By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com January 13, 2012 at 9:55PM
Even though he's now a bona-fide A-lister thanks to the success of "Captain America: The First Avenger," we're not sure people give Chris Evans enough credit. He's consistently been the best thing in crummy movies from "Fantastic Four" and "The Losers" to "London" and "Puncture," and when he gets the right material, like his raucous cameo in "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" or an impressive dramatic turn in Danny Boyle's "Sunshine," he really flies. Even his contribution to last summer's period superhero film seems to be undervalued; the film only half works, but that it works at all is in large part down to Evans' note-perfect performance in a difficult, near-saintly role.
He's going to get another chance in a few short months to reprise that part, in what Joss Whedon essentially describes as the lead in superhero mash-up "The Avengers," but the actor's using his downtime between Marvel movies to choose some interesting little projects; he's currently filming mob tale "The Ice Man," having stepped in for James Franco, and now he has lined up his next project -- a film that might be this writer's single most anticipated film of the next few years.
According to Variety, Evans is in negotiations to star in "Snow Piercer," the sci-fi film that will mark the English-language debut of acclaimed Korean helmer Bong Joon-Ho. The director, one of our favorite working filmmakers, came to fame thanks to true-crime tale "Memories of Murder" (like "Zodiac," but better. And that's no slight on "Zodiac"), before wowing international audiences with socio-political monster movie "The Host," and the tone-leaping Hitchcockian morality melodrama "Mother" -- his films have, to date, been thrilling, funny, beautifully made, and entirely surprising, and we're expecting nothing less from this.
"Snow Piercer," set in a post-apocalyptic winter world, takes place on board a train full of survivors, divided by class, battling to stay alive, and is based on the French graphic novel "Le Transperceneige," created by Jacques Lob. And Joon-Ho isn't the only beloved Korean director involved, as he co-wrote the script with Park Chan-Wook, the director of "Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance" and "Oldboy," who's just himself made his first Western film in "Stoker," with Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska, which will land later in the year.
Evans joins Joon-Ho favorite Song Kang-Ho ("Memories of Murder"), who was already cast in the film, as a character compared to Han Solo. The cast is expected to have an international flavor, with a number of Western actors believed to be interested in the project, which has a $35 million budget.
Kudos to Evans for signing on to this one; we can't say we've been enamored of all his choices, but working with Joon-Ho seems like a no-brainer, and we can't wait to see how it turns out. Filming gets underway in March, so we should hear some more casting before too long, and hopefully the film will arrive by Cannes 2013, although we're crossing our fingers dangerously hard that it'll be along before then.