Chris Evans vs. Joaquin Phoenix: Both to Play Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

Chris Evans is widely known for portraying the righteous, altruistic, and morally upstanding Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On the other hand, Joaquin Phoenix is known for an eclectic arrangement of eccentric characters — from the Joker to Freddie Quell in The Master, Phoenix is quite practiced when it comes to playing the troubled and traumatized.

MCU star Chris Evans and Joaquin Phoenix
MCU star Chris Evans | Jason Merritt/TERM / Staff and Joaquin Phoenix | Matt Winkelmeyer / Staff

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde seem apropos for Phoenix, given his prior character choices. As for Chris Evans, the role will be a leap outside his action-oriented and comedic inclinations. Yet, what do we know about both portrayals? Let’s discuss the confirmed Evans-led production and the movie rumors surrounding Phoenix.

MCU star Chris Evans and ‘Jekyll’

According to Deadline, Ruben Fleischer will direct Chris Evans in Lionsgate’s Jekyll. The feature will be based on the 2007 BBC One series of the same name starring James Nesbitt in the title role. The series followed Tom Jackman — the last living descendent of the famous Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. 

Though Jackman has made a deal with his dark side, Hyde doesn’t know he has a family, and Jackman will do anything to keep them safe — to keep them a secret from Mr. Hyde. He has help from a psychiatric nurse, and the two live in a fortified basement doing all in their power to keep the odds ever in their favor. Yet, Hyde is no fool; he is a monster with a mind, and he will challenge Jackman’s own intellect. But, there’s one more twist.

The plot thickens, as the audience comes to discover that an ancient organization (one both wealthy and powerful) is monitoring the duo’s every move. Whether the feature movie will directly follow the same narrative remains unknown; however, it will likely emulate the show more than Robert Louis Stevenson’s original novel. 

Seeing Evans take on an iteration of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde will be quite entertaining, as such a role is a drastic departure from his norm; the depiction will likely require stylized acting and an eccentricity custom of character roles (akin to the ones Johnny Depp often selects). Yet, based on recent reports he may have some competition, as Universal Studios may be looking to release their own Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde movie, putting Oscar-winner Joaquin Phoenix up against Evans. 

Insider reports suggest that ‘Joker’ lead Joaquin Phoenix may play Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in a Univeral production

According to We Got This Covered, Universal Studios is eyeing recent Academy Award-winner Joaquin Phoenix to star as the lead in a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde remake. WGTC reported – relying on the same sources who knew Scream was in the works and that a Swamp Thing movie is in development – that the studio is working on a contemporary adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel. 

It’s likely that, If Universal Studios goes forward with the movie, it will retain the original’s eerie intrigue, while modernizing the approach for an overly desensitized viewing audience. However, here’s to hoping that both possible depictions retain the original’s timeless themes: the duality at the core of human nature, the relationship between innocence and violence, as well as secrecy and repression. 

Who will play it better? Can Evans compete in a space that utterly aligns with Phoenix’s whole shtick? Or, does Evans — in an odd way — have the upper hand; people will expect Phoenix to rise to this particular occasion, which may make it more impactful if and when Evans delivers an incomparable performance.