'Gifted' Shows Chris Evans In A New Light

by Taylor Ferber
Fox Searchlight

The world may view Captain America in a whole new light after watching the indie film Gifted. In the film (released in select theaters April 7 and nationwide April 21), Chris Evans surrenders his shield and gives an emotional, humanizing portrayal of a man trying to do right by his genius niece. His co-star Jenny Slate, known for her work in comedy, also shifts gears as she portrays an empathetic school teacher. The two are showcased in a way audiences have yet to see them and they're backed by an incredible cast, making the story not only moving, but one worth catching.

"Chris Evans has such a great range as an actor," says co-star Octavia Spencer in the featurette below. "It's so unlike what we've seen him do in the past." Fans of the actor will be delighted to see him as Frank, a complicated man struggling to care for his niece, a child prodigy, after his sister commits suicide. He forms a father-daughter-like connection with her and it pulls at heartstrings. Frank has complications in giving Mary (Mckenna Grace) a normal life, although her intelligence level clearly surpasses that of others her age. Meanwhile, he battles a complicated relationship with his estranged mother Evelyn (played by Lindsay Duncan) all while figuring out life.

Frank is surrounded by a group of strong women played by extremely talented actors who bring even more heart to the film. "Jenny Slate is brilliant," says director Marc Webb. "We know her largely as a comedian... but she's a really fantastic actress." Slate plays Mary's teacher who fights to get Mary the education and resources she deserves. Grace, the 10-year-old who plays Mary, totally holds her own in an incredibly emotional, and at times heartbreaking, performance.

Octavia Spencer plays Roberta, Mary and Frank's friend and neighbor, also the voice of reason and comic relief. Lastly is Duncan, who fights Frank on his wishes only with motivation to provide Mary with the life her daughter sadly never had.

The characters are multilayered, relatable, and complex, and like Mary's story, prove that no one should be put in a box.