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The Russo Brothers Explain How Chris Evans Landed The Villain Of The Gray Man

Chris Evans as Lloyd Hansen in The Gray Man
(Image credit: Netflix)

For nearly a decade, Chris Evans was Captain America. The actor embodied the Marvel character in 10 appearances within the MCU (11 counting that time Loki impersonated Steve Rogers in Thor: The Dark World), but then in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, the character got his happy ending. It was the end of an era for the actor, but hew as able to work with Marvel directors Joe and Anthony Russo for their upcoming movie, The Gray Man. Except this time, Evans is going the villain route. The Russo Brothers have shared how their Cap became the action flick’s antagonist. 

Chris Evans knows how to play a hero, considering he previously played Johnny Storm/The Human Torch in the Fantastic Four movies, and is voicing Buzz Lightyear in this summer’s Pixar spinoff Lightyear, but lately he has changed up the narrative. In Knives Out, Evans played family prick Ransom Drysdale, and for The Gray Man, the actor has teased that his character is not only a great villain, but also a “trainwreck.” Joe Russo shared how he got the part:

We didn't have to sell Chris on the role; Chris sold us, in a way. We were talking to him as we were wrapping up Infinity War and then Avengers: Endgame about what's next for him or where he wanted to go in his career, and he said, 'You know what? I'm comfortable enough in my life and the work I've done that I'm just interested in taking risks moving forward, and I just want to play challenging characters.' So it seemed obvious to us that the right move here would be to offer Chris the sociopath and not the hero.

When speaking to Den of Geek, The Gray Man filmmakers shared that Chris Evans disclosed to them his frame of mind moving forward with roles following his long tenure as Captain America. As it turns out, Evans really wants to challenge himself moving forward and perhaps take on roles that scare him or are the polar opposite of what he’s done before. Thus came Lloyd Hansen, and as the Russos recently quipped, they turned America’s Ass to America’s Asshole

The Gray Man, which is one of many Netflix upcoming adaptations based on books, Ryan Gosling stars as Court Gentry, a CIA black ops mercenary who is forced to go on the run after uncovering incriminating secrets about his agency. Evans’ Lloyd Hansen is his unhinged former colleague who leads the manhunt to capture him. Unlike Evans' other roles, the actor said Lloyd is “liberated, free and honest,” and a character he’s “never been able to play” in the past. 

The upcoming flick is reportedly the most expensive Netflix film ever made, with a production budget of $200 million. The Gray Man also stars Ana de Armas, Bridgerton’s Regé-Jean Page, Billy Bob Thornton, Alfre Woodard and The Matrix Resurrections' Jessica Henwick. Chris Evans’ villain role will be available to stream with a Netflix subscription on July 22. 

Speaking of movies that may challenge Chris Evans, the actor is reportedly getting ready to portray Gene Kelly for a movie based on an original idea by the actor himself. After many years as Marvel’s most straight-laced hero, it’s great to see this new Evans era unfold. 

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