Christopher Robert Evans was born in Boston on June 13 1981 and is, of course, best known for playing Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, his filmography goes way beyond being America’s Ass, so I thought I’d celebrate his 39th birthday (no, I couldn’t wait a year) by going through 25 (that’s right TWENTY FIVE) of his non-MCU roles.

They span all twenty years of the 21st century thus far (2000-2020) and traverse many different genres, from action to drama to rom-coms, it’s all here. While most of these films (with a few brilliant exceptions) are of ‘middling’ quality, Evans hasn’t shied away from dipping his toe into different roles and genres which have challenged him and pulled him out of the comfort zone that he could easily be resting in. Even after finding meteoric fame as a result of being in the MCU, Evans has still appeared in an eclectic range of films (often as part of an ensemble) and played comedic or sometimes villainous roles, which is something I definitely hope he continues to do. So let’s get started on this Evans Epic…

1) The Newcomers (2000)

Hot? Unfortunately not, but he is playing a sweetheart.

This is kinda the definition of scraping the bottom of the IMDb list barrel, in terms of watching films for your movie crush. Evans is barely in it, it has one of the worst scores I’ve ever heard in my life and definitely feels like a Lifetime or Hallmark movie. Points of interest include: an early Kate Bosworth role, a very early Paul Dano role (!), a gorgeous dog and of course, getting to gawk at those terrible 2000s fashions. Everything else is insufferable.

Rating out of 5: 1

 

2) Not Another Teen Movie (2001)

Hot? sweetjesusmaryjosephandtheweedonkey NO

I’m allergic to the 2000s trend of ‘hilarious’ parodies of particular genres of movies eg. Date Movie (2006), Epic Movie (2007), Disaster Movie (2008), Superhero Movie (2008), Meet the Spartans (2008), Dance Flick (2009) – mainly because the one that sparked off the trend was Scary Movie (2000), which parodies Scream, which was already a post-modern commentary on the horror genre! However, Not Another Teen Movie is probably the best of the bunch. It’s genuinely funny and features some memorable sequences, such as the one pictured above. This was Evans’ first big comedic role and comedy is something he really excels at. It also features a fairly big musical sequence and is one of the few hints we have of Evans’ singing and dancing skills. Evans is a musical theatre geek, claims to desperately want to star in a musical and is rumoured to be attached to the role of Orin (the sadistic dentist) in a new film version of The Little Shop of Horrors. Let’s hope that is still happening, but for now, feast your eyes on this.

Rating out of 5: 3.5

 

3) The Perfect Score (2004)

Hot? Alas, no. Evans was hugely hampered by early 2000s hair and fashions for these first few movies, bless.

One of the greatest pleasures of the MCU is seeing the enduring platonic close bond between Captain America (Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and the reason it comes across as such a genuine friendship is because Evans and Johansson has been friends for years. The first incidence of their collaboration is this teen heist movie in which six High School students conspire to steal the answers to the SAT exams they have to sit to get into their chosen colleges. Scar-Jo gives a pleasant enough MPDG performance, but it’s mostly not great, Bob.

Rating out of 5: 2.5

 

4) Cellular (2004)

Hot? Getting better, moving in the right direction….things are hotting up.

An action movie with a surprisingly high-profile cast, including Evans’ girlfriend circa 2000-2006, Jessica Biel. Other cast members include Jason Statham, Kim Basinger and William H Macy. A fascinating time-capsule in terms of its use of pre-internet-connected mobile phones and an internet cafe being a fairly big plot-point….that is where any ‘interest’ in this film runs out. It’s pretty bad and my main memory of watching it was when a sequence was set to Nina Simone’s Sinnerman which led me to internally scream “THIS FILM IS NOT WORTHY OF THIS SONG!”

Rating out of 5: 2

 

5) Fierce People (2005)

Hot? Hell to the No.

A comedy-drama featuring an all-star cast including Anton Yelchin, Diane Lane, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Perkins and Kristen Stewart and directed by Griffin Dunne. There are definite parallels between this and Knives Out, with Evans once again playing the son within a large, rich East Coast family. It’s supposedly set in the 1980s but there is extremely minimal effort made to make haircuts or clothing look anything other than mid-2000s. Yelchin is, of course, great playing the frustrated 15 year old son who wants to follow in the footsteps of his estranged anthropologist father, but instead ends up as a hanger-on to this rich family in their enormous old home in the middle of nowhere. The house (and the cottage that Yelchin stays in with his mother, Diane Lane) is one of the best aspects of the film, as the gorgeous buildings are covered in ivy and set in stunning woodland. The cringy aspect is the inclusion of the so-called “fierce people”, the South-American tribe that Yelchin’s father is studying and there is even a moment where Yelchin dresses up as one of them – yikes. Other than that, I mostly liked this story. There is a sweet romance between Yelchin and K-Stew (who plays Evans’ sister lol) and Evans gets to have fun with the role in a similar way to his performance as Ransom in Knives Out.

Rating out of 5: 3.5

 

6) London (2005)

Hot? Ding! Ding! Ding! We’re finally there! The birth of Hot Evans in movies! He has the close-cropped Johnny Storm hair (for some of the movie at least and a TERRIBLE wig for some of it) and if you’re reading this list hoping to be pointed towards hot sex scenes in Evans’ filmography, THIS is the puppy.

Another team-up with Evans’ Cellular co-stars Jason Statham (in another hilarious wig) and Jessica Biel, with small roles for Isla Fisher, Paula Patton (who deserves more), Joy Bryant and Kat Dennings. This is Evans in an ‘edgier’ role, so if you want to him swearing (deary me), snorting coke and having sex, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re looking for a good film, you’ve come to the wrong one. But, it’s pretty hot, I cannot lie.

Rating out of 5: 1.5

 

7) Fantastic Four (2005)

Hot? Quite literally, YES.

For many people, including me, THIS was our introduction to our beloved Evans. For those of us of a certain generation, it was actually quite hard to let go of imagining Evans as Johnny Storm when he was first introduced as Captain America. THIS was the comic book superhero we associated him with. I’m a defender of the Fantastic Four movies and am still baffled as to why we had to have a remake ten years later. Yes, they made Jessica Alba wear a blonde wig and blue contacts as Sue Storm, no Ioan Gruffudd isn’t everyone’s cuppa tea as Reed Richards, but for some reason, I’m a fan. And Evans as the cocky Johnny Storm is a big reason for that, especially his banter with Michael Chiklis’ Ben Grimm.

Rating out of 5: 3.5

 

8) Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)

Hot? Hair gone bad again – nooooooooo.

The much-maligned sequel is harder to defend from criticism but I remember enjoying it? I dunno, it’s been a while.

Rating out of 5: 2.5

 

9) The Nanny Diaries (2007)

Hot? Despite the 2000s doing everything they can to make him not hot, he has a pretty smokin’ energy at times in this.

One of only two films out of this list of 25 with a woman director (do better, Evans!). The Nanny Diaries is pretty fun and has a surprisingly good cast, as Scar-Jo plays a nanny to Laura Linney and Paul Giamatti. Evans plays the ‘Harvard Hottie’ who lives in the same Park Avenue building as the super-rich couple that Scar-Jo is working for. I was torn between discomfort at seeing any kind of romantic energy between Evans and Scar-Jo (because it’s like watching siblings kiss), but at the same time, they do have some chemistry…

Rating out of 5: 3

 

10) Sunshine (2007)

Hot? Mr Cocky Close-Crop is back, baby. You love to see it.

This is definitely one of the best films of Evans’ pre-Cap period. This Danny Boyle/Alex Garland sci-fi film, again, has a stacked cast including Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, Michelle Yeoh, Cliff Curtis, Benedict Wong and Mark Strong. There are a lot of parallels between this and Snowpiercer, with an international cast in a confined space and an ‘environmental crisis’ plot. In both Sunshine and Snowpiercer, the Earth is freezing (or frozen) but for different reasons. In Sunshine, the crew of a spaceship have to try and to ‘restart’ the dying sun and predictably, things go awry.

Rating out of 5: 4

 

11) The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond (2008)

Hot? Yes but that does not mean there aren’t problems…

I’ll be honest, Chris Evans in a Tennessee Williams screenplay set in the 1920s, directed by a woman, is pretty much my platonic ideal of a film but for some reason, there is something off about this. Bryce Dallas Howard plays heiress Fisher Willow and Evans plays Jimmy (from the other side of the tracks). Jimmy becomes Fisher’s ‘paid escort’ to some society parties, a $5k earring goes missing, it’s a whole drama. Veterans Ann-Margaret and Ellen Burstyn have supporting roles, as does Mamie Gummer. Although Evans has done a few period roles (obviously The First Avenger is set in WWII), for some reason, he just feels anachronistic and wrong in 1920s costumes. His haircut doesn’t seem right and he doesn’t exactly disappear convincingly into the role of a Southern gent in the 1920s. I wish I liked this more, it should be right up my street, but for some reason, it doesn’t really work.

Rating out of 5: 3

 

12) Street Kings (2008)

Hot? ACAB

The last thing anyone needs right now is a cop movie, even if it does have Evans, Keanu and Hugh Laurie.

Rating out of 5: 2

 

13) Push (2009)

Hot? Bad hair but he certainly has his moments in this.

Director Paul McGuigan has an eclectic resume, to say the least, but some highlights are Lucky Number Slevin (2006), Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (2017) and Push. It’s a kinda unusual superhero movie (which is more adult-leaning than the MCU, more like Watchmen or Kick-Ass) set in Hong Kong, in which Evans and Dakota Fanning make a great central double-act (he’s in a surrogate big brother/father role, not unlike Gifted). Some terrific action, violence and effects make up for a confusing storyline.

Rating out of 5: 3.5

 

14) The Losers (2010)

Hot? I don’t even know where to begin. An absolute catalogue of errors, starting with the bleached-blonde hair, moving onto the round John Lennon/Harry Potter glasses and ending at the horrific goatee – and that’s just his head. The 2000s fashion crimes are STILL plaguing our boy, even in 2010! This is the absolute rock bottom, in terms of Evans looks. But this is all hilarious.

The film itself is a ton of fun and Evans seems to be having a ball as more of the nerdy geek comic relief (think Randy in Scream) than a cocky jock. This A-Team style film has a good ensemble cast – Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Idris Elba and Jason Patric. Like many of these kind of action movies, it has a convoluted and (to me, anyway, almost incomprehensible) plot but it’s still a fun ride, with some good banter between the team. Definitely worth watching to see Evans as you’ve probably never seen him – his hair, clothes and personality are thoroughly against-type.

Rating out of 5: 3

 

15) Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010)

Hot? Hahahahahahahaha.

This is probably the highlight of Evans’ comedic roles – it would be great to see him continue to work with directors such as Edgar Wright and Rian Johnson, who know how to utilise and exploit his talent for playing cocky rich asshats. Evans’ eyebrow acting in his role of Lucas Lee (one of Ramona Flowers’ seven evil exes) is unparalleled, plus he gets to do some cool skateboard tricks AND appear on a range of spoof movie posters, all of which need to be made into real movies. Scott Pilgrim has an incredible cast, a quotable quick-fire script and cool comic book/video game visuals and action. It’s the kind of film that you can tell would have been an absolute blast to work on and makes me jealous that I wasn’t in the cast or crew. Definitely a top-tier Evans film.

Rating out of 5: 5

 

16) What’s Your Number? (2011)

Hot? Bad hair, but other than that – HOT. Spends a good portion of the film partially naked.

Really good rom-coms are hard to find, so one when one comes along, we must cherish it. Anna Faris (an underrated comedienne) stars as a young woman who realises that she’s slept with “too many” guys (yes, the premise ain’t great, but I promise it’s worth sticking with) and therefore needs to track down her exes so she can try and get back together with one of them. Look, it doesn’t make much sense, but honestly, this really is a great time. Her exes are played by Evans’ MCU teammates Chris Pratt, Anthony Mackie and Martin Freeman, as well as Zachary Quinto, Andy Samberg and Dave Annable. Faris and Evans have great chemistry as enemies-to-friends-to-lovers. I would honestly give this 5 stars, if it weren’t for a horrible couple of minutes where Faris and Pratt are in fatsuits.

Rating out of 5: 4

 

17) Puncture AKA Injustice (2011)

Hot? No

There are some parallels between this and Half Nelson (2006), in which Ryan Gosling was Oscar nominated for playing a drug-addicted teacher. Puncture is based on a true story in which Evans plays a drug-addicted lawyer trying to win a case involving the use of safety needles in hospitals. It also has elements of films based on real-life investigations or court cases eg. Erin Brockovich, Spotlight and the recent Dark Waters. Because of the subject-matter and Evans’ role, it’s pretty downbeat/serious and not that enjoyable or memorable.

Rating out of 5: 2.5

 

18) The Iceman (2012) [first post-Cap release]

Hot? Honestly the 70s clothes, wigs and moustaches work for me. Hey, they’re better than 2000s fashion.

This film about real-life hitman Richard Kuklinski (played here by Michael Shannon) takes place from the 1960s-1980s, perhaps trying to replicate the epic saga that was Goodfellas. A running theme in Evans’ filmography is that he works with stacked ensemble casts, but the film often doesn’t live up to the promise of the quality of the actors involved. Winona Ryder, Stephen Dorff, David Schwimmer, James Franco and of course Ray Liotta round out the cast. Evans plays a fellow hit-man who gets to wear a good range of wigs, moustaches and disguises. Michael Shannon (who Evans teams up with again in Knives Out) can do no wrong and has never given a bad performance, including in Pottersville (please look it up), so he’s always going to elevate the material. I mean, it’s no Goodfellas, but it’s worth a watch.

Rating out of 5: 3

 

19) Snowpiercer (2013)

Hot? Feels wrong to say it, but yes?

Definitely my favourite Evans performance and the best film he’s been in, for my money. Directed by Bong Joon-ho and starring Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Octavia Spencer, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris, Ewen Bremner, Luke Pasqualino, Alison Pill, Song Kang-ho and Ko Asung. Director Bong fought interference from Harvey Weinstein to bring his vision to fruition, but it ended up not getting the release it deserved (with no release at all in the UK). The acting, the production design and the violence make this film as exceptional as it is. Evans as Curtis – the reluctant leader of the rebellion, fighting his way from the tail section of the train all the way to the engine – is just so good. I would love to see Evans making more films as bold and brilliant as this.

Rating out of 5: 5

 

20) Playing it Cool (2014)

Hot? YAS! ESPECIALLY AS THE NOIR-MANIFESTATION OF HIS COLD, COLD HEART. HOTTEST EVANS EVER.

Another great rom-com on the Evans resume and this time a thoroughly batshit one (which is a huge plus in my eyes). Evans plays a movie screenwriter who usually writes action, but for some MacGuffiny reason, is told by his agent (played by Anthony Mackie! Again!) that he has to write a rom-com. Evans’ friends in this movie are Topher Grace, Aubrey Plaza, Martin Starr and Luke Wilson and his love interest is played by Michelle Monaghan. Matthew Morrison from Glee (who surprise surprise does something thoroughly cringe-worthy) and Ashley Tisdale from High School Musical play themselves! The best/worst thing is that Evans’ imagines himself as various roles, including a WWII sailor (hello), an astronaut (fun) a woman (pretty funny) and um… a Chinese man? (stop, you’ve gone to far). It’s the kind of film you need to watch to really ‘get’ and although it definitely has problems and is hella messy, it’s also really enjoyable. I want/demand an entire film of Evans playing a dark, depressed Noir 1940s/50s detective character, which we see only too briefly here. He even tap-dances on a pier at the end, giving us a hint of his musical skills…

Rating out of 5: 4

 

21) Before We Go (2014)

Hot? Hell yes.

Evans as director! He tried to salvage a not-great script that had multiple writers (and presumably rewrites) and the result is… not as terrible as he seems to think it is. I certainly hope it doesn’t put him off directing again. A romantic film set in one long night in New York with Evans and Alice Eve playing a couple forced together by circumstance (she’s been mugged but needs to get home on a deadline). Is it realistic? No. Is it still enjoyable? Mostly, yes! Clearly I’m a sucker for a romance and generally feel starved of romantic content, so it doesn’t have to be amazing to appease me, but …. I like this! Don’t judge me!

Rating out of 5: 3.5

 

22) Gifted (2017)

Hot? “Daddy” Evans? Absolutely YES.

A nice gentle drama with some great performances. STEM-prodigy films are a niche genre, but can be a great (1997’s Good Will Hunting, 2005’s Proof) or horrible Oscar-baity fare (2001’s A Beautiful Mind, 2014’s The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything). Gifted is at the better end of the spectrum, with Mckenna Grace playing Mary, a child prodigy whose mother ended her own life after working on a ‘Milennium Problem’ for years. She is being raised by her Uncle Frank (Evans), with support from his neighbour Roberta (his Snowpiercer co-star Octavia Spencer). Frank’s mother Evelyn (the brilliant Lindsay Duncan) then enters into a custody battle with Frank, because she wants to raise Mary to fulfill her potential as a prodigy, rather than waste her life being a ‘normal’ kid. Evans’ real-life girlfriend (for a while) Jenny Slate plays Mary’s teacher and Frank’s love interest. Evans has a great natural chemistry with Grace and yes, it is irresistible to see Evans in a paternal role.

Rating out of 5: 3.5

 

23) The Red Sea Diving Resort (2019)

Hot? The hair and beard might be Peak Hot Evans. Add in Huisman and we’re really cookin’ on gas.

This Netflix film really only has one aspect to recommend it and that is getting to see a pretty great cast – Evans, Michiel Huisman, Alessandro Nivola, Alex Hassell, Swallow‘s Hayley Bennett and Michael Kenneth Williams in fantastic 70s clothes and hair. Evans and Huisman, in particular, are a feast for the eyes. Unfortunately, this is a white saviour film which doesn’t treat any of the real people involved as complex characters, but rather as generic heroes, victims and villains. It pulls off the feat of being bland, boring and forgettable, while also being quite offensive in its treatment of real people and events. It is both bad and hot, that’s all I can say (you’re better off finding photos and gifs related to this film rather than watching the film itself).

Rating out of 5: 1.5

 

24) Knives Out (2019)

Hot? Alas, no. Clean-shaven Evans in this day and age? Unforgivable. Even the fantastic Aran sweater only makes up for so much.

An enjoyable film which I didn’t love as much as most people. I found it quite predictable and boring and I suspect that aspects of the script will not age well. It does, however, have a fantastic cast and costumes, with Jamie Lee Curtis pulling off those power suits with aplomb. Ana de Armas, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, Katherine Langford, Daniel Craig and an underused Lakeith Stanfield round out the ensemble. Evans is great in his villainous role and I would like to see him work with Johnson again, as he’s the sort of director who knows how to get a certain fun kinda performance out of him.

Rating out of 5: A controversial 3.

 

25) Defending Jacob (TV, 2020)

Hot? Yes (from what we can see through the gloom)

Ugh. I have watched all 8 episodes and I’m sorry to say that I strongly disliked this Apple TV show. I kept hoping that the finale might turn things around and while the last episode was probably the best, it still wasn’t enough to salvage this dull dud of a show. My main beef with it is the “serious drama blue filter” placed over the entire thing, which makes it unrelentingly gloomy and hard to watch. The few points of interest include Pablo Schreiber, Cherry Jones, Betty Gabriel and JK Simmons (playing Evans’ incarcerated father) but none of them are in it enough to liven up proceedings significantly. Similarly with excellent Australian actor Daniel Henshall (Snowtown, The Babadook), who plays a suspect. The central trio of Evans, wife Michelle Dockery and teenage son – the titular Jacob, played by Evans’ Knives Out co-star Jaeden Martell are forced to play “super-serious” for eight hours and while they are all good actors, it just gets too much and is not enjoyable to watch. The story was not gripping enough to justify the misery, for me.

Rating out of 5: 2


So where will Evans head next? Fingers crossed for musicals (on film), more theatrical roles (after his turn in Lobby Hero) and more chances to see Evans as a writer and/or director. Television is also a good option, but please make your next TV role more fun than the last one, Christopher!

Anyway, for now, all that’s left to say is:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY EVANS!


If you enjoyed this deep dive into Evans’ filmography, Fiona has also written up similar pieces on Midsommar’s Jack Reynor and 1917‘s George MacKay