Saturday, March 27, 2010

Chris Evans Hacks Into 'The Losers'

by Elisabeth Rappe Mar 26th 2010

Who would have ever thought Cinematical would get to meet the future Captain America on one blistering hot day in Puerto Rico? Only a few short months ago, Chris Evans was "that guy we wanted to see more of" and had a very promising part in a very cool looking movie called The Losers.

Many set interviews become a little bit of a relic by the time we can post them, but Evans' is especially interesting. After appearing in four movies (Fantastic Four and Rise of the Silver Surfer, Scott Pilgrim VS The World, and The Losers) he seemed a little weary of the comic book trend, but optimistic about finding new material to adapt. When he first read the script for The Losers, he was unaware it was even a graphic novel. He was just hungry to make some good movies. Evans is really engaging, a sweet guy and a true gentleman. He wanted to make sure everyone was comfortable in his trailer. He's funny, but he's not the wisecracking Johnny Storm people have him pegged as. He became so emotional talking about his dog that you just wanted to give him a big hug. Are these the qualities of a good Steve Rogers? I hope so!

In The Losers, Evans plays Jensen, a sarcastic computer hacker who is the brainiac of the gang. From the sound of it, he gets to skip on a lot of the action and probably winds up with a lot of the most memorable lines. Evans is eager to prove himself, and it will be interesting to see how audiences respond to him in an action-comedy before seeing him ship out to World War 2.

But enough from me. Get to know Evans for yourself.

So where are your injuries? Where are you banged up?

Chris Evans: Umm, I don't think I have any injuries, really! I don't have anything, really. We did a stunt today where – did you see the car, the van that we're all in? The glass window blew out that wasn't supposed to blow out. The passenger window. Got a few cuts on my face. But that's about it. But I felt pretty tough. That's it. I'm injury free. They've been much more physical with their stunts than I have. My guy's kind of – usually sitting behind a computer.

Which is weird because superficially, when you hear that you're in this movie and you look – you're one of those go-to guys that you can do action, and it's convincing. You're playing that [nerdy] character, which would have been the last choice, I thought.

Evans: Sure, yeah yeah. He's probably the least physical of the group. He's more of the nerdier, kind of bookwormish guy.

A lot of fun, though.

Evans: Yeah, it's great. 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?

Evans: Not at all. So, went out and bought a bunch and did research.

Did you get to do any of the filming in the jungle?

Evans: Yeah, we did. The first ten 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, at the beginning, and have smooth sailing from there on out.

What's it like shooting in Puerto Rico compared to a place like Hong Kong? Just as difficult?

Evans: Mmmm! Tough. 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, or a dog owner, I really don't like being away from them. I'll be sitting in my apartment, and I'll look in any doorway and 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 or 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.

Pick up a dog here, like Jeffery did.

Evans: I was gonna! I swear to God! I saw that little puppy running around, and I was like "That is a cute f***ing puppy!" And then I heard he got hit! And the next day, they put out a little memo, "If anyone wants to pay for the medical bills ...." I came in the next day with my money. "I will pay for it! And is anyone going to take him?" And our wardrobe guy was like ohhhh, Jeffery 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's friendly enough, I might just scoop him up.

What about the human members of the cast?

Evans: Oh, the human members! Pfft!

How have you all been getting along?

Evans: 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 that you get along with your cast because you're forced to kind of mingle offset. You don't have a built in support group when you need comfort zones. So you're forced to kind of hang out. And I really really can't say enough. It makes things like this [press time] so much easier to do when you don't have to, uh, [laughs], choose your words carefully. The cast is ... interesting. Different! Challenging! The cast is phenomenal. I get along with all of them. Not only are they fantastic actors, but we all get along incredibly well.

Jeffrey said you guys were a little bit like your characters.

Evans: Sure. I suppose so. Ummm, I think I may be the least like my character. Probably the least like my character. But I can see why Jeffrey would say that for sure. Absolutely.

We also heard that at the end of the movie, there's this huge drop off a tower that some of the cast are taking part of? Are you one of those, or no?

Evans: A huge drop? Drops off a crane? I don't think I have to do that. Dodged that bullet.

This is kind of a return to form for the fun action films, kind of a throwback. There's a certain – there's a gap. We got very cynical for awhile with action films, and went to the everyman kind of stuff. In terms of tone, how would you compare this?

That's a good question. That was kind of one of my big questions at the beginning, because when I initially read it, I didn't know it was based on a comic book. I just kind of knew that Peter Berg wrote it at 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, shoot-outs, and then someone's cracking a line. And I thought what is this? Because nowadays I think we want our action, with things like the Internet, we know what everything look like, it's not ... we want Bourne Identity. We want very raw, very real, very authentic stuff. And it's not – the days of the Die Hards and the Lethal Weapons, those movies where there was room for some humor, you just don't see a lot. And 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 gotta go back and start over, and get the right tone in my head because 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 and then crack the script. So I went back and started over, and it made a whole lot more sense. I really thought, 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 as – and there's nothing wrong with that. I gotta say, movies like The Kingdom, those movies are fine, but there's a lot of them. And there aren't a lot of these. There was a time when 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 f***ing movie. It's still great. And you can have room for a little bit of fun in movies like this if [there is] chemistry among the actors, and the writing works. You go for the ride. And I think this script has all that.

It's also an ensemble, which is also great. In the 1970s and 1980s, you had those people go on a mission kind of movies. Nowadays they focus on marketing around a particular actor and dealing with the high concept of it all. This seems kind of loose, and like an ensemble piece.

Evans: Yeah. Absolutely, absolutely. That's kind of – I think that will be a big piece of this puzzle as to whether 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 really walk out of there liking is the relationships. Fingers crossed.

When we were watching the scene, you had a little exchange with Columbus behind a dumpster. We couldn't hear the line before, but you say something like "That sounds like a good pirate name!"?

Evans: Yeah, well he gets shot in both legs earlier [in the film]. After he first gets shot, I pick him up and I call him Legless Pooch. His name is Pooch. And I call him Legless Pooch two or three times in the film after he gets shot, and he says "Call me Legless Pooch one more time and you're gonna be Headless Jensen." And I say "That's a cool name. I sound like a pirate."

So do you know what you're shooting this afternoon?

Evans: Oh yeah. More -- this is kind of the final action sequence where ... I don't know how much of the premise you guys know, but we've been betrayed, set up, framed, and we track down the guy who did it to us. And this is kind of the final shoot out with him.

Do you get any shoot outs on the yacht?

Evans: I don't actually get to go on the yacht. It's a nice yacht though.

Should we ask the inevitable question? Fantastic Four reboot ...?

Evans: Oh, right!

Your feelings about it, if you're not going to be involved with it?

Evans: I don't think I'm going to be involved with it. I would imagine a reboot would be ... a reboot! I think they're going to start from scratch. And you know, that's the way those movies go. They're doing Red Dawn, too. It seems like sometimes they happen quicker than others, you know. Batman, there was a big chunk of time, but the new Batman movies are fantastic. Superman. Incredible Hulk. Sometimes there's a big gap, sometimes it's a small gap. If there's room to reinvent a franchise in a different tone, and they could make a good film out of it, so be it. I'm not going to have anything negative to say about it.

It won't feel weird to watch it? Someone else playing the same role?

Evans: Well, of course. That's the – I've done plays and then I go see someone else do the same play and be like "Hmm. I did it differently!" Of course it will be weird. But let's not confuse weird with bad, or weird with negative. Weird is in no way, no way would I have anything ... I welcome the new franchise. I hope it's fantastic. I like good movies. I'm sure Michael Keaton felt the same way, I'm sure Christopher Reeve felt the same way. If it's a great movie, let's make it. Let's put it out there. There's not enough of them.

Is there another graphic novel character you'd like to play?

Evans: To be honest, I don't know much about graphic novels or comic books. I wasn't a comic book reader, I wasn't a graphic novel reader. So I don't know if I could pull a character from that kind of [world].

Jeffrey said something interesting when we were talking to him earlier, and he said if you want to be in action movies, comic book movies are the ones they're doing now. It seems to be inevitable.

Evans: Yeah. Absolutely. The well will run dry eventually. This comic book wave has been going on for awhile. I guess as long as they don't start making bad ones they can just keep on going. But if they keep going to that well, so be it. It's a great starting point. There's just some really great – just visually. Just artwork alone. They were going to do Akira awhile back. You look at that, and the color palette alone. You think 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, that as an actor, you have something to go to and do your research. So any type of a graphic novel or comic book, it's great [for] blueprints.

When you get back to the States, do you know what you're doing next?

Evans: I don't. I've read a few things. I just don't want to make any more ... I'm in no rush. I really want to try and make a good movie. Because it's no fun working your butt off to have a final product that you're not proud of. I would just as soon be patient and wait for something really great to come along.

Are you looking for something that's more in the straight-up drama, straight out comedy realm?

Evans: I will say that I tend to have a bit 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 move. By the same token, you could come off this and Spielberg said all of a sudden "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 gonna 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 you can do.

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