from there I rebuilt and got my mind and body right.’
Then a couple of months ago while filming Falcon and The Winter Soldier in Prague, Desmond was able to hold Captain America’s famous shield.
While holding the shield, having spent the previous two years throwing away contracts for roles he didn’t end up being offered, a member of the crew realised how much Cap meant to him.
‘But I’m standing here, holding this shield, taking this pic and everything’s flooding back. The prop guy, [name redacted] who’s taking it – who’s Filipino, mind you, Asians represent – fully reads me,’ Desmond said.
‘I gush about how much this means to me, some of my story. He tells me to wait a sec, he’ll be right back – and when he comes back he’s got this binder. It’s a rolodex of paint flecks that have chipped off Cap’s shields that he keeps as a colour reference.
‘He flips back, and pulls one out and gives it to me. Tells me to put it in my phone case. “Now you got some OG Vibranium, dude.” Straight up, tears.’
Desmond said that while he’s ‘still trying to figure out why Cap means what he does to me’, he thinks it may come down to Steve Rogers being ‘a human amongst literal gods’, a ‘message that means a lot to me, personally’.
The actor concluded his message by signing off with one of Captain America’s most famous quotes, summarising the superhero’s strength and determination in one fell swoop: ‘I can do this all day.’
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is available to watch on Disney Plus with new episodes released on Fridays.
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