From the start, Evans Cinema was a dream job.
The former director of London’s famed East End theatre, the company’s marquee marquee in the National Theatre was the first of its kind, the world first, and Evans made a killing, with films that won him acclaim and awards.
Then, in 2010, Evans got a call from one of the film’s producers, the late Peter Beardsley.
Evans knew what the producer was talking about: Beardsly had been the co-producer on the hit British crime drama, The Killing.
“Peter said, ‘Look, I have this script,’ ” Evans recalls.
He was a seasoned producer with experience of doing things that had gone badly for his previous productions, and the deal was done. “
Evans had no idea what Hornby meant, but the idea of having Hornby come on board with a film he’d never made was irresistible.
He was a seasoned producer with experience of doing things that had gone badly for his previous productions, and the deal was done.
Hornby and Evans agreed that the film would be shot in a style that was not “the film you’re familiar with,” and Evans was to be the director.
Hornly and Evans would produce, then be on set as extras and on set to film as a cameraman and assistant cameraman, a role that would become the focus of much of the documentary filmography that followed.
The Killing, which Evans co-wrote with fellow East End screenwriter Tom Widdicombe, is still one of his most revered films, and a rare film in which the story is told in a way that appeals to audiences.
It won an Oscar in 2013 and a BAFTA award in 2016.
The story is about a killer who, after a series of murders, returns home to a quiet, middle-class London where he lives with his parents.
His wife, who is his best friend, is also a widow and has an autistic son, but he also has a younger sister and two younger brothers.
As he begins to think about his life, the killer is also contemplating killing his wife and her son.
It’s a chilling and devastating scene.
Evans, now 65, was a director before Hornby was. “
I was always a director of the next one and it would have been fantastic to have been the next film to go in the same vein,” he says.
Evans, now 65, was a director before Hornby was.
He has never done anything as successful as the first Mummy, which grossed $2.6 billion worldwide, but Evans has always been at the centre of the franchise, in a film that became a cult classic and won the 2012 Oscar for best picture.
Now, in his third film, he is the director again, this time as a producer.
The new Mummy opens on November 12.
But this time Evans, who has also directed three films since The Killing (and is now producing his fourth, a remake of The Muppet Show), is the sole director.
He is joined by a young, new-ish director from another British film-making lineage: director-producers are the latest in a long line of actors and directors who have signed on to make movies.
For Evans, it was a big decision to get into the business.
It was not a career move, he says, but a natural evolution of what he’d always wanted to do with his career.
“You just have to look at what it is you love about film-makers,” he explains.
“It’s not just making movies, it’s the story and the experience of making them.
It can be very lonely, sometimes.”
The first Muppet film, Muppets All-Stars, grossed more than $3 billion at the box office.
Evans and the Muppeteers co-star Ed Helms were part of the original cast and the first production to break the mould in Hollywood.
They were among the first to have a female co-writer, who worked closely with Evans and Helms, and had a huge impact on the film.
“Ed Helms has always said that he has a very special place in his heart for me,” Evans says.
“We both grew up in a family where there was no money, so the idea that you can go into a film industry and make films that have a huge social impact and still have to pay your rent, that is what I wanted to try to do.”
He says he was attracted to directing because it was an escape from his own life, as he recalls.
He says the only time he felt lonely was when he would be shooting a scene and the camera would be on his shoulder