Thursday, January 5, 2012

Deconstruction of a Scent: The Chris Evans Q&A

In the commercial for Gucci Guilty Intense, Gucci's new fragrance, Chris Evans—he of Captain America: The First Avenger and muscular chest fame—walks into a bar, eyes super babe Evan Rachel Wood, and the two get it on approximately one second later. These things happen, apparently, when you are really, really, ridiculously good-looking and doused in the aphrodisiac that is Gucci Guilty Intense. The Frank Miller-directed clip brings to mind our July 2011 cover story on Chris Evans, who had a similar effect on our writer, Edith Zimmerman. In the piece, she goes on a pseudo-date with the actor, and—after a few drinks and flirtations—ends up wasted at his house, only to escape in the middle of the night and hitchhike back home with a "possibly Asian transsexual." True story.
Throughout the profile, Zimmerman attempts to uncover the "real Chris," but gets thrown off when he says things like, "I always say that the times in my life when I've been happiest are the times when I've seen, like, a sunset." To paraphrase her reaction: Like, really dude? Read the piece, and you'll see that it's difficult to tell if he's being sincere or just putting on an act. We recently met up with Evans again, this time to discuss his Gucci ad campaign, and the earnest quotes abounded. (Evans on acting: "You say, 'You are the painter, I'll be your paint.'") During our chat in the penthouse of NYC's Thompson Hotel, we covered the art of acting sexy, the uncoolness of Captain America, and—for old time's sake—the "real" Chris.

GQ: In the ad for Gucci Guilty—all in the span of about a minute—you walk into a bar, spot Evan Rachel Wood's character, and then, bam, baby-making.
Evans: [laughs]
GQ: So, making out with Evan Rachel Wood. Was that good?
Yeah. It's great, because Evan is great. You know what I mean? It's obviously one of those shoots where you're rolling around with your clothes off, and it could be an...awkward situation. Luckily, I met Evan and [snaps fingers] we hit it off right away. She's young, but incredibly mature and put-together. You got to check your ego at the door at these things, because there's a science to it. It's hard, but take a look: [points to the Gucci ad] You have to position your arm right, you have to hold can be tricky. But you've got all these great people involved, the best of the best, and you want to make sure you bring the same level of professionalism to the table. And with someone other than Evan, it could've been stiff, awkward, or uncomfortable. Luckily, Evan is a pro.
GQ: What is actor make-out strategy, anyway?
Evans: Well, ideally when you're doing that in film, hopefully you can surrender to the moment, and it'll be believable. Again, when you have someone that's comfortable with themselves and willing to let go, it's going to work.

GQ: I watched a clip of you talking about scent memory on the set of the shoot, but you never elaborated on the memories. What are they?
Evans: It could fall under a lot of different labels. My experience with scent memory is rooted in my childhood. A woman could walk down the street and she'll smell like my mother. Another is chlorine [snaps fingers] and I'll remember a buddy's house I went to. I love things like that; I love the connection that scents have to your memory, stronger than even the memories themselves. It's amazing how that can [snaps fingers] take you somewhere. What Gucci Guilty is going for is a memory of something sexual and provocative and intimate. Charged. I don't know if I've had...I was going to say I don't have enough experience to have memories that are...well, that's not true. Um, I like the fact that the campaign went with a theme as opposed to two people rolling around on a beach or something. It was a mini-story, a short film.

GQ: Why do you think "guilt" is associated with the cologne?
Evans: Well, I think it's something relatable. Everyone has a little bit of a guilty side to them. And I think that's what the cologne is trying to evoke.

GQ: The ad's a very accelerated experience—the characters just jump into things, so maybe that's where the guilt would come from, but I don't know if the characters necessarily feel guilty...
Evans: Well, guilty can be fun. Guilty doesn't have to be the worse thing in the world.

GQ: This is true. Is it all right if I ask about your GQ profile?
Evans: What was the GQ profile?
Publicist: The cover.
Evans: Oh, the cover!

GQ: So, obviously a profile is a very complex thing, and in our July cover story, our writer Edith Zimmerman wasn't completely sure what to make of you. If I were to ask you, point blank, what is the "real you," what would you say?
Evans: Well, depends on what the question is...if a profile takes a couple of days, you can't fit a microcosm in 10 words or less, you know, "The real me is..." In those interviews where someone is doing a profile, I think the goal is to go in there as honest as possible and wear your emotions on your sleeve. You might not be able to cover all aspects that constitute what a person is, but I think your character will shine through. Edith was a very cool person, smart girl, she was my age, we had very similar experiences in life, so I just tried to be myself. And I'm a pretty self-deprecating guy—I try not to take myself too seriously. And I have no problem saying that. And, especially in interviews, I think people find that strange, because I think some actors enjoy being interviewed and enjoy hearing themselves speak. I have no problem saying that what we're doing is kind of silly, isn't it? What we're doing? [looks around the room] I feel kind of foolish right now. It's okay to laugh and make light of it. We can still have an in-depth discussion that's of intellectual substance, but you know, you got to poke fun at yourself, and I think Edith got that. And I think she wrote in her article that she wasn't quite sure who I was because I don't think she's used to actors that have no problem saying they're so stupid.

GQ: When you do interviews, how much would you say is you versus "you?"
Evans: I say a healthy 90-10. I obviously might swear a little more in real life, you know what I'm saying? There's still a little professionalism—you can't say whatever you want to say. But I have no reason to lie; I have no reason to say anything I don't believe, especially for something like this [points to Gucci ad] If the product or the film is something you're proud of, it makes it a lot easier, because I've got nothing to hide. I can tell you anything, and it's not only going to be the truth, but it's also going to serve the purpose of the product. Because, I mean, look at this. [points to Gucci ad] I'm honored to be a part of it.

GQ: Right, you said it's a science. What is the "sexy strategy" then?
Evans: I was trained in acting, so doing things like this, it calls for elements of that. But when you're working with great people, like [director] Frank Miller, people who are obviously the best at what they do, you surrender to them. You say, "You are the painter, I'll be your paint, I'm going to trust you." When my agents called and said I got the Gucci thing, I said, "Wow, I can really just let go. If they tell me to do something, I can have faith that it's going to be the right thing to do." And, you know, proof is in the pudding.

GQ: Moving on to your upcoming films, you're playing the mentor of Michael Shannon's hitman character in Iceman, but you're actually the younger guy.
Evans: Well, it's just a matter of who has more experience in the hitman game. It's not necessarily about the fact that I'm older, crotchety or wise, because [my character has been] doing this a while. They say "mentor" a lot, but it's really not that...I just expose him to a few different...methods.

GQ: Of freezing people.
Evans: Yeah, exactly.

GQ: And in The Avengers film, Captain America gets paired with a team of other superheroes. Why is Captain America the coolest?
Evans: I don't think he's the coolest guy—he's far from it. He's a straight- shooter. He's probably pretty boring as far as a character goes, but I feel like he grounds things. When you have these giant personalities and egos, there needs to be someone who brings them back down and reminds that this is a team, not the individual show.

GQ: How attached are you to that character?
Evans: The first time I read the script before I took the job, there was a little hesitation, because as an actor you want to sink your teeth into something raw and grittier. The truth is, I've grown to really fall in love with the character. I have a friend in Bosnia that I based the character off of, who is very down-the-middle, very straight-laced, but the best guy you'll know. And when you really live in that headspace all day for months at a time, you can't help but take some of that home with you. This sounds silly, but you like the way you feel about yourself. You like the way you look at things when you really are doing things for the right reasons. No ego, completely selfless. It's a great way to be. I've really grown into the guy.


  1. Hey, guys I just wanted to share this review of Puncture that Andy over on wrote yesterday. It really moved him ...

  2. God he is just perfect. Seriously. I think my ovaries just exploded....

  3. That's hilarious! I have to say I'm maternal at the best of times but I swear I ovulate every time I see his face. He'd be the perfect father. Sigh.

  4. Hey, guys, Congrats on the blog, very nice job, I was delighted to find it.
    I'm,32 years, I'm from Rio(Brazil),but NY resident ever since 2005 where I work as a doctor(pediatrician).
    Anyway,very recently I became Chris Evan's fan, first of all, I have to admit , it was all because he is gorgeous, that was what initially caught my attention and made me decide watching his movies. But then I realized I never I was a "hot guys" fan, actually always hated and avoided them, but Chris is different, he's so talented, spontaneous,charming. He's indeed a good actor, and that's he's real beauty, for sure. He hypnotizes us, impossible to resist and not to admire him deeply. I just have one huge problem to deal with now: my husband (who's american,also named Christopher, btw) HATES him and he's so jealous of him that he started giving me hard times now! hAHAHA If Chris(Evans, not my husband) only knew...
    Anyway, just wanted to say hi and share this story with you guys. Once again, congrats on the blog.
    All the best,

  5. Anne, Just to let you know that @chrisrobevans twitter account is fake, stick to these sites, thats where fake chris is getting his material from anyways

  6. The best sites are:

    - this one (for news and photos)

    - (for news, photos and group chat)

    - (for photos)

    - (in Russian)

    - (in Serbian/Croatian)

  7. has been iffy on updates this past year, go with (for photos and news too in english and spanish)

  8. I agree. is really good!

    This site is GREAT for photos.

    I LOVE for community chat and a good laugh. Their forum is amazing too. There's a lot of stuff you don't find anywhere else like screencaps of interviews, transcripts of interviews and translations of foreign publications. They just had a translation of the new Russian trailer for Avengers. It focusses on Chris as an actor rather than just a hot dude.