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INT: Chris Evans

09.09.2004

Chris Evans is ready for the big time. After cutting his teeth with teen fare like THE PERFECT SCORE and NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE, the young actor, pegged as one of the hot young talents in Hollywood, is stepping up to more adult-oriented work with the fast-paced thriller CELLULAR. Opening this Friday, it also stars Kim Basinger and William H. Macy and is directed by David Ellis, the prolific stunt coordinator and director of FINAL DESTINATION 2.

 

Next summer, Evans is likely to make the leap to superstar status with the highly-anticipated FANTASTIC FOUR, where he'll play gay porn star Johnny Storm. Ok, that's not exactly true – Johnny Storm is actually the alter ego of the superhero The Human Torch. But the name just has "gay porn" written all over it. But that’s just one heterosexual man’s opinion. Evans stopped by the Loews Hotel in Santa Monica last week to talk about making Cellular. He also dished out a few tidbits about Fantastic Four. Check it out.

CHRIS EVANS

Ideally, what sort of acting career would you like to have?

Well ideally, if I could make for myself any movie career for myself that I chose, I would probably love to have one like Chris Cooper or Billy Crudup. These guys do great work; they work all the time. They have the respect of the people in the industry and they can walk down the street and nobody knows who the hell they are. I mean, what more perfect career could you ask for?

I just don’t want to get lost in…I just want to pick things that, regardless of the magnitude of the project – I know Fantastic Four is not a step in the right direction – but doing things that command respect. You can do small projects if…it’s tough because, you know, I’m trying to pay the rent. This is my living, so when something like Fantastic Four comes along and you have the opportunity to do in and not worry about rent for a while, it’s tough to say no. Once you do something like Fantastic Four, it’s your responsibility to offset it with small, quality films to prove that you aren’t just a flash in the pan, you’re not just a pretty face trying to make a quick buck.

Is that the only reason you’re doing it? 

Well, it’s tough to say no to superhero. I mean, it’s every kid’s dream to be a superhero. What guy here didn’t wrap a towel around his shirt and run around the living room?

You weren’t a fan of these particular superheroes?

No.  I mean, I had Dr. Doom growing up. I had the action figure for Dr. Doom. And he kicked a lot of ass, if I remember. I didn’t know much about this comic in particular. As soon as I read the script I went out and read a few comic books for the audition, just to brush up a little bit. And it was cool. I had a couple of buddies who were like, “Dude, Fantastic Four!” And I was like, “Oh, all right.”  I think within the Marvel family, it’s up there.

I was reading some article on the internet where they said that the Fantastic Four is like the first royal family of comic books. Up until Fantastic Four it was primarily just sole, you know…Batman, Spider-Man, these individual superheroes. It was the first grouping of superheroes and it’s a family unit, essentially. And we really have a good dynamic. So I think that obviously you mix in the special effects – we’re gonna have great effects with the fire, with the stretching arm and, of course, we have Michael Chiklis playing The Thing, who I think is a pretty well-known…I didn’t read know comic book, but I knew that guy. When I saw him, I was like, “Oh, that guy.” 

What’s the atmosphere like on-set?

Everyone’s great. That’s the best thing. Everyone’s so excited and dedicated. It’s a little different than the other stuff. I see the trailer in my head and I just…if I wasn’t doing it, I’d probably go see it.

How do you feel about how Cellular mixes action and comedy?

I thought it was great. I love fast-paced movies. It’s kinda like Speed, you know? Some scripts you read for a while and it has lulls and you find yourself putting it down. And you’re like, “God, I gotta finish that script. Shit.”  But this script, I just burned through it. This is one of those movies that’s just (snaps his fingers). It’s that type of immediate action. It’s not…you don’t need this big long character journey where it happens over a long period of time and there’s an evolution. It’s just, something happens. You’re reacting to it. Go. I love that type of shit. So I thought, “If you want to make it a little funny, fine. If not, it can still fly.” You can still have movies like Speed. It’s not very funny, but it keeps moving, you know?

What about the stunts? How difficult were they?

Well, I definitely felt like I put in a good day’s work. You come back exhausted. The put me in a week of stunt driving school, teasing me, making me think that I’d get to do some stunts. On the day (of filming) they were like, “Oh yeah, insurance said ‘No way’. We’re gonna use a stunt man.”  So I didn’t really get to do any driving stunts.

What was it like acting opposite Kim and never seeing her?

It served its purpose. In the film, I’m not supposed to know who it is.  I’m not supposed to have any connection to her. So the fact that I’d never met her and wasn’t looking at her in the face kinda helped.

You’re often mentioned as one of the rising young actors in Hollywood. How are you dealing with all the attention?

I can’t see it. It’s so funny. I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve been recognized in my life. I never, ever get recognized anywhere. So to think about being a movie star, I haven’t really even seen the tip of the iceberg.

Where did you grow up? What got you into acting?

I grew up in Boston, right outside of Boston. My mother was a dance teacher, so I guess if I got my creative side from anyone, I suppose it’s her. My dad’s a dentist; I don’t know if that’s very creative. And my older sister acted. She did plays. I think the first time I saw her getting the applause and the flowers, I was like, “I want that.” 

You’re young, it’s your older sister. You do what your older sibling does. So I started in fourth grade doing plays because she was doing them. And that’s when I started to get the buzz and I realized it was actually really fun. For a while, I wanted to be an artist, I wanted to be an animator. I was gonna draw and I thought that drawing was like the only real creative outlet.

Do you still draw?

Oh yeah, all the time.

What do you draw?

I love pencil sketches. I’ll dabble with color but my favorite is just pencil.

What brought you out to LA?

I knew I wanted to act when I was in high school. I had a few buddies in New York and they said that the hardest thing to do is get an agent. You can’t just walk into an agency and say, “Sign me.”  So I thought maybe I’d try to make friends with some agents.  So the summer before senior year in high school I asked my parents if I could move to New York City and intern at a casting office. And they were cool; they let me. And I wrote a bunch of letters and saying, “I’ll get you coffee. I’ll answer phones.” And I got a job interning at a casting office, answering phones and setting up actors for auditions.

But I’m talking to agents all day on the phone and by the end of the summer I was pretty friendly with a few of them. And I said, “I don’t mean to impose, but I’m an actor. Can I come read for you?” And they said yes, and I performed for them and one of them signed me.  But I had to go finish high school though. So I returned to Massachusetts and I doubled in a few classes, which was pretty easy, and I graduated early. I went back to New York and got the same internship, but I was auditioning and I got a pilot that got picked up. And that’s what took me to LA. So it was just kind of a lucky shot that brought me out here.

Questions? Comments? Manifestos? Send them to me at thomasleupp@joblo.com.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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