Beyond Steve Rogers: Chris Evans
Not a perfect soldier, but a good man until the very end. We’ve all come to know and love Chris Evans as the superhero Steve Rogers, leader of the Avengers, over the past eight years, but Evans wasn’t solely exclusive to Marvel epics during that time period. Now that Avengers: Endgame is behind him, what does he have in the works? Who was he before donning the vibranium shield and star-spangled uniform? We’re diving in to Chris’ projects that stand free from his most well-known role, hopefully introducing you to a new piece of the Evans filmography you may not have known was out there.
It’s no secret Evans likes smaller, more independent film roles, even more so now that he’s established himself as a household name. He was hesitant to take on the massive commitment of Captain America, but after some guidance from fellow Avenger Robert Downey, Jr., he ultimately decided to take up the mantle as one of America’s most beloved comic book heroes.
Now I won’t deny I love Chris as Steve Rogers, and I’ll miss him dearly. I think he brings a great complexity and realness to the character, but I also stand by my opinion that it doesn’t push him to the limits of his true talent and abilities. I’ve selected a few of my favorite Chris Evans roles that I think exemplify exactly what he can do, and why I am truly excited that Captain America is now behind him.
Not Another Teen Movie (2001)
I’m beginning where it all started for me, Not Another Teen Movie. This was Chris’ first Hollywood role and you bet my twelve year old self was watching this at my weekend sleepovers on a fairly regular basis. It was the pinnacle of late 90’s/early 2000’s teen films, an era I have a deep love and appreciation for. Chris plays Jake Wyler, the idiot jock who ends up falling for the nerdy girl post-glamorous makeover. I did mention this was absolutely one of the corniest movies of all time, right? Also, a classic. It can be both.
It’s not my favorite Evans film, but it was his big break and every fan of his needs to see it at least once. Yes, this is the one with the whipped cream and the banana. You know what I’m talking about.
What’s Your Number? (2011)
If you’re looking for your quintessential rom-com, this is it. Chris plays the supporting role to Anna Faris’ lead, and I love this movie for so many reasons. I’m not a huge fan of this genre. Generally, it’s the actor that draws me into watching it (this is no coincidence) as I’m working my way through their filmography, but I genuinely enjoyed this one. Anna Faris plays Ally Darling, a single woman working her way back through her exes hoping to make one work with the help of her wanton neighbor, Colin, played by Evans.
If you’re having a bad day, this is the movie for you. It’s lighthearted, fun and endearing, and bonus, he sings. Yes, you read that right. The script is the perfect balance of Ally’s self-discovery and the blossoming relationship with Colin, with plenty of laughs in between. Chris’ character doesn’t turn out to be who you assume at first glance, which was a refreshing change to the stereotypical rom-com role. I love being able to watch him stretch his comedic wings, and this certainly exceeded my expectations the first time I watched it.
Fellow Avengers Anthony Mackie and Chris Pratt also make appearances!
I debated adding this movie into this piece, but ultimately I decided the more the merrier. If you like biopics, David versus Goliath stories, or have a background in the medical field, it’ll probably interest you. I worked in hospitals for about ten years, so it was intriguing to see where the needles I used to start hundreds of IV’s came from and how they came to be.
Chris plays the drug-addicted personal injury lawyer Michael Weiss who, along with his partner Paul Danzinger (played by Mark Kassen), are introduced to a groundbreaking new retractable needle that effectively reduces the chances of accidental punctures in the medical profession by used, contaminated sharps. Mike and Paul take on the mafia-esque health supply system in an attempt to open their eyes to the lives that could be saved and force their hands in making this available to hospital personnel nationwide.
At least I have the courage to lose for what’s right! – Mike Weiss
This film is grim and tragic, but it is a true story. It’s definitely a role of its own when looking through Chris’ filmography, and he gives a stellar performance. When talking about his range as an actor, this multidimensional portrayal brought him to a new high…or maybe a low, which was the deciding factor in mentioning it here. As I said above, I don’t think this film would serve for purely entertainment purposes to a general audience, but it’s also a story that deserved to be told.
Switching gears now, we head over to one of his powerhouse emotional performances as Frank Adler in Gifted. A single man living in Florida, he’s been the sole caregiver for his late sister’s young daughter, Mary, since her untimely death when Mary was 6 months old. When Mary’s home with Frank is threatened by her estranged grandmother, hoping to use the child and her extraordinary intellectual abilities for her own personal gain, Frank fights to keep her in the normal life he’d promised both her and her mother. McKenna Grace dazzles as the young Mary Adler, along with impressive performances given by Octavia Spencer, Jenny Slate and Lindsay Duncan.
You’re going to cry, I’m personally guaranteeing it. It’s a tear-jerker, a heartbreaker, emotionally compromising… be prepared. As the parent of a young daughter, I think this one hits home a little harder. So, even though it’s an incredible piece, I can’t say I find myself flipping it on to unwind at the end of the day. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact I think it’s an Evans must-see. The interactions between Frank and Mary will tug at your heart strings every moment they’re on the screen and if you’re not rooting for him within the first twenty minutes, I’d be shocked. Evans plays the part quiet and even-keeled — mostly — while still being able to translate Frank’s absolute loss at how to navigate his parental role and just how over his head he’s in. Yet despite all of that, there’s a strong, fierce love that burns bright in every second of this film.
Did I mention it’s a must-see? Just get your tissues ready for the duration of the movie when they pull up to a hospital (fear not…no character is harmed in the plot of this film.)
Fun fact: Chris adopted his dog, Dodger, from the animal shelter featured in this movie while filming!
If you’re looking for the darker side of Chris Evans or a one-of-a-kind sci-fi film, Curtis Everett in Snowpiercer is the role for you. The film is an adaption of the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette. Co-starring alongside Evans are Tilda Swinton, Song Kang-ho, John Hurt and Octavia Spencer.
When I tell people this is one of my favorite Evans characters, most are slightly taken aback, and I can see why. The film takes place in 2031 aboard the massive, self-sustaining train the Snowpiercer, which carries all remaining life on Earth. After a failed attempt at climate engineering, the planet was transformed into a new Snowball Earth, making it completely uninhabitable due to sub-freezing temperatures. However, the train, being its own ecosystem, is unaffected. The film takes you through the revolt of Curtis and the “lower-class tail section” to the front of the train, which houses the rich and elite.
The story itself is filled with raw emotion, showcased beautifully by passionate performances as it takes us through a story of desperation, loss and ultimately, redemption. Evans shines as the conflicted leading man who would stop at nothing to achieve his mission and hold true to his promises. The ending of this movie still throws me for a loop while reducing me to tears, and I just think it showcases Chris’ true talent and impressive range in comparison to his other roles.
Before We Go (2014)
I’m going to end my tour of his films with my all time favorite of Chris’ roles (yes — including Steve Rogers), Nick Vaughn. Evans has already stated he’s interested in taking on more roles behind the camera as a director following his final Avengers film, Avengers: Endgame, but it won’t be his first time. Before We Go was his directorial debut, a film in which he also starred alongside Alice Eve. If you’re teetering on the edge of loving Chris Evans, watch this film to fall right over the edge head first.
Before We Go’s thoughtful yet simple story takes you on a journey of self-discovery and proves just how quickly life can change, even if you weren’t ready for it. A movie filled with one-liners that will leave you questioning all of your own decisions in the best of ways, it leaves an impact. The characters are raw and believable and the story, despite being a spin on the classic “love in one night in New York City”, isn’t forced or stale. You find yourself truly rooting for them both in their own lives and for whatever it is they have sparking between them. It’s a slow, low-key film with no sudden twists or shocks, which is something I can appreciate if it’s done in the right way, and this one is.
Why is it that any one decision always seems too small to be the biggest decision of your life? – Nick Vaughn
Beyond the charming character that leaves your heart a sopping mess by the end, we also get to see the story from Evans’ eyes and it doesn’t disappoint. New York City sparkles in cold shots of the city sprinkled between scenes, showcasing a much more art-fueled side of him we just don’t get to see when he’s donning the blue cowl. This being his first go-around helming the director’s chair makes me hopeful to see more and watch how his skills progress.
Lobby Hero (2018)
You guys didn’t think we were leaving this article without mentioning Chris’ stint on Broadway, right? Chris harnessed his love of acting from a young age in theater, mentioning it was a huge part of his childhood on the opening night of his performance as the morally corrupt cop, Bill, in the critically acclaimed Lobby Hero. While unfortunately I was unable to make my way over to watch this, it’s worth mentioning. Critics and viewers alike raved of the performances — mustached Chris and all — proving that Evans can perform equally as well on the stage as the big screen.
I grew up doing plays. It was very much part of who I am. That’s my youth, that’s my childhood. I’m one of four children, and we all did theater. I would do three, four, five, shows a year my whole life.
In his theater history, he’s revealed that he’s performed a few musical roles (West Side Story, Into the Woods, Music Man.) He has expressed interest in performing in a musical production if one was ever made available to him. I’ll be keeping my fingers and toes crossed for that one.
A Starting Point
It’s no secret that Chris Evans is very politically active. His Twitter account is filled with his opinions and feelings about the current state of United States politics. Whether you agree with him or not, it’s no doubt he’s using his platform to try to get people involved. With that being said, Chris has decided to take things one step further than the 240 character limit. Earlier this year, it was reported Chris had been seen around the Capitol in Washington D.C. but reasons were unknown, until someone let the “cat outta the bag” (his words, not mine.)
Guess the cat’s outta the bag 🙂
Thank you to everyone who has already participated!! https://t.co/yj5FrmlWFr
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) April 6, 2019
His website, A Starting Point, is aiming to be a “one-stop shop for simple, digestible information from people who know best.” So far we know he’s interviewing politicians, both Republican and Democrat, using the same list of questions, allowing them a one-minute response to educate voters on their stance from whichever on his list they’ve chosen to answer. He’s tackling things from climate change, LGBTQ issues and net neutrality to common sense gun laws and bipartisanship. He’s made it clear that his own political views will not interfere with the purpose of this site, and it was never about that. The goal is to level the playing field and give voters and citizens a quality source for information to aid in their own decision making from the sources themselves. It would seem that his mission is to omit the middle man, leaving less room for the news outlets to twist and embellish before it ever reaches the public’s ears and eyes.
As of June 2019, he’s still working on collecting answers from our elected officials in Washington D.C. The best source of information for this project will most likely be his own personal Twitter.
So, there you have it, Chris Evans beyond Steve Rogers. I hope this encouraged you to step into his filmography if you haven’t already, and yes I know, I left out Fantastic Four and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. I love being a fan of Chris’ for many reasons, but one is that he picks and chooses his roles with great care. He isn’t concerned about fame or blockbusters, instead opting for projects that he truly believes in, and I’m glad that Captain America gave him the freedom and ability to do that.
So what does Chris Evans have in the works now that he’s handed over his shield to Anthony Mackie’s Falcon? His new film, The Red Sea Diving Resort, will be available for streaming on Netflix on July 31, 2019. You can find our announcement about this here! We also know of a few other project slotted for 2019 and 2020 releases: Knives Out, Jekyll and an eight episode mini-series titled Defending Jacob.
For Chris Evans’ complete filmography, you can visit his IMDb page here.