Chris Evangelou: The Actor
Chris Evangelou retired from boxing in 2016 and pursued acting. The hard work learned from boxing has paid off with tremendous dividends. Evangelou has started in The Gentlemen, as previously mentioned. In addition to that, he has a short film being released at several film festivals this year named Shadow Boxer. Shadow Boxer is a film about a fighter going for a World Title.
“It was a specialist film. So it was made more more for the film festival circuit. We’ve submitted it to 58 film festivals around the world and we’re just waiting to hear back obviously because of COVID-19. It pushed dates further back, but hopefully we’ll get into SWAT and quite a few other film festivals. It’s got a great meaning behind the good storyline.”
Combat sports athletes have been struggling with mental health for some time. Evangelou hopes this film can bring more awareness to the issue in the community.
“It’s based on inspirations and inspired from parts of my life and career and based on mental health and how mental health problems can affect anyone, boxers included. I know we’re tough guys and we’re meant to be strong alpha males but sometimes those are the guys that suffer the most. Look at Tyson Fury. He’s come out and said he has mental health issues. I don’t say problems, but issues or whatever. So he’s he’s sort of leading the world in opening up to that. I think that’s an amazing thing he’s doing. And I just want to give my part as well and tell my story.”
Another thing Shadow Boxer brings to the table is authenticity. Often time in Hollywood, actors will he picked for roles that, while they act well, the authenticity isn’t there on the more technical aspects of things. Chris Evangelou wanted to bring real boxers to the show and bring it even closer to a real fight than what’s been done before.
“I’d love to do a boxing film and you know we’ve done Shadow Boxer. One of the main reasons is I got two professional boxers doing the boxing, not actors doing the boxing. There’s a big difference because when I was watching Southpaw and made you know a great film, I loved the storyline, loved the emotion but it lacked that boxing in it. It lacked that authenticity of of actually looking like a real fight and then I saw a fighter and again Jake Gyllenhaal fantastic actor, but why why is he not getting professional boxers doing the boxing? I find what boxing films lack is that authenticity of boxing and, Shadow Boxer, I feel, captures a bit more authentic boxing because it’s done by perfect boxers.”
On the Set of The Gentlemen
In The Gentlemen, Chris Evangelou played a character named “Primetime.” He was a young kid in a boxing gym that tried to rob a weed farm owned by Matthew McConaughey’s character, Michael Pearson. His trainer, player by Colin Farrell, got him out of the trouble and Evangelou and his crew went in to do some jobs for Pearson.
Evangelou feels that the role was written for him with his boxing background. Having been there, being a boxer is second nature to him.
“So with with prime time, I it was always organic. I mean, I’ve been acting for three years now. I’ve got an agent, Mandy, I love her. She’s an amazing woman in my life because she’s the one that opens up doors for me and gets me into rooms to the auditions for massive feature films, like The Gentleman. I was driving one night and my agent Mandy texted me and said, ‘Chris, you’ve got an audition for a Guy Ritchie film.’ And I was like, ‘Man, you know, he’s one of my favorite directors. Definitely give me all the details.’ The audition was a guy called Charlie who’s in a boxing club doing some boxing hitting the bag. He’s he’s with he’s talking to his coach about a robbery and and I was like, ‘Well, I think this part was written for me except for the robbing. I’m not I’m not a thief in real life, but I’m sure I can pretend,’” Evangelou said with a smile. “Everything happens for a reason and you know, I had a whole full flourished boxing career to back my audition. I guess when they say a part was written for you, I think this one was.”
Chris Evangelou gives credit to all of his friends and family for supporting him in this role and getting him to where he is today. He recalls the moment he got the job in The Gentlemen.
“Bugzy Malone, who’s the rapper in real life, he’s a good friend and he he’s an amazing talent. So he fit that part so well. And that was his first film as well. So, you know, such a massive credit to him to that he was able to just pull off such a great performance. But it was funny enough getting the part. When I actually got the role I was in in my barber shop and all shut up in my friend’s house. He cuts my hair, and I was getting my hair cut. My agent called me and said, ‘Chris, you got it.’ And I was like, ‘What do you mean I got it? What have I got?’ She said, ‘You’re in the Guy Ritchie film. You’re gonna be in the film!’ That was probably the best phone call I’ve ever got in my life. It was it was such an amazing moment as I have won the lottery.”
His experience on set couldn’t have been better. Evangelou enjoyed working with the stunt men and such. He was enamored with his role and was happy to be part of such a good film.
“It was a lot of fun because we got to work with stunt men just having this big sort of fight that takes place. We are the naughty boys in the film, the lovable rebels. You know we’re not exactly good people but we’re funny I think and each scene we add that little bit of color to the film as well. You know, we’re adding a little bit of spice to the film.”
As for what’s next for Evangelou, he’s already finished work on a new movie coming out later this year called Caught Dead. For people who want more violence than in The Gentlemen, Evangelou says this is the movie for you.
“I finished film in a film called Caught Dead. It’s another feature film it comes out at the end of this year. This is a me thing. It’s quite far away from from London, it’s like a five hour drive. I had to stay there for four months on location. That comes out at the end of the year. And that’s based on another gangster film. I guess I get typecast as an English gangster so I don’t mind too much and there’s a lot of swearing in it. A lot of fights also. It’s quite graphic as well. It’s a proper London gangster film so that’s that’s gonna be a little bit more bit more blood in that one, I reckon.”
Evangelou had the opportunity to work with some of the best names in Hollywood. In addition to being in a Guy Ritchie movie starring Matthew McConaughey, he had the opportunity to work very closely with former Sons of Anarchy lead, Charlie Hunnam and Colin Farrell who has been in too many movies to name. Evangelou speaks highly of the words of encouragement given to him from such large names in the industry.
“So with Charlie Hunnam, I spent a bit of time with him. He’s a really, really good guy. He’s such a such a nice guy to speak to but I got to speak to him Colin Farrell a lot because my scenes are based with him mostly. We spoke for hours really, because you know between setups and that and I was picking his brain about his career and how he made it you know. He was telling me about how he made it, got his first break and Tigerland and things like that. When he was saying that it was so inspirational to hear; this Hollywood movie star telling me how he made it. And then he said to me, ‘Look, you’re on you’re in this film, you’re on set of a Guy Ritchie movie. You’ve got great part. This is happening for you. You just got to keep going and that’s gonna happen. This is just a bit of time and a bit of luck and you’re going to get there.’ For him to say that was just an amazing feeling. And you know, I’m talking to basically a World Champion of the Hollywood world and and I was able to get advice from him.”
Primetime Versus Adonis Creed
I love crossover movies. It’s part of the reason I find the Marvel Cinematic Universe so appealing. All of these movies have their stories and they all converge at one point to make a mega-movie. I’ve said for years that I want to see a Southpaw and Creed crossover. In jest, I asked Evangelou how Primetime would gameplan for a World Title fight with Adonis Creed.
“You’ve got to walk that guy down. You could walk him down, a few body shots. He’s got a weakness to the body and my left hook to the body was the one that was my favorite shots, their liver shot. If I just give him a little dig of that, his legs will go, believe me.
Being a former boxer, Evangelou would love to be part of such a historic franchise he looks up to so much. “I would love that they give me a call. I’ve got the weight as well put the weight on as well. From my boxing days, I’m three stone heavier than I was when I fought. It’s not fat either.”
Whatever Chris Evangelou’s next endeavor may be, he’s sure to excel at it as he’s done before. He will continue to work on and improve his acting even more as time goes.