Chris Evans’ new movie, Gifted, will be playing in select theaters starting today! This family-friendly, heart-warming, tear-jerker is a film the entire family will love. I know, because I took ten of my family members to screen it and each and every one of them said it was fantastic. I received ten screening tickets and the opportunity to interview Chris Evans and McKenna Grace over the phone. Any opinions shared here are entirely my own.
Chris Evans’ New Movie: Gifted
I say “Chris Evans’ new movie…” not because the movie is his but because it was a relatively low budget film and piggy-backing his fame is a great way to drive more attention in its direction. And it deserves all the attention it can get. It’s SO good.
Chris Evans stars with nine-year-old McKenna Grace and this duo with melt the hardest of hearts. Just ask my fifteen-year-old son, who sobbed like a baby during a couple of scenes. My dad will deny it, but I was sitting right next to him and caught him choke back a few tears.
I don’t want to give the wrong impression. Gifted isn’t some heart-wrenchingly sad movie that will make you wish you never saw it. The tears shed come from the incredibly human experience this film inspires. Chris and McKenna are too lovable for words and don’t even get me started on Fred, the one-eyed cat. (We have Bella, a one-eyed tabby and I swear these two could be siblings.)
Really though, Gifted is a feel-good movie that will have you smiling, crying, and laughing in almost equal parts. You’ll leave the theater reflective on happy times and comparing what scenes made you cry harder than your fellow audience member.
Chris Evans & McKenna Grace Interview
We were originally supposed to have both Chris and McKenna on the call, but scheduling conflicts arose and we spoke to each of them separately.
After Chris Evans crashed our interview with Paul Bettany during the press junket for Captain America: Civil War, we got a glimpse of his rambunctious side. But for this, he was sweet as ever and as always, very real.
How was it, working on the Gifted movie?
Chris Evans: “It was fantastic. There were a lot of great people, a great script, a great director. It was one of those films that you hope others can be just like, that we felt like a family by the time we wrapped.”
What was it like working with director, Marc Webb?
Chris Evans: “He’s great. I think these kind of emotional, character-driven pieces are his specialty, and he certainly is an emotional guy himself. The best thing about him is that you really feel like you have an ally on those heavy days because if you’re being emotional in a scene, there’s a good chance when they yell “cut” and you look over at him, he’s probably shedding a few tears. He’s very much in touch with his emotional side and very curious about the human condition and human experience, and I think that’s what he’s constantly looking to show in all of his work.”
What was the shooting location like?
Chris Evans: “It was great. We shot in Savannah, and it’s a beautiful city. We shot in September/October, so the humidity had begun to break and we beat the storm season, so it was actually the perfect time to shoot. It was gorgeous.”
How do you feel about how Mary (McKenna Grace) stood up to the bully on the bus? If your own child did that, what would you do?
Chris Evans: “I think it’s got to be a case-by-case basis. Sometimes I think it’s important to not resort to violence and lead by example, by not dropping to a bully’s level. But, I guess, there are times where someone is really out of line and if it was my kid popping them–I don’t know–it’s tough to say because I’m not a parent and I can’t fully grasp how I would approach each parental situation. But if it was offensive enough of a situation and my son or daughter came to someone else’s aid by popping a bully in the face–I don’t know–I’d like to believe that I would want to discipline my child and promote that that’s not the way to resolve conflicts, but maybe inside I’d be a little satisfied. Is that being a bad parent?”
Not having kids yourself, how did you prepare for this role in that regard?
Chris Evans: “Well, I kidnapped a kid and just studied it. No, I’m kidding. I have nieces and nephews and all my friends have kids and I’m around children quite a bit, so I think I have a pretty decent sense of the parent-child relationship and dynamic for the most part.”
What was your favorite scene from the movie?
Chris Evans: “That’s tough. Favorite scenes for different reasons… I’m a little bit of a sap–I really like the hospital scene. I know it’s a very tear-jerky moment. I like that type of stuff. I really actually loved–it’s actually a scene that I wasn’t involved in too deeply, it was the scene where Lindsay Duncan is in the middle of being questioned by my lawyer. And Lindsay just has this unbelievable two-page monologue. It was so powerful watching her do it, and she had to perform in front of this whole courtroom of people. It’s very rare that you’ll be on a film set that after they yell, “Cut,” the crew applauds, so it was really powerful to watch her do it time and time again.”
This movie is a lot different from some of your previous movies that you’ve done, especially all your superhero movies. Do you prefer one type of film over the other, was this more challenging than others?
Chris Evans: “I don’t know which one I prefer. I think most actors are somewhat material by nature, and we follow our creative appetites and they tend to shift with the wind. So, sometimes you really enjoy those big studio films and it’s fun to play make believe wearing a costume and throwing a shield and punching out aliens, and then sometimes you want to tap into something you’re a little bit more familiar with in your own personal experience and you want to go more subtle and more internal. So, I don’t know that I prefer one to the other. I think I prefer the pacing on a smaller film, all acting aside, just the logistical approach to making a smaller film, you have to shoot more stuff per se, you don’t have the luxury of time and money. On a bigger film, there’s a lot of sitting around, there’s a lot of waiting and sometimes that can become a bit tedious.”
What is your quote on why we should take our families and friends to see this film in the theater and not wait for it to come out at home?
Chris Evans: “That’s a good question. I don’t know that I can speak to this film specifically, I can speak to cinema as a whole, when I was a child one of the most wonderful memories I have is going to the movies with my family. Obviously, you can enjoy the film at home, but the experience of going to the movies, the act of spending time together, especially with this subject matter, is some of the things that I found when I was a kid to be some of my most impactful memories. I have wonderful, vivid memories of being with my family at some of the best movies I had ever seen in the theater, and I don’t know, the car ride home was always so wonderful after a movie, just having everyone energized by what they just saw and sharing their thoughts and opinions. And there was just something about the actual act of leaving your house, I think it’s the ceremony, that I think is really romantic in a way.”
What your favorite part was working with Mckenna?
Chris Evans: “God, tough to pick just one. She’s got a great personality. She always has energy. She’s full of life. She’s nine, so, I don’t know, she’s just a little ball of happiness, she’s always smiling, she knows everybody’s name. It’s really nice to be around that on a film set because you remember how much fun this job can be. I’m fully aware how lucky I am to do something that I love, that’s such a rare thing, but it’s really a wonderful reminder to know how much fun this job is, not just lucky and unfortunate, but truly just fun.”
If you could go back to school for anything, what would you study?
Chris Evans: “Good question. What a good question. God, if I could go back to school for anything. Maybe carpentry, and that may sound strange, but I’ve always had a real interest in, I like any sort of artistic endeavor that has an autonomous nature. And I love acting but it’s very much dependent upon a lot of other people, I can’t wake up on a Saturday and just act in my kitchen, I do, you just look a little crazy doing it. There’s something about carpentry, there’s something about being alone with your thoughts and the tools in your hand, I don’t know, there’s a simplicity to it, something really beautiful, something’s always really struck me about it.”
McKenna Grace Interview
Interviewing a nine year old was actually surprisingly awesome. She’s so articulate and mature!
Follow McKenna on Instagram to see how she sang the math equations!
What was it like working with the cast and crew on Gifted?
McKenna Grace: “Oh my goodness, I loved the crew, I loved the cast and I loved working with Chris even though I couldn’t go anywhere with him because there were always ladies following him around and screaming. I loved working with Octavia because we’d always have dance parties, and I’m so thankful I got to meet and get to hang out with all of those people for two months.”
What is your favorite subject in school?
McKenna Grace: “Math, actually. I developed a love for math on Gifted because I grew really close to math over those two months.”
In your opinion, who would be the perfect audience for this movie?
McKenna Grace: “Anyone that has a heart. Anyone that feels, and anyone that wants a feel-good movie that has a happy ending, and anybody that feels different, or alone. We all feel different sometimes, and I feel like this is a really great feel-good movie to go watch.”
In the movie, your character is a genius in math, but if you had to pick a subject that you can be a genius in, what would it be?
McKenna Grace: “Social Studies. That would make my life a lot easier. Social Studies is really hard, and sometimes it can be pretty boring. I think that if I could be smarter at it I think that it would help me a lot in school.”
What would be your dream role to play someday?
McKenna Grace: “Oh my goodness, I’d love to be in a musical, but a role I’d love to play, let me think… I’ve always wanted to play a superhero, like always. That would be so cool, or maybe a villain like playing Harley Quinn would be really cool.”
Do you want to continue acting when you’re an adult or do you have another job you’d like to do?
McKenna Grace: “I’d love to do acting, but I also always wanted to have an animal sanctuary. I’ve always wanted to be able to do something more for animal abuse, or animal capturing, or something to help animals, but I really want to continue acting whenever I’m older.”
What’s next? Where will we see you again?
McKenna Grace: “Well, I just did some Designated Survivor, and I will be in Season 3 of Fuller House, and then I also was in I, Tonya, which I think comes out in 2018 or late, late, late 2017. Oh, yes, I almost forgot, I’ll also be in How to Be a Latin Lover which comes out pretty soon I think, April 28th is what my mom says. I’m really excited for all of those things to come out.”
The whole premise of this movie is wanting to let a gifted kid just be a kid. Can you relate to that, being in the spotlight and having a different schedule than other kids your age?
McKenna Grace: “Well, I’m always a kid no matter what. I’m always going to be a kid at heart, even whenever I’m an adult. Whenever I’m on set I still love to do lots of things like wander off and catch a roly-poly… I don’t think that it separates me from having a normal life that I do acting. We can all relate.”
How do you think bullying should be handled?
McKenna Grace: “Well, kindness, kill them with kindness. I think that no matter what, we should all be kind to one another and if you see or experience bullying, then you should tell an adult and try and fix it by telling someone or maybe saying ‘Hey, that’s not really right to do that.’
I think that you should be friends with everyone–just everyone–because if someone is alone, then you should sit next to them because you don’t know what’s happened to them in their life. They could be looking happy or fine on the outside, but they could be really hurting on the inside.”
As a fellow animal lover, do you have a favorite charity or cause for animals?
McKenna Grace: “Best Friends, the animal thing, because there are so many—they do so many great things for animals. I got to hold baby cats with them, and Best Friends, I think, is my favorite animal charity or animal rescue. I also do love PETA.
What was it like working with Fred, the cat, on set?
McKenna Grace: “Oh my goodness. It really wasn’t Fred. His name was Bob, and he was so great. He was so soft and snuggly. I loved to snuggle him, and he would purr and meow. Well, that’s what all cats do, but I just love cats. He was my best friend, and he loved treats. They were always giving him treats, and he was just a really good cat.”
What was your favorite scene to shoot?
McKenna Grace: “One of my favorite scenes to shoot, probably, even though I had a really bad allergic reaction in this, it was probably whenever I got to snuggle Fred inside of the bed. That rhymed, but it really didn’t, I really did not want it to rhyme. But there was a short split scene in the movie, and it was where I was asleep in my bed with the cat. I really enjoyed getting to snuggle him because he’s such a sweet cat.”
If you had to tell someone why they should go see Gifted, what would you say?
McKenna Grace: “This movie is a really great feel-good movie, and it has a happy ending. I think that it’s a really great movie and carries a great message, and the message that it carries is family: that it comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, beliefs. And you may not be blood relatives with who you stay with, or you may have one mom, or one dad, or two moms, or two dads, or a mom and a dad, or just live with your uncle like Mary does. But at the end of the day I think that family is the people that you love and that love you and who you care about.”
See Chris Evans’ new movie Gifted in select theaters now! Get tickets at Fandango.