Dakota Fanning, Chris Evans Inteview, PUSHPosted by: Sheila Roberts
We PUSH things around with Dakota Fanning and Chris Evans as we discuss their new scifi thriller! A riveting action-thriller, “Push” burrows deep into the deadly world of psychic espionage where artificially enhanced paranormal operatives have the ability to move objects with their minds, see the future, create new realities and kill without ever touching their victims. Against this setting, a young man and a teenage girl take on a clandestine agency in a race against time that will determine the future of civilization.
Nick is forced out of hiding when Cassie Holmes (Dakota Fanning), a 13-year-old clairvoyant or “watcher,” seeks his help in finding Kira, (Camilla Belle), an escaped “pusher” who may hold the key to ending the Division’s program. Pushers possess the most dangerous of all psychic powers: the ability to influence others’ actions by implanting thoughts in their minds. But Cassie’s presence soon attracts the attention of the Division’s human bloodhounds, forcing Nick and Cassie to flee for their lives.
Chris Evans has emerged in recent years as one of Hollywood’s most in-demand actors for both big budget and independent features. In 2008, he starred in Jodie Markell’s “The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond” opposite Bryce Dallas Howard and in David Ayer’s “Street Kings” opposite Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker. In 2007, he reprised the role of Johnny Storm, a.k.a. The Human Torch, in the summer action hit “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.” He also appeared in Danny Boyle’s critically acclaimed “Sunshine” with Cillian Murphy and Michelle Yeoh.
Dakota Fanning was most recently seen in “The Secret Life of Bees,” based on the acclaimed best-selling book by Sue Monk Kidd, starring opposite Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo, Jennifer Hudson and Paul Bettany. For her performance in this film, she was nominated for a 2009 Critics Choice Award. She was also honored with the Rising Star Award at the 2009 Palm Springs International Film Festival. In 2007, Dakota starred in “Hounddog” opposite Robin Wright Penn and David Morse. She’ll next be heard as the voice of the title character in Henry Selick’s 3-D animated film “Coraline.”
MoviesOnline sat down to chat with Chris Evans and Dakota Fanning about their new film, “Push.” Here’s what they had to tell us:
Dakota: [Laughs] It’s okay. I don’t mind.
Dakota: I don’t know. I think it’s grown up, in a different way. Maybe “The Secret Life of Bees” was more mature, in another way, than this movie is.
Chris: That’s one of the reasons I liked the movie so much. Even though it’s got this great sci-fi/action/special powers back-drop, there were some real relationships and some real character arcs. And, when I heard Dakota’s name, I thought, “This could be great!” She’s so good at doing emotionally relatable content. You root for her. You like her. You see her in a movie and you can’t help but feel connected to her. This type of arc, with those type of characters, I figured, “Man, I could really phone this thing in and it’s still going to work because she’s that good.” She’s that good. She could develop a relationship with a stalk of corn and it’s going to work. [Laughs] It’s true. She’s really good. She carried this. She’s great at what she does.
Chris: She’s like, “It was like acting with a stalk of corn!” [Laughs]
Dakota: No. It was great! That relationship is the center of the film. I was in pretty much every scene with Chris’ character and it was great. I really loved that. What I love about movies is getting to have different relationships with different people, in those films.
Dakota: Yeah. I thought it was really important to develop Cassie and really create a character for her, and that was so much fun. It was really great to come up with those ideas.
Dakota: Yeah, that was my idea. [Laughs] That was fun.
Chris: That’s what Paul expressed, when I met with him prior to actually signing on to the project. He explained the necessity for shooting in Hong Kong, and he had a bunch of photographs and stills to give us a sense of what he was going for. And then, when we landed in Hong Kong, you pull into the city and say, “Alright, I get it.” Every single street was like the set decorator was already there. It really is a character.
Chris: No question! A lot of these scenes, where we’re walking down the streets of Hong Kong, you can’t get lock-ups. You can’t own the street. You don’t have extras. So, you’ve just got a camera set up, and Dakota and I were just walking through the streets of Hong Kong. They were real pedestrians, just going about their lives. Having a tangible world around you is obviously going to inform your choices.
Dakota: Yeah. [Laughs] That’s true. The perfect place to take pictures was the city. And, I got an A in that class.
Dakota: It was a film camera. It was a Pentax K1000.
Dakota: I didn’t, no. They were already done ‘cause they were the base of the film and they had to be spot-on, and I couldn’t have done that.
Dakota: I don’t know.
Chris: She’s been talking them down all day. I would look over, and she was having a blast with that pad. She would just be doodling and adding to things, and she’s not as bad as she says she is.
Chris: There were some rough stunt scenes, but that was part of the appeal. A lot of times, with the stunt work, you don’t get to play. You’ve got to take a backseat. But, Paul really wanted us in there, actually participating. That’s rare, and it was exciting. Granted, there were some scenes where I said, “You guys handle this one. I’ll be watching from the monitors.” But, it’s great, whenever you can get your hands dirty and actually feel like you’re a part of it.
Chris: Absolutely! In order to act something, you have to believe it, to some degree. If you don’t believe it, you can’t portray it. So, before shooting, everyone did their share of research on the Internet about the legitimacy of psychic abilities and telekinesis. If you spend a couple days doing your research on it, whether you’re a believer or not, it becomes very difficult to maintain your skepticism. It’s out there. It is, to some degree or another. I can’t say it doesn’t exist.
Dakota: I feel the same way. I don’t think I have the right to say it doesn’t exist. There are those people that feel so strongly about it. You never know.
Dakota: I wish we had!
Chris: Now it seems like I can’t believe we didn’t. We absolutely should have. We didn’t, though. It was to each his own.
MoviesOnline: Dakota, were you the one who wanted to save the fish, when you had to do the scene, running through the market with the fish tanks exploding?
Chris: Dakota saved many fishes’ lives.
Dakota: It was me and Chris. We were like, “Ah, the fish need to get out of the tank now.”
Chris: I was like, “Are they about to blow these tanks with the fish in them? I don’t know if we can do that.”
Dakota: Paul was very clear that we were going to be doing that, from the beginning.
Chris: We were aware that we were going to be doing a more hands-on approach to stunt work. The fish just didn’t sign off on it, so I didn’t think they should have to get blown up.
Chris: She did it well.
Dakota: I don’t think there’s anything that, as I get older, I wouldn’t do for a movie. I think that you have to put your whole self into it and be willing to do anything and everything for the character. What I love about acting is that you can just go there and do those things.
Dakota: It was fake. It was totally fake. Cassie wasn’t supposed to look very experienced. That’s not her thing, to have guns. It was just for protection from this crazy woman that she doesn’t know who is.
Dakota: It’s definitely possible. I really hope it will work out. We’ll see. It would be really fun to be a part of that.
Dakota: Yeah. I am definitely a fan. I’m a big fan of the actors in the film. To be a part of that would really be a great privilege.
Dakota: I haven’t read all four yet, no.
Chris: [Laughs] Just throw one out there. I’m in! Keep it in the Summit family.
Chris: No, I don’t think we’re doing another one. I think they’re done. I think, if they were going to do one, I would have heard something. It’s been awhile since the second one, and those films usually come pretty quick, one after the next. So, I think they’re going to close the book on that one. It’s too bad, too. I had a fun time making those films.
MoviesOnline: Your Fantastic Four character was a smart ass, and Nick is so sincere and vulnerable. Was that contrast fun?
Chris: Yeah! I definitely relate more with the Fantastic Four character. I’m a more open guy. I like cracking jokes and having a good time, and Nick is very internal and shut off to the world, and pretty cold and rude, for the most part. [Laughs] It’s a different character for me, so it was fun.
Chris: I think it might have to. I think, if I do one more, I’m just going to be doomed. It’s unfortunate because it’s not deliberate to have that be the way it is. If, all of a sudden, James Cameron is making another superpower movie and he offers me a role, I’m gonna take it.
Dakota: You never know.
Chris: We leave you dangling. We’ll see. If that comes down the road, I guess we’ll see.
Chris: I think Nick has some tougher friends. I think Johnny Storm’s friends work for good, and Nick’s friends are probably a little bit more grimy and dirty.
Dakota: For me, I try not to think of it as, “This is my transition movie.” It will happen naturally. As you get older, it will happen. If you really want to continue doing this, I think that it will all work itself out, and I think it has.
Dakota: [Laughs] I always get asked this, and it is so crazy. When I did War of the Worlds, Tom Cruise asked me that and I was like, “I don’t know.” And, the next day, I had an iPod filled with 10,000 songs, of every kind of music there was, from him. I like all kinds of music. I’m not the kind of person that just goes and listens to a lot of music, by myself. But, if I’m in the car with my friends, I’ll listen to something. Sometimes, you don’t even know who the artist is. You just hear it and you’re like, “Oh, my God, I love that song!,” and you don’t even know who it’s by.
Chris: When people ask me, “Which power would you like to have?,” we all said, “Pusher ‘cause you can do the most with it, and get into a lot of trouble.” But then, Dakota made a point of saying that the problem with the Push is that it wears off, so eventually, anything you convince someone of, in about 10 or 20 minutes, they’re going to figure it out and you’re back to square one. I think that led me to say that I’d probably take telekinesis. Why not? But, if we’re going with most interesting, I’m going Bleeder. It’s interesting. Sniffer was kind of gross.
Chris: I’m not saying I’d find a practical use. [Laughs] I just think it’s interesting. It certainly is interesting. Your brain bleeds out your ears.
Dakota: Honestly, it was the funniest thing to watch.
Chris: We were rolling around and I was like, “This is hysterical!”
Dakota: You would see those guys, totally silent, just screaming. It was great! They were great. I loved those guys.
Chris: Yeah. It’s funny.
Dakota: Did you like his limp in the movie?
Chris: I get thrown around, I hit the ceiling, I’m contorted, and then I walk out and I’m just limping. Honestly, I should be paralyzed. I shouldn’t be moving. This guy got chucked across a room. But, you’ve got to take some liberties with that.
Chris: When you’re shooting it, it’s much more fun to be the one getting beaten up. It’s much more fun to be the one getting thrown around the room and being able to actually play a part in the stunt. But, when you’re watching it, it’s much more fun to walk away and say, “I kicked his ass. That was me. I threw him around the room.”
Dakota: “Gone with the Wind” has been one of my favorite movies and one of my favorite books, but I don’t know if I would ever want to tackle that. It’s been done about as amazing as it could be done. But, I’ve been Scarlett O’Hara for two Halloweens in a row. [Laughs] I love that. And, I’m from the South, so to be Scarlett O’Hara would be amazing. It’s one of the best movies ever.
Dakota: I do. Most of my immediate family lives out here -- my parents, my sister, my grandmother, my mom’s sister and her daughter. And then, my dad’s family and the rest of my mom’s family live in Georgia, and I do go back. But, I’ve lived here for nine years, so all my really good friends live here. I have so many other friends and family that live back in Georgia, so when I do go back, it’s really nice.
Dakota: From second to eighth grade, I was home-schooled, and then, for ninth and tenth, I’m in a private high school.
Dakota: It’s really surreal to think that I did a Tide commercial and then a Georgia lottery commercial, and then I came to California to do pilot season and I got E.R., and then I got “I Am Sam.” It was funny because we were like, “Okay, we’re going to go home this Saturday.” “Oh, we can’t because E.R. films on Monday.” “Now we can’t because of this TV show.” It just kept going. It was crazy. My mom would never say, “We live in L.A.” because she always thought we were going to go back home. And then, finally, after the fourth movie, she was like, “Well, I guess we’re not going home.” My first movie was “I Am Sam,” which was when I realized I didn’t want to go home. I wanted to stay here.
Dakota: [Laughs] Yeah. I remember my audition for that. I remember filming it. I remember the whole thing.
Dakota: It’s been great. I’ve been working on that for three years, so it’s crazy that it’s coming out on the same day as this movie. But, I’m really excited. It’s 3-D, stop-motion animation, and it’s so cool. It’s going to be really neat. It’s based on a book by Neil Gaiman, and it’s a spooky, scary, animated film.
Chris: I’m going to do “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.” It’s (directed by) Edgar Wright, who did “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.” It’s Michael Cera and Brandon Routh. It shoots up in Toronto in April.
Chris: One of the evil ex-boyfriends (Lucas Lee). Michael Cera is the main character. He’s Scott Pilgrim, and he’s trying to date the girl of his dreams (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), but in order to do so, he has to fight her five evil ex-boyfriends. I’m one of the evil ex-boyfriends.
Chris: I can’t say. This interview is over! [Laughs]
“Push” opens in theaters on February 6th.