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Chris Evans (actor)

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Chris Evans
Chris Evans in 2019.jpg
Evans in 2019
Born
Christopher Robert Evans

(1981-06-13) June 13, 1981 (age 39)
OccupationActor
Years active1997–present
Works
Full list
RelativesScott Evans (brother)
Mike Capuano (uncle)
Signature
Chris Evans' signature.svg

Christopher Robert Evans[1] (born June 13, 1981) is an American actor. Evans made his film debut in a wildlife educational film, and this was followed by television appearances, such as in the series Opposite Sex in 2000. Afterwards, he starred in several teen films including Not Another Teen Movie (2001) and The Perfect Score (2004). In 2005, he gained attention for his portrayal of Marvel Comics character Human Torch in Fantastic Four (2005), and its 2007 sequel Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.

Evans made further film appearances, which were adaptations from comic books and graphic novels, playing Casey Jones in TMNT (2007), Jake Jensen in The Losers (2010), Lucas Lee in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), and Curtis Everett in Snowpiercer (2013). He gained worldwide attention for his portrayal of Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) series of films, with credited appearances and cameos in eleven films. His notable performances are in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), and Captain America: Civil War (2016), and the ensemble films The Avengers (2012), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame (2019). His work in the Marvel series established him as one of the highest-paid actors in the world.[2]

In addition to comic book roles, Evans starred in Sunshine (2007), Gifted (2017), and Knives Out (2019). He also starred in several romantic comedies, including The Nanny Diaries (2007), and Playing It Cool (2015), the latter of which he also executive produced. Evans made his directorial debut in 2014 with the romantic drama Before We Go, in which he also produced and starred. He made his Broadway debut in the 2018 revival of Kenneth Lonergan's play Lobby Hero, which earned him a Drama League Award nomination.

Early life and education

Evans was born on June 13, 1981,[3] in Boston, Massachusetts,[4] and grew up in the nearby town of Sudbury.[5] His mother, Lisa (née Capuano), is an artistic director at the Concord Youth Theater,[6][7] and his father, G. Robert Evans III, is a dentist.[8] His mother is of half Italian and half Irish descent, while his father is of half British and half German ancestry.[9][10][11] His parents divorced in 1999.[12]

Evans has three siblings: an older sister, Carly, a younger brother, Scott, and a younger sister, Shanna.[8] Carly is a high school drama and English teacher at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, while Scott is an actor.[13][14] He and his siblings were raised Catholic.[10][11] Their uncle, Mike Capuano, represented Massachusetts's 8th congressional district.[9] He also has three younger half-siblings from his father's second marriage.[15]

He enjoyed attending musical theater classes, and also went to acting camp. He played Randolph MacAfee in the musical Bye Bye Birdie. He and siblings also performed in front of relatives during Christmases; being onstage, "felt like home".[16] Evans graduated from Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School.[5] He later moved to New York City and took classes at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute.[17]

Career

1997–2004: Early roles

Evans's first credited appearance was in a short educational film titled Biodiversity: Wild About Life! in 1997.[18] In 1999, Evans was the model for "Tyler" in Hasbro's board game Mystery Date. The special edition of the game included an electronic phone, which Evans is shown speaking into on the game box.[19] In September 2000, he moved to Los Angeles and lived in Oakwood Apartments in Toluca Lake, a complex where he met fellow young actors.[16] "You make a lot of strange connections with a lot of thirsty people, but you kind of are one of the thirsty people, too. It was a great time. It really was. It's like the L.A. welcoming committee", he said.[16]

Evans made his screen debut in the family drama The Newcomers in 2000. A year later, he appeared in Not Another Teen Movie (2001), a parody film in which he plays high school footballer Jake Wyler. In 2004, he had a lead role in The Perfect Score (2004),[20] a teen comedy-heist about a group of students who break into an office to steal answers to the SAT exam. The film was critically panned; Matthew Leyland of the BBC thought Evans' performance was "bland", and the cast had "little chemistry".[21] Also that year, he co-starred in the action-thriller Cellular, with Jason Statham, Kim Basinger and William H. Macy. Evans plays college student Ryan, who must save a kidnapped woman (Basinger), after randomly receiving a phone call from her. Although the feature received a mixed response; Slant Magazine's review opined that "Evans proves himself a sufficiently charismatic leading man".[22] Evans later recalled that some of his early films were "really terrible".[23]

2005–2010: Comic book films and other roles

In 2005, Evans starred in the independent drama Fierce People, an adaptation of Dirk Wittenborn's 2002 novel of the same name. He also starred in London (2005), a romantic drama, in which he played a drug user with relationship problems.[24] The film was negatively received by critics.[25]

For his first comic book role, he portrayed superhero Johnny Storm / Human Torch in Fantastic Four (2005), based on the Marvel Comic of the same name. Upon release, the film was a commercial success despite a divided reception.[26] In his mixed review, Joe Leydon of Variety praised the cast for their efforts and thought Evans gave a "charismatic breakout performance".[27] Two years later, he reprised the role of Johnny Storm / Human Torch in the sequel Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007).[28] Toronto Star's Rob Salem thought the film was a "significant improvement" from the first", and the critic from Chicago Reader thought the cast were "amusing enough" to carry the sequel.[29] In 2016, reflecting on his experience of the Fantastic Four films, Evans said they left him "a little uneasy – because the movies weren't exactly the way I’d envisioned them".[30]

He voiced the character Casey Jones in the animation TMNT (2007), based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book series. The film was released by Warner Bros. Pictures and The Weinstein Company, to mixed reviews from critics but was a commercial success, grossing $95 million worldwide.[31] Next, he starred in Danny Boyle's science fiction thriller Sunshine (2007), about a group of astronauts on a dangerous mission to reignite the dying Sun.[32] It garnered generally favorable reviews; film critic Roger Ebert wrote the cast were "effective ... they almost all play professional astronaut/scientists, and not action-movie heroes".[33] He also had a role in the comedy drama The Nanny Diaries (2007), in which he plays the love interest to Scarlett Johansson's character. His final release of 2007 was Battle for Terra, another science fiction animation, about a peaceful alien planet which faces destruction from colonization by a displaced remainder of the human race. It premiered at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, followed by a wider theatrical release in 2009.[34] Reception was largely mixed; review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an approval rating of 49% based on 95 critics.[35]

In 2008, Evans appeared as Detective Paul Diskant in the thriller Street Kings, with co-stars Keanu Reeves, Forest Whitaker, and Hugh Laurie. He was then cast in The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond, co-starring Bryce Dallas Howard and Ellen Burstyn. It is a romantic drama based on Tennessee Williams' 1957 screenplay. The feature received negative reviews, and The Village Voice critic called Evans' performance "catatonic".[36] The following year he appeared in the science fiction thriller Push, with Dakota Fanning and Camilla Belle. The film follows a group of people born with various superhuman abilities who unite to take down a secret agency that is genetically transforming normal citizens into an army of super soldiers. Principal photography was held in Hong Kong, where Evans suffered bruises from doing his own fight scenes.[37] The film's response was generally negative; Claudia Puig of USA Today described it as "silly" and "convoluted",[38] while Mick LaSelle of San Francisco Chronicle criticized the story which "makes no sense", and predicted that Evans, "one of these days he's going to make a good movie".[39]

In 2010, Evans appeared in Sylvain White's The Losers, an adaptation of the comic book series of the same name from the DC Comics imprint Vertigo.[40] Evans was drawn to playing Captain Jake Jensen because the character "doesn't take things too seriously. He's the one that kind of loves life and he's always looking for a joke".[41] Although the film gained mixed reviews, The Guardian's critic praised the cast for their "breezy charm" and for Evans' comic relief.[42] Evans then appeared in another comic book adaptation, Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), in which he portrayed Lucas Lee, one of Ramona Flowers' seven evil exes.[43] The film was a box-office bomb but received positive reviews from critics and found a second life as a cult film.[44][45]

He starred in Mark Kassen and Adam Kassen's drama, Puncture, which was filmed in Houston, Texas. The film premiered at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival as one of the spotlight projects for the 10th anniversary of the festival.[46] Evans portrays Mike Weiss, who was a real-life young lawyer and drug addict. Upon release, critical reception was divided. Lou Lumenick of the New York Post praised the "solid" performances despite noting weaknesses in the dialogue and subplots.[47] The A.V. Club critic thought the film "rarely manages to focus on [Weiss]".[48] Next, Evans was cast in the romantic comedy What's Your Number? (2011) opposite Anna Faris, an adaptation of Karyn Bosnak's book 20 Times a Lady.[49]

2011–2017: Captain America and directorial debut

In 2010, Evans signed on for a multi-film deal with Marvel Studios, to portray Marvel Comics character Steve Rogers / Captain America.[50][51] Evans initially rejected the part, but Marvel persisted until he accepted.[16] He found the character fun to portray, and added, "I think Marvel is doing a lot of good things right now".[52] The first film to be released was Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). The story follows the protagonist who is transformed into the super-soldier Captain America and must stop the Red Skull from using the Tesseract as an energy-source for world domination. The film was a critical and commercial success, earning over $370 million worldwide box office.[53] In their positive review, The Sydney Morning Herald thought the film was a "fresh twist on 20th-century history", and praised Evans' "confident-but-subtle treatment" displayed in his role.[54]

A year later, he reprised the character in The Avengers, with a large ensemble cast that included Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, and Jeremy Renner. The feature was another commercial success; it grossed $1.519 billion and became one of the highest-grossing films of all time.[55][56] Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an approval rating of 92% based on more than 350 reviews.[57] The Avengers received an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects and a British Academy Film Award (BAFTA) nomination for Best Special Visual Effects.[58][59] For his last release of 2012, he played hitman Robert Pronge in the biographical film The Iceman, about the murderer Richard Kuklinski. Evans' role was originally intended for James Franco, but he dropped out before filming began.[60] In order to look the part, Evans wore a wig and grew a beard.[61] Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, David Rooney complimented Evans' versatile performance, which was unlike his Captain America persona.[62]

Returning to the science fiction genre, Evans was cast in Bong Joon-ho's Snowpiercer (2013), which is based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige.[63] Bong was initially reluctant to cast him, but changed his mind after seeing Evans' performances in Sunshine and Puncture, which showed a "sensitive" side.[64] The story takes place aboard the Snowpiercer train as it travels around the globe, carrying the last members of humanity after a failed attempt at climate engineering to stop global warming. The film was critically acclaimed, with the critic from Salon describing the cast performances as "sensational".[65] Snowpiercer appeared in several lists of best films of 2014, including The Guardian's classics of modern South Korean Cinema.[66]

Evans at a press conference for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 2014
Evans at a press conference for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 2014

In 2014, Evans starred in Captain America: The Winter Soldier,[67] the sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger. In the film, Captain America joins forces with Black Widow and Falcon to uncover a conspiracy within the spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D. while facing an assassin known as the Winter Soldier. Principal photography began in 2013, and included locations in Cleveland, Ohio and Washington, D.C. Evans prepared for the fight sequences by taking lessons in parkour, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, karate and boxing.[68] Similarly to the first film, it was well received and a commercial success, grossing $714 million worldwide.[69] Peter Howell of Toronto Star thought Evans was "impressive" for bringing the comic book character to life, despite the plot being "a little too complicated".[70] Evans has said The Winter Soldier was his favorite Marvel film because he started to understand his character, and enjoyed working with directors Anthony and Joe Russo.[71]

In March 2014, Evans said he may consider doing less acting roles so that he can focus on directing.[72][73] Evans made his directorial debut in the romantic comedy Before We Go (2014), in which he also starred opposite Alice Eve. The film tells the story of two strangers who meet at Grand Central Terminal, and form an unlikely bond overnight. It premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.[74] The New York Times critic, Ben Keninsberg, opined that it was a "modest" effort and the actors' chemistry made it watchable.[75] That same year, he starred in another romantic comedy, opposite Michelle Monaghan in Playing It Cool.[76] In 2015, he played Captain America again in Avengers: Age of Ultron, the sequel to 2012's The Avengers.[77] A year later, he reprised the role in Captain America: Civil War, the sequel to Captain America: The Winter Soldier.[78] Both of these films were box office hits, grossing $1.4 billion and $1.1 billion worldwide, respectively.[79][80] The Hollywood Reporter learned that his salary for Civil War was $15 million.[81]

Evans starred in the family drama Gifted in 2017, about an intellectually gifted seven-year-old who becomes the subject of a custody battle between her uncle (Evans) and grandmother (Lindsay Duncan). The film received a favorable response; Empire magazine opined that Evans' played his part with "conviction" despite a predictable plot.[82] The same year, he was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[83]

2018–present

In 2018, he starred in the sequel Avengers: Infinity War, and in 2019, the fourth sequel Avengers: Endgame.[84] In 2018, Evans announced that he would retire from portraying Captain America after Avengers: Endgame.[85] He made his Broadway debut in the play Lobby Hero, directed by Trip Cullman, which opened in March 2018 at the Helen Hayes Theatre as a part of Second Stage Theatre's first Broadway season.[86][87] For his performance, he was nominated for a Drama League Award.[88]

In 2019, Evans played an Israeli Mossad agent in the Netflix thriller The Red Sea Diving Resort,[89] loosely based on the events of Operation Moses and Operation Joshua in 1984–1985. Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a mixed review; he thought Evans gave a "sincere" performance, despite observing weaknesses in the film's pacing and tone.[90] Later that year, he starred in Rian Johnson's mystery drama Knives Out, which was released in November to positive reviews from critics.[91][92] In 2020, Evans starred in Defending Jacob, an Apple TV+ crime drama miniseries based on the novel of the same name.[93]

Personal life

Evans and Scarlett Johansson at a USO tour event, December 2016
Evans and Scarlett Johansson at a USO tour event, December 2016

Although raised Catholic, he has expressed pantheistic views and is a student of Buddhism.[11][94] Evans is a fan of the New England Patriots and narrated America's Game: The Story of the 2014 New England Patriots[95] and America's Game: 2016 Patriots.[96] While filming Gifted in 2015, Evans adopted a dog named Dodger from a local animal shelter.[97]

Political views

In 2012, Evans affirmed his support for same-sex marriage, stating: "It's insane that civil rights are being denied people in this day and age. It's embarrassing, and it's heartbreaking. It goes without saying that I'm completely in support of gay marriage. In ten years we'll be ashamed that this was an issue."[98] In August 2016, Evans supported Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey's continued enforcement of the state's ban on assault weapons.[99] Evans endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election,[100] and has been critical of President Donald Trump.[101][12]

After Alabama enacted the Human Life Protection Act in May 2019, which imposes a near-total ban on abortions in the state, Evans wrote on Twitter that the bill was "absolutely unbelievable" and continued by writing, "If you're not worried about Roe v. Wade, you're not paying attention."[102] In July 2020, Evans launched A Starting Point, a website that aims to present "both the Democratic and Republican point of view on dozens of issues across the political landscape."[103][104]

Filmography

Awards and nominations

Awards and nominations received by Chris Evans
Award Year Work Category Result Ref.
Broadway.com Audience Awards 2018 Lobby Hero Favorite Featured Actor in a Play Won [105]
Critics' Choice Movie Awards 2015 Captain America: The Winter Soldier Best Actor in an Action Movie Nominated [106]
2016 Captain America: Civil War Best Actor in an Action Movie Nominated [107]
Drama League Awards 2018 Lobby Hero Distinguished Performance Nominated [108]
Kids' Choice Awards 2016 Avengers: Age of Ultron Favorite Movie Actor Nominated [109]
2017 Captain America: Civil War Favorite Movie Actor Nominated [110]
Favorite Butt-Kicker Won [110]
Favorite Frenemies (shared with Robert Downey Jr.) Nominated [110]
#SQUAD (shared with cast) Nominated [110]
MTV Movie & TV Awards 2006 Fantastic Four Best On-Screen Team Nominated [111]
2012 Captain America: The First Avenger MTV Movie Award for Best Hero Nominated [112]
2013 The Avengers Best Fight (shared with cast) Won [113]
2015 Captain America: The Winter Soldier Best Fight (Evans vs. Sebastian Stan) Nominated [114]
Best Kiss (shared with Scarlett Johansson) Nominated [114]
2016 Avengers: Age of Ultron Best Hero Nominated [115]
2019 Avengers: Endgame Best Fight (Evans vs. Josh Brolin) Nominated [116]
People's Choice Awards 2012 Captain America: The First Avenger Favorite Movie Superhero Nominated [117]
2013 The Avengers Favorite Action Movie Star Nominated [118]
Favorite Movie Superhero Nominated [118]
2015 Captain America: The Winter Soldier Favorite Action Movie Actor Won [119]
Favorite Movie Duo (shared with Scarlett Johansson) Nominated [119]
2017 Captain America: Civil War Favorite Action Movie Actor Nominated [120]
2019 Avengers: Endgame The Action Movie Star of 2019 Nominated [121]
Saturn Awards 2012 Captain America: The First Avenger Best Actor Nominated [122]
2015 Captain America: The Winter Soldier Best Actor Nominated [123]
2017 Captain America: Civil War Best Actor Nominated [124]
2019 Avengers: Endgame Best Actor Nominated [125]
Scream Awards 2011 Captain America: The First Avenger Best Science Fiction Actor Nominated [126]
Best Superhero Won [127]
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Best Villain (shared with Satya Bhabha, Brandon Routh, Mae Whitman, Shota Saito, Keita Saito, and Jason Schwartzman) Nominated [126]
Captain America: The First Avenger Fight Scene of the Year Evans vs. Hugo Weaving) Nominated [126]
Teen Choice Awards 2007 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer Choice Movie Actor: Action Adventure Nominated [128]
Choice Movie: Rumble Nominated [128]
2011 Captain America: The First Avenger Choice Summer Movie Star: Male Nominated [129]
2012 Captain America: The First Avenger Choice Movie: Fight Nominated
The Avengers Choice Movie: Male Scene Stealer Nominated [130]
2014 Captain America: The Winter Soldier Choice Movie Actor: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Nominated [131]
Choice Movie: Chemistry (shared with Anthony Mackie) Nominated [131]
Choice Movie: Liplock (shared with Scarlett Johansson) Nominated [131]
2015 Avengers: Age of Ultron Choice Movie: Scene Stealer Won [132]
2016 Captain America: Civil War Choice Movie Actor: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Won [133]
Choice Movie: Chemistry (shared with Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Elizabeth Olsen, and Jeremy Renner) Nominated [133]
Choice Movie: Liplock (shared with Emily VanCamp) Nominated [133]
2017 Gifted Choice Movie Actor: Drama Nominated [134]
Young Hollywood Awards 2014 Captain America: The Winter Soldier Super Superhero Nominated [135]

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