Monday, June 15, 2009

Chris Evans On Higher Ground

posted on Tuesday June 16, 2009 (by

He has emerged in recent years as one of Hollywood's most in-demand young actors for both big budget and independent features. Now, Chris Evans takes on what’s perhaps his most serious role to date, playing Jimmy Dobyne, the handsome, plantation man in the searing drama, “The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond.”Based on the long-lost and rare original screenplay by legendary playwright Tennessee Williams, “Teardrop Diamond” will be shown exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas (Glorietta 4 & Greenbelt 3) starting June 17.

“I knew I wanted Chris Evans in the film very early on,” says director Jodie Markell. “He knows exactly what he’s doing. He finds these moments that are just moving and simple. He’s completely in keeping with that tradition of Williams’ men. He knows to hold it back.”

Growing up in Boston, Evans embraced live theater at a very early age, taking on roles in children’s theater and community productions. He cites his high school drama teacher, whose college dissertation was on Tennessee Williams, as the one person who most nurtured his appreciation for the playwright.“To get to interpret an original Tennessee Williams’ character at this point is kind of like finding a lost Beatle’s album and being the first one to hear it” says Evans. “The beautiful thing about working on this project is you can’t change the script. Every word was holy. So not only is the text protected, but then as an actor your job is to make sense of everything. If something doesn’t feel right, or you can’t understand something, you can’t just change it. You can’t take liberties, you can’t go off book, you can’t ad-lib or paraphrase.”

While the actor approaches his own work with a certain degree of modesty, his co-star does not share his opinion: “I strongly believe that this performance is going to be a defining moment for Chris” says Bryce Dallas Howard. “It’s going to show people that he is a movie star of the ilk of Paul Newman and Robert Redford. I remember looking at him on a monitor one day and it just sort of took my breath away. I suddenly got really nervous being around him. He is so devastatingly handsome. He has the qualities of those classic, old time movie stars. Being strong and silent but with an intense vulnerability. All of those elements are very much present in his portrayal of this character.”Both actors found each other to have a similar working process, which given the intimate nature of the material, led to a great deal of mutual preparation. “Bryce works the way I work” says Evans. “We are both deeply, deeply in love with the process of rehearsal. We both come from a theater background where you spend weeks or months just running dialogue, talking about the script and the characters, or spending time together trying to build trust as people so that when you get on set you truly feel prepared. We were there a couple of weeks before shooting, and all we did – all day, every day – was just rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. She’s the most prepared actress I’ve ever met in my life. There’s not one line she speaks that she doesn’t truly, fully, completely understand.”

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