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Evan Baxter is a supporting character in the 2003 comedy Bruce Almighty and the main character of its 2007 sequel Evan Almighty.
He is Bruce Nolan's former rival and former anchor at Buffalo New York. In the sequel, Evan becomes a congressman and God instructs him to build an ark. Now no matter where he goes, animals keep following him, his beard grows larger and larger (and instantly grows back in when he tries to shave it) while everybody around him begins to think he's going crazy.
He is portrayed by Steve Carell.
Evan Baxter is Bruce's rival who constantly mocks Bruce Nolan over his mediocre news stories compared to Evan's more exciting ones. When Evan gets the anchor job, Bruce goes on a hysterical tirade during his report at Niagara Falls, resulting in him getting fired.
Bruce later gets his job back and botches Evan's news report by using his godly powers to make Evan babble incoherently, resulting in Evan getting fired and Bruce getting the anchor position.
However, Bruce sees how much chaos he has done with his godly powers and gives Evan his anchor job back.
Evan becomes the main protagonist in the sequel. He leaves his hometown of Buffalo, New York and moves to Washington DC to become a congressman. His congressional campaign officially declares that he will change the world. Evan prays to God to give him this opportunity. His wife, Joan, also prays that she, Evan and their three sons Dylan, Jordan and Ryan will be closer together as a family. On his first day in Congress, Evan receives a letter from his greedy boss, Chuck Long, provides him with a prime office, his three congressional staffers Rita Daniels, Marty Stringer and Eugene Tennanbaum,, and the opportunity to join Long as the junior co-sponsor to his Citizens' Integration of Public Lands Act (CINPLAN) bill. This reuslts in Evan reluctantly breaking his promise to take his sons hiking. Over the next several days, however strange events in Evan's life occur:
- Eight vacant lots in Prestige Crest are purchased under his name, and ancient tools and gopher wood are delivered there.
- Animals start follow Evan around even into Congress.
- He uncontrollably starts growing a beard that would never go away no matter how many times he shaves.
- The number 614 starts appearing throughout his daily routines.
Evan comes to realize that this number actually refers to the verse in the Book of Genesis, where God instructs Noah to build an Ark in preparation for a flood. Although Evan initially rejects this idea, God himself starts appearing to Evan in various guises, assuring him a flood is coming and the only way Evan can save the world will be to save his community instead. Evan himself decides to start building the ark with the tools and materials provided, giving him an opportunity to get closer to his sons, though Joan sees this as a mid-life crisis.
Although Evan still maintains his career in Congress, his appearance and the animals that keep following him start to become very disruptive. God reappears and provides Evan a robe, though warns him the flood will come mid-day on September 22. When Evan dons the robe, he finds he is unable to wear any other clothes, the robe seemingly displacing anything else he wears. Outraged by Evan's slothful appearance, Long fires him and his name is removed from the Public Land Act bill. Evan suspects God had him fired to spend more time on the ark, and continues to do so, becoming a public spectacle and of ridicule. Believing that Evan has gone insane, Joan leaves him, although she encounters God in disguise as a waiter at a diner. After hearing her concern about Evan's mental state, God assures Joan that she should see this as an opportunity for the entire family to get closer to each other. Joan is inspired and finally returns to help Evan finish the ark to prepare for the flood.
As September 22 nears, many people have come out to support Evan's project, including the staffers he had. One shows Evan researches that he had found on Long, specifically that he had planned to build Prestige Crest after damming off a nearby water source, but Long had cut many corners in building the dam. The staffers suspect Long would do the same with the Public Land Act Bill. On September 22, with the ark complete, the police try to destroy the ark with a wrecking ball, as it violates land codes. As animals start to amass near the ark, and rain falls, Evan realizes that the flood will be a result of Long's dam failing, destroying Prestige Crest. He warns the onlookers to either evacuate or get aboard the ark as he loads his entire family and the gathered animals aboard. The dam indeed breaks, destroying all the houses of Prestige Crest, but Evan's foresight saves all the lives there. The ark later floods the streets of Washington D.C. and comes to its final destination in front of the Capitolduring the controversial vote of the Public Land Act Bill, interrupting it. This results in Evan accusing Long's cost-cutting for the dam's failure, leading to several other members of Congress voting against the bill.
Long is being put under investigation for his profiteering and ethics, while all the animals are returned to their natural habitats. Evan is finally reinstated in Congress, all the changes forced on him by God no longer remaining. Evan re-encounters God during the hike, and expresses concern that he did not need to build the ark to show the problem with Long's dam, but God retorts that Evan's life is now perfect as he prayed for, being closer to his family and having changed the world for the better through his one Act of Random Kindness (ARK). During the film's closing credits, God issues a new commandment to the outgoing audience: "Thou shalt do the dance." This is later followed by a footage depicting the film's cast and crew members dancing to C+C Music Factory's hit song "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)."