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Chris Evans Gets Romantic in Before We Go

Sep 03, 2015

By: Lynn Barker

We’ve always liked handsome and friendly actor Chris Evans. It’s cool that he was finally able to take on a directing job with Before We Go and credits his Captain America fame with getting him the gig. But, then Chris admits he had a lot to learn.

On the streets of NYC after hoursOn the streets of NYC after hoursCourtesy of Radius Films

Before We Go is the charming story of two young people played by Chris and pretty Alice Eve (Carol in Star Trek Into Darkness) who are strangers stuck in New York City overnight. He’s a trumpet player with an audition in the morning and she is an art consultant whose purse has been stolen. Both are involved in rocky relationships with other people.

Chris was happy to talk to journalists about how much his first directing gig taught him, whether he might direct in future and just what playing Captain America has done for his career.

Q: This is Chris Evans’ directorial debut. Did actor Chris Evans get along with director Chris Evans?

  • Chris: (grinning) Chris Evans is a pain in the a**. He’s a d**k but I made it work. No, actually, it was great. I liked wearing both hats. I’m a bit of a control freak so I enjoyed the responsibility.

A happy visit to the all-night dinerA happy visit to the all-night dinerCourtesy of Radius Films

Q: Your character (a trumpet player) has an audition for a jazz band the next day so do you have any worst audition experience?

  • Chris: Trust me, bad auditions are not hard to come by. Finding a good audition is the real diamond in the rough. That’s kind of the nature of acting. They’re all bad auditions. It’s a hard business. You have to be like a sadist.

Q: How do you overcome that?

  • Chris: I don’t know that I have. I’m under a crushing wave of insecurity right now.

Q: This is the kind of movie you don’t see a lot any more. Just two people on the streets of New York getting to know each other. What about the story spoke to you and made you want to make it your directorial debut?

  • Chris: Well, honesty, it a matter of trying to find something that you are passionate about and connect to but also it’s something that the producers are willing to let you direct. I can’t tell you how many scripts I read that were s**t. No one is touching them. That’s why they’re coming to me (as a first-time director).  So, it’s tough trying to find something that’s available, that they’re willing to let you direct that you still are connected to and passionate about. I like movies that take place in a finite amount of time with limited characters. I like things that read like theater (like a play).

Q: What did you discover as a director/actor on the same project?  Might you change something next time?

  • Chris: Sure. It is tough watching yourself in the editing room. You really learn all your little crutches and little tricks and moves and you realize that editors know where all the bodies are buried. I wanted to call every editor I’ve worked with. It’s like “I’m so sorry. Don’t you tell anybody what I do”. It’s eye-opening. You do learn the takes where you watch of yourself that you like versus the things that are unusable and you remember the process you were going through from take to take. It’s very educational. Very eye-opening.

Getting to know youGetting to know youCourtesy of Radius Films

Q: I felt like New York was almost a character in itself so what was it like working there?

  1. Chris: It certainly is a character and that’s one of the things we wanted to accomplish but December night shoots, it’s a challenge.

Q: She (Alice’s character) is out there alone with him between 1 AM and 5 AM when nobody much is on the streets. She takes a chance. He might be an axe murderer!

  • Chris: He’s the only one awake! (An axe murderer?) Oh Jesus! That was the inner dialogue. Glad that came across (he’s totally kidding).

Q: Was it a little tricky because you and Alice are in every scene and there’s a lot of dialogue. You’re not doing special effects and things like that.

  • Chris: The reason I liked the script was that some scenes are five, six, seven pages long so if you’re doing one full take or you’re covering all this dialogue, it’s not necessarily easy to run back and watch the scene on the monitor. You’ve doubled your workload. So, you kind of go on a gut (feeling) or trust your producer and say “Do we have that?” It’s nice to have a flow going as an actor but, as a director in the editing room, you kind of wish you had spent more time in the director’s chair to be able to watch the scene manufactured.

I'll play, you singI'll play, you singCourtesy of Radius Films

Q: As a first-time director, did your Director of Photography help you with location scouting, storyboarding, picking out lenses?  How involved were you?

  • Chris: All of that stuff. Oh, John Guleserian, I just love him. He was wonderful. Being a first-timer, you don’t necessarily have the lingo to express the look you want. It’s like you know what flavor you want to taste, you just don’t know what ingredients go into it. The beautiful thing about movie making is that we all know cinema so you can reference other films so you can say “That. How do you do that?” Luckily, I had a lot of people who were willing to be patient with me and walk me through. But he was there every step of the way through storyboards and scouting and all.

Q: You’ve also worked with some great directors. Did you seek out any advice from them?

  • Chris: I did talk to some (director) guys who knew I was doing it. The general consensus, given the fact that they knew I was new at it was “Don’t be afraid to lean on people. You are surrounded by very talented people in their respective professions. Don’t pretend to know what you don’t. Ask for help if you need it and trust the talent of the different departments”. You’ve got to check your ego at the door and be willing to look foolish.

Can this last?Can this last?Courtesy of Radius Films

Q: Great advice.  Do you actually play the trumpet?

  • Chris: I finger the trumpet. I wanted to play and took some lessons and learned that after the first lesson, this is not going to get where I needed it to get in a month. The guy’s supposed to be a wildly accomplished musician so we hired a musician and we filmed him playing all the melodies then I would just watch his fingering. All my fingering in the movie is accurate. It’s just not my sound.

If this old phone were a time machine?If this old phone were a time machine?Courtesy of Radius Films

Q: I liked the time machine scene (the couple pretends that they have one briefly in the film).  If you could go back to any time what would it be?

  • Chris: 2004 was a good year. I’d make a bad year worse if I went back to it. I’m just going to sit back during a good one. Soak it in.

Q: Making the Marvel movies, do you feel that has made you a stronger actor and filmmaker? And, would you have been able to take on directing and acting in this movie without everything you learned in the last few years?

  • Chris: Without (playing Captain America in) the Marvel films I would never have had this opportunity. The notoriety that Marvel provides is what allows me able to put myself in a movie and get it on its feet. That’s the nature of the [Blockbuster film] model. But, just as an actor, the nature of life experience, what MARVEL brings in terms of making a movie of that magnitude and the ripple effect it has on you personally, emotionally, mentally, that can only age you in any creative endeavor whether you are a director, actor, musician, anything so it’s certainly coloring my experience.

Chris Evans as Captain AmericaChris Evans as Captain AmericaCourtesy of Marvel

Q: Down the road, do you ever see yourself just being a director?

  • Chris: Listen, I love acting. I’ll always love acting. I think most creative people are relatively fickle. I think the search for an outlet evolves and that’s the beauty of being creative. It changes from day to day. Acting comes with a lot of strings attached to it. It’s not like you can just sit in your room and act. You’re not a painter or writer so there’s a much broader dance you have to subscribe to. But given this experience as a director I’m absolutely in love with it and the lessons I’ve learned and the tools I’ve adopted from this one, I’m very eager to tackle the next one. Who knows how that will evolve and change? I couldn’t say it will only be this or that but I certainly have the bug.

Before We Go PosterBefore We Go PosterCourtesy of Radius Films

Before We Go is in theaters September 4th!