SINGAPORE - Not too long ago, Luke Evans (right) would be recognised in the street for the wrong reasons. The dead ringer for actors James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class, 2011) and, some say, Orlando Bloom has often been told he resembles a bulked-up, hunkier version of his fellow British thespians.
"I don't mind it actually," the 34- year-old bachelor says. "You're always going to be compared to someone. It might as well be someone you respect."
Today, the Welsh native has come to be a leading man in his own right, claiming major roles as Aramis in The Three Musketeers (2011), Inspector Fields in The Raven (2012) and Apollo in Clash Of The Titans (2010).
"I seem to be doing a lot of supernatural and fantasy films," he admits. "It's still a bit surreal for me, being Zeus or Apollo. I feel really, really lucky."
The actor's latest incarnation, however, is simple and kind-hearted village dweller Bard the Bowman (far right) in Peter Jackson's much anticipated The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug. "I suppose we are similar because we are survivors," says the son of an engineer. "He has nothing, he's working class, but he makes the most of what he is."
For an actor who nailed his first film audition only at the age of 30, the change in career track has been dramatic in many ways.
"Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined I'd be put up at Claridge's and talking to reporters, or being flown to New Zealand for shoots and back, and then on to Belfast... I've never been to Belfast before," he says, still freshly minted in his newfound success.
"I came late to the world of film. But to be honest, I had never considered this path until recently. And I've done my 15 years in theatre. I've worked hard. You can't say I was thrown in the deep end."
Graduating from the London Studio Centre in 2000, Evans began his career on the floorboards via the West End's musicals, oiling his vocal cords in Avenue Q, Miss Saigon and Rent. "I've always loved singing - singing is my soul. I'd love to do a film musical someday. Acting on stage is always different - you react to your cast and to your live audience."
It was a turnaround appearance in the production of Small Change at the Donmar Warehouse in 2008 that got Evans noticed by film agents.
Bypassing stock contemporary dramas, he shot straight into the world of aristocrats and demi-gods with Clash Of The Titans as Apollo, The Three Musketeers as Aramis and The Immortals (2011) as Zeus.