Set Visit: Interview with Chris Evans on the set of The Losers
I got a chance to chat with Captain America himself, Chris Evans on the set of THE LOSERS last summer. Ah, if we had only known...Evans plays Jensen, one of a band of Special Forces betrayed from the inside. The film is based on the Vertigo comic by Andy Diggle and the artist Jock, and directed by Sylvain White. Evans, who seems to be the only cast member with very few injuries, told us about filming in Puerto Rico, how close the cast is and what's up with everyone trying to save the local puppies. Cutest. Shoot. Ever. He also says he doesn't know what he's doing next. Ha.
THE LOSERS opens April 23rd, 2010.
What are your injuries? Where are you banged up?
I don't think I have any injuries, really. I mean, I don't have anything, really. We did a stunt today, did you see that car, the van that we're all in that pulled up? The glass window blew out. It wasn't supposed to blow out, but the passenger, the shotgun driver's window-- I got a few cuts on my face. That's about it. Felt pretty tough. That's it. That's it. I'm injury free. They've been much more physical with their stunts than I have. My guy's usually sitting by a computer.
Which is weird, because superficially when you hear that you're in this movie, you're kind of one of those go-to guys. You can act, you can do action and it's convincing and stuff like that. And you're playing that character, which would have been the last choice, I'd think.
Sure, yeah yeah. He's probably the least physical of the group. He's more of the nerdier kind of bookworm-ish guy.
It's got to be a lot of fun, though.
Oh, it's great. Yeah, yeah. I mean, he still cracks a lot of jokes and it's fun playing the smart one. I don't always get to play guys with too much brains.
How familiar were you with the graphic novel?
Not at all. Not at all. So I went out and bought a bunch and did the research.
Just that version, or the WWII version as well?
WWII version? I didn't even know there was a WWII version.
Yeah, there was.
There we go.
There's no relation though. Just the name.
Did you get to do any of the filming in the jungle we heard about?
Yeah, we did. We did the first 10 days or so in the jungle. And it was hot. And muddy. But we were glad to get that out of the way. I'd rather do the tough stuff first in the beginning and then it's smooth sailing from then on out.
What's it like shooting in Puerto Rico compared to a place like Hong Kong?
Tough. I mean, I didn't like either place. I'm having a tough time. I get homesick very easily. I didn't get to bring my dog to either one of these locations. And I know it sounds ridiculous, but when I'm away -- for anyone who is a dog lover, dog owner, I really don't like being away from him. And I'll be sitting in my apartment and I'll look at any doorway and I'll just be so convinced that he's going to come around the corner any minute. He doesn't. And it's tricky for me. Most times I take him with me, whether it's New York or Vancouver, Toronto, places like that. Hong Kong, this, it would have been too tricky. If anything goes wrong, I just don't like the language barrier. I like having vets that I know.
You could always pick up a dog here, like Jeffrey did.
I was gonna! I swear to god. I saw that little puppy running around set and I was like, "That is a cute fucking puppy." And then I heard he got hit and the next day they put out a little memo, "Anyone who wants to pay for the medical bills..." And I came in the next day with my money and I was like, "I will pay for it. And is anyone going to tell him?" And Ernesto, our wardrobe guy, said, "Oh, Jeffrey already got him. He's paying for him and Jeffrey's taking him home." But I see a lot of them running around. If one of them's friendly enough I might just scoop him up.
What about the humans on the set. How have you all been getting along?
Fantastically. That's what I will say. I love this cast so much. It's so important when you're working far away from home to get along with your cast, because you're forced to kind of mingle on set. You don't have a built-in support group or anything, or your comfort zones. So you're forced to kind of hang out. And I really, really can't say enough. It makes things like this so much easier to do when you don't have to choose your words carefully. "The cast is interesting." You know? "Different." "Challenging." But the cast is phenomenal. And I get along with them. Not only are they all fantastic actors, but we all get along incredibly well.
Jeffrey said you guys were a little bit like your characters.
Sure. I suppose so. I think I may be the least like my character. Probably the least like my character. But I can see why he would say that, for sure. Absolutely.
This is a return to form for the fun action films. There's a gap, because we got really cynical for a while with action films. In terms of tone, what would you compare this to?
That's a good question. That was kind of one of my big questions in the beginning. Because when I initially read it, I didn't know it was based on a comic book. I just knew that Peter Berg wrote it, it was Warner Bros., it was a war-type movie. And by page 20 I was a little confused as to what they were going for. Because there were a lot of jokes. There were times of high drama, shootouts, and someone's cracking a line. And I said, "What is this?" Because I think nowadays we want our action -- with things like the Internet, we know what everything looks like. We want BOURNE IDENTITY. You want very raw, very real, very authentic stuff. And the days of the DIE HARD's and LETHAL WEAPON's, those movies where there was room for some humor, you don't see a lot of them. So I put the script down on page 30 and I called my agent and I said, "What is this? What am I missing? I've got to go back and start over and get the right tone in my head. I'm not thinking clearly on it." And he said, "This is Joel Silver. It's based on a graphic novel. Why don't you read the graphic novel first, then crack the script."
So I went back and started over and it made a whole lot more sense. And I really actually thought, "You know what? There's room for this." Because if this was just another movie that took itself very seriously and made its action as raw and as real -- and there's nothing wrong with that. I've got to say, nothing wrong with that. Movies like THE KINGDOM and all those BOURNE movies, those movies are fine. But there's a lot of them. A lot of them. And there aren't a lot of these. And there was a time that these movies were king. And in my opinion, a lot of them hold up. I saw DIE HARD last week and it's still a great fucking movie. It's still great. You can still have room for a little bit of fun in movies like this if the chemistry among the actors and the writing works and you go for the ride. And I think this script has all that.
It's also an ensemble.
Absolutely. I think that'll be a big piece to this puzzle as to whether or not we have a good final product, if the chemistry among the actors works. If that doesn't work, I don't know if the plot will save us. I think what you need to walk out of there really liking about the movie is the relationships.
You have a little exchange with Columbus in the scene we were watching, you said something about a pirate name?
Yeah, he gets shot in both legs and earlier, after he first gets shot I pick him up and I call him Legless Pooch. His name's Pooch. And I've called him Legless Pooch two or three times in the film after he gets shot. And he says, "If you call me Legless Pooch one more time you're going to be Headless Jensen." And I say, "That's a cool name. I sound like a pirate."
Do you know what you're shooting this afternoon?
Oh, yeah. This was kind of the final action sequence where -- I don't know how much of the premise you guys know. We've been betrayed and set up and framed and we tracked down the guy who did it to us and this is kind of the final shootout with him.
Do you get to do shootouts on the yacht. Because we saw the yacht.
I don't actually get to go on the yacht. It's a nice yacht, though.
Is there a graphic novel character you'd like to play?
To be honest, I don't know that much about graphic novels. Or comic books for that matter. I wasn't a comic book reader, wasn't a graphic novel reader, so I don't know if I could pull a character from that category.
Jeffrey was talking about WATCHMEN and said that if you want to be in action movies, so many are comic book movies. It's inevitable.
Well, the well will run dry eventually. This comic book wave has been going on for a while now. I guess as long as they don't start making bad ones, it'll just keep on going. But if they keep going to that well, so be it. It's a great starting point. There are some really great -- just visually, artwork alone -- they were going to do Akira a while back, you know the anime movie, where if you look at that color palette alone you say, "Man, what an exciting film to be a part of." Just to have that as a blueprint. It's exciting to make movies that were novels, as an actor you have something to go to, to do your research. So any type of a graphic novel or comic book, it's a great blueprint.
Know what you're doing next?
I don't. I've read a few things. I just don't want to make any more-- I just wanna -- I'm in no rush. I really want to try and make a good movie. It's no fun working your but off to have a final product you're not proud of.
Are you looking for something that's a straight-out drama or comedy?
I will say that I tend do have more fun doing drama. I enjoy drama a bit more. But at the end of the day, I'm mostly interested in making good movies. And I think good movies come from good directors. So you could have a fantastic dramatic script with a fantastic character that you're dying to play, but if the director isn't who he or she should be, it's just not the right movie. By the same token, you could come off a project like this and if Spielberg all of a sudden said, "Chris, I'm going to do a graphic novel where you play a computer hacker." I'd say, "I'm in." I'm in. There's no way I'm going to say no. So at the end of the day, no matter what genre or character I'm looking to do, you really just want to make good movies. And that's all the director.
What's the best thing you like about Puerto Rico?
What's the best thing I like about Puerto Rico? [Laughs] What can I say?
The beach is nice.
I'm not a beach guy. They are nice. They're great. They're fantastic. But I'm not much of a beach guy. I'll say the rum. They have really good rum. Local rums, dark rums.
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