Chris Evans took a risk with Dennis—but unfortunately, it didn't pay off.
While the actor appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Monday to promote Gifted, he surprised the host—and an unsuspecting audience member—by releasing the trailer for his new film, Dennis. "I think what I'm really looking for is one of those gritty, Oscar-caliber biopics, where you really kind of lose yourself in a character. I mean, it's tough, because all the best personalities have had movies made about them. In my opinion, I think what you've got to do is go out and find the person yourself. And that's exactly what I did," he said in mock seriousness. "I found him."
As luck would have it, his subject happened to be in the audience. "I'm playing you, buddy!" Evans said. "His name is Dennis Baker. I've been following him around for about six weeks now. I really got inside. It's been a while now, but I know how Dennis sleeps, how he eats. The more you lose yourself in a role, they more they acknowledge it. Everything about you, I know now."
Baker asked, "Have you been stalking me?"
"No," Evans replied. "I've been researching you, Dennis—for cinema." Evans knew he would be in the audience, so he brought the film's trailer "as a treat to everyone," but "mostly to Dennis."
Evans wrote, directed and starred in the NC-17 movie.
The reviews for Dennis weren't kind:
• The New York Times: "Chris Evans delivers the performance of a generation as Dennis. A broken, pathetic shell of a man with nothing to live for."
• The Chicago Sun-Times: "A portrait of failure...a brutal, soul-crushing glimpse into an empty, wasted life."
• Newsweek: "A man undeserving of love or human touch itself."
• Rolling Stone: "A tour de force of tragedy. An orgy of sadness and unbearable, rock-bottom despair."
At the very least, Dennis is self-aware; its tagline is "He Sucks." Jimmy Kimmel called it a "brave" performance, but Evans was more interested in what Baker had to say. "Dennis, did you like it?" he asked. A shocked Baker replied, "Not really...You made me look like a goober."
That didn't sit well with Kimmel, who told Baker to apologize. "Maybe be grateful that Chris told this beautiful story about your life," he scolded, "instead of criticizing everything he does."