Ever since leaving Captain America behind, Chris Evans seems determined to shed the mantle of superhero by playing villains. His first role post-Cap was in Knives Out; sometime this year he has an Apple TV show about a dad whose son maybe killed a classmate, which isn’t exactly a villain role but is definitely morally conflicted in a way Captain America is not; and now he is in talks to play Orin Scrivello, the bad-guy dentist in an upcoming remake of Little Shop of Horrors (the role was played by Steve Martin in the 1986 movie). Taron Egerton and Scarlett Johansson are also in talks for the film.
Evans is a confessed musical theater fan, so this fits both as a passion project, and his post-Cap villain streak. I’m into this new Little Shop 100% because Billy Porter is going to voice Audrey II, and if ever there is a way to entice me into a musical it is with the promise of Billy Porter as a carnivorous plant. The rest of the casting has me less enthusiastic. Egerton is fine, though I’d rather see Jake Gyllenhaal after the tease of his two-nights-only turn on Broadway; ScarJo, I guess; but at least Chris Evans will be fun as a villainous dentist. Of course, everyone is now wondering if he can sing. The answer is “better than Russell Crowe in Les Miserables but not as well as an actual Broadway star”. Check out Evans singing here:
This is par for the course for new-wave Hollywood movie musicals. They are chock full of actors who either can’t sing—what was Ray Winstone doing in Cats?—or can sing as well as your average high school musical theater troupe. Little Shop having Billy Porter, an actual Broadway star, on board already sets them ahead of 95% of modern Hollywood movie musicals. Also, can you IMAGINE this press tour? Between Chris Evans’ commitment to colorful suits and Billy Porter’s commitment to HIGH DRAMA on the red carpet, it will unquestionably be the best thing about this movie.