Since news broke earlier this year that Lionsgate will be developing a big-screen version of the British mini-series Jekyll, fans have been on tenterhooks wondering who would take the lead on the project. The original series, which was shown on BBC One in 2007, stars James Nesbitt (The Hobbit trilogy, The Missing) as Dr. Tom Jackson/Hyde. The series is described as a sequel to the classic novella, taking place in the modern world as a new Doctor plays host to his evil side – Mr Hyde.
Written by current Doctor Who showrunner and Sherlock co-creator Steven Moffat, Jekyll combines classic horror with conspiracy theories and taut drama, and could make for an impressive film. Now we know who Lionsgate is eyeing to star in the big-screen adaptation as Dr Jackson, the pivotal role in the film; a choice that would certainly bring more attention to the project, but a darker, more horror-centric role would be a change for this action star.
Deadline is reporting that Chris Evans is the current favorite for the Dr. Jackson role, although the Marvel actor isn’t yet confirmed for the Jekyll film. Written by Anthony Bagarozzi (The Nice Guys) and Charles Mondry (Adam Wingard’s in-production Death Note) and with Ellen DeGeneres and Jeff Kleeman producing, the project is still in the very early stages of casting and has yet to sign a director. No release date is attached to the film, either, and Evans is the only name that has come up so far for the cast.
The role of Dr. Jackson would be a big change for Evans, who is best known for his work as Captain America in the Marvel Avengers franchise. However, he is not likely to be appearing in another Marvel movie until The Avengers: Infinity War in 2018 (although it’s possible that he may show up before then), which leaves him plenty of time to film something new. This may also not be the only version of the Jekyll/Hyde character coming to our screens in the near future — Russel Crowe has been confirmed to play Universal’s version of the character in The Mummy next year.
Should Evans pick up the Jekyll role, this will be a good opportunity for the actor to stretch himself, expanding more on the kind of darker, moodier character that we saw a little of in the more recent Captain America outings. Taking on a more horror-centric role will also be a good way for the star to remind fans that he has range beyond superheroes, as he also did in 2014 with his performance in the post-apocalyptic sci-fi action/drama, Snowpiercer. Having appeared in the Fantastic Four franchise prior to the Avengers, Evans certainly has enough spandex-clad roles under his belt, and is most likely itching to do something quite different. Evans’s inclusion in the project would also be a win for Lionsgate, and would garner more attention for Jekyll.
However, some fans may worry that this is simply too much of a departure for Evans, who has stuck primarily to action and rom-coms in the past. He is also psychically very different from the original Dr. Jackson, who definitely doesn’t have the stunning ken-doll good looks and rippling muscles that Evans boasts. Still, this may be intentional — it’s important that the film version of Jekyll puts its own spin on the story, rather than simply re-telling the miniseries in a new format. We’ll have to wait and see if Evans signs on the dotted line, and we can’t wait to find out who the rest of the cast will be, if that happens.
We’ll keep you updated on Jekyll as development continues.