With a long list of credits behind each of them, Anna Faris and Chris Evans have finally joined up to work together on What's Your Number? -- a comedy about a girl who explores her past 20 boyfriends to find out if "the one" was one of them. They sat down with Buzzine to talk about their nude scene together, the double standard of male versus female "sluts," and if they've had any embarrassing moments of chasing love...
Izumi Hasegawa: Has either one of you ever looked up an ex on the Internet or done a little searching and tried to find them? How far do you go? Did you actually drive by their house or anything?
Chris Evans: I've done a little digging.
Anna Faris: Sure.
CE: I've done my share of digging, but Facebook makes all that stuff real easy!
IH: But they never knew you were looking for them, huh?
CE: Oh no, I succeeded and found them and made contact. And now we are good friends.
AF: I had my college ex-boyfriend's class schedule memorized.
CE: That's normal, right?
AF: Yeah! So I would "accidentally" bump into him all the time.
CE: That's awesome!
AF: It was mortifying! But he tried to reach out to me like six months ago, so at least I feel like, "Alright, I came out on top!"
CE: You win on that one!
IH: Do you keep in touch with exes?
AF: No, I try not to! I only have, like, two.
CE: Yeah, I was going to say I don't know if I have enough...
IH: Can you tell us how the project came your way for each of you?
AF: I was attached to it for quite a while. The writers and the other producers came to me, and we brought it to New Regency and they were really excited. That's sort of how the ball got rolling for me.
CE: I had a pretty standard audition process. I got the script, read it and loved it, knew the people involved, pursued, went and auditioned, and just kind of had two or three rounds of reading with people and got lucky.
AF: We got lucky!
IH: We see a lot of both of you in this film...
AF: What you mean? [Laughs]
CE: What does that mean? [Laughs]
IH: Were the nude scenes something you were comfortable with, or was it awkward for you?
AF: I don't know about you, but I love showing my ass to the crew of 300 that I've been working with!
CE: Oh, I got it! I thought you meant of who we are as people, and I was like, "Are you saying I'm a pig?" [Laughs] That's right, yeah. Well, the first time I read it, I was like, "All right, there is a lot of skin, but it's funny." It's all funny. It didn't ever really feel gratuitous. It just felt like it was all serving a pretty humorous purpose.
IH: Anna, you're not that good at basketball...
AF: What?! You could tell?!
IH: So when you read about the strip basketball scene, were you both okay with that? Because it was pretty funny...
CE: Was it initially strip basketball, or was it something else?
AF: No, it was something else. We were able to secure the Boston Gardens, so they changed it suddenly to strip basketball. Then suddenly I was going to be at basketball rehearsal every night after work or something. But no, it's one of those things that you read and you don't actually think, "Oh, I'm going to have to be in my underwear." I saw it and I thought, "Oh, that's kind of charming." Then the day comes and suddenly you're wearing the tiniest bit of clothes, and you are in front of all the people you've been working with for the last three months. So all of your credibility is just down the drain!
IH: Chris, were you looking for this role as a different kind of role to do?
CE: I love doing comedies, and I just feel I maybe hadn't done one in a little while. I did Scott Pilgrim, but I was in and out in four days, and that was so out-there. I love doing comedies. Any film you do, you can't help but take a little bit home with you. If you are playing something really heavy and dramatic, you're going to go home feeling a little exhausted and spent. You do comedies like this, you go home and you are just smiling and cracking jokes. It feels like summer camp! So I'm always looking to do movies like this.
IH: Anna, did you do a chemistry read to choose Chris? What was it about him that made you want to put him in the role?
CE: I missed the chemistry read!
AF: I know!
CE: There was a chemistry read, and I got sick. I was in Houston working on something else, and I missed the chemistry read and I was like, "Well, I lose. I just lost my shot." Then I begged Donna Isaacson: "Please fight for me!"
AF: I was in New Zealand, and they sent me your tape, but it was just so clear. Of course!
CE: He is such a pig! I can just sense it. [Both laugh]
IH: Chris, your character is such a player. What is the deal with him that he has just got to get these women out the door?
CE: Is that radical new for a guy in his twenties? That's pretty standard.
AF: Is it a hard place for you to go? [Laughs]
IH: Is he unhappy because he can't get his music done? There must be some reason...
CE: Are you asking for your own personal, like why I'm like that? This is the way guys are. I think there is that window of time for guys in their twenties where they are just selfish and trying to have a good time. Guys at that age really aren't looking to settle down, at least not a lot of the guys that I know.
IH: Coming off of the success of Captain America and The Avengers, do you think this movie is going to remind people that you are more than just a superhero in tights?
CE: He also takes his clothes off! [Laughs] Yeah, I don't know. I hope so because I think the good thing about film, as opposed to something like TV, is you get variety. You get to flex a lot of different acting muscles in filmmaking. So it's fun to go play a certain character and put on a blue suit and throw a shield around, and then it's fun to go crack some jokes and get naked!
IH: Anna, this is the first movie you and Chris [Pratt] made as a married couple. What was that like? Was it a different dynamic?
AF: Yeah! It was terrifying, actually, because I think I am more concerned about his opinion of my acting than anybody else, and he is really particular! So it was really scary and great, and I was really honored that he was able to do it. And his character -- he plays Disgusting Donald, who is the instigator for my character's whole journey, and his fiancée -- I did not cast that fiancée! She was way too hot for my liking!
IH: Did you practice your lines at home together?
AF: Yeah, we would, which is...I don't know. It's just terrifying in general. It's like your parents or your loved ones reading something you've written. I can't help but feel like the scrutiny is going to be much more magnified.
IH: Anna, you are great in comedies. Do you think you'd ever like to play another type of role, like a dramatic one? Because you're amazing in this.
AF: Oh, thank you! I used to feel this need to prove to people that I can do something dramatic, but the truth is, I don't know if I can!
CE: And modest.
AF: I don't think I have it in my skill set! No, it would be great, but I do love making comedies. It's been so much fun for me, and I hope I can continue to do it.
IH: Here is a serious one for you. Hollywood is so fake -- did either of you ever have that moment where you had to find the strength to be yourself because somebody's pushing a persona on you, or somebody is pushing a movie on you? Is there a moment where you go, "It's going to be me making the decision because I'm going to be myself"?
CE: I've never had to compromise who I am, meaning shift the way I present the person I am. Maybe there are some things I might not want to do. I have to be honest. You're great, but this might not be where I want to be on my Saturday! [Everyone laughs] You've got to do things like that. You've got to jump through those hoops at times, but I don't think that's a compromise of your integrity or anything like that. So the answer is no.
IH: Anna, have you had that moment where you had to fight to be you?
AF: I don't know. That's such a vague question. I think, in every career, you are balancing or negotiating tricky waters. But I think that's been something nice that comedy has been able to give me a little bit more -- like the ability to laugh at myself and hopefully not take this whole world too seriously.
IH: What is the most embarrassing thing that either one of you have ever done for love?
CE: I don't know if I can call it love, what I was doing.
IH: How about in pursuit of someone?
CE: Sure, that sounds a bit better. I don't know if I want to say! Those are things I try to forget. I don't want it permanently written somewhere. God, I don't know.
AF: I joined a youth group for Josh Sambolt. I was after him, man, so I became a Christian! [Laughs]
CE: [Laughs] You shifted religions?
AF: It didn't last too long.
CE: I don't know. I'm not giving it up. I can't give you that one.
IH: How much ad-libbing did you do on this film, or did you just stick to the script?
AF: We did a lot in rehearsal, and our writers would work with us. They're really smart, amazing women. But we wanted to make sure that every scene had a strong direction. Didn't you feel like it was so much of it was already on the page?
CE: Yeah, it was on the page, but there was a lot of rehearsal. A lot of times, you don't get the amount of rehearsal we got in the film world. It wasn't just me and Anna and (director) Mark (Mylod). (Producer) Tripp (Vinson) was there, and our writers (Gabrielle Allan and Jennifer Crittenden) were there. There was a lot of input and a lot of voices. Any fire that possibly could have sprung up, we were putting them out weeks before we had to start shooting. That's rare, especially in comedy.
IH: Chris, you sing and play guitar in the film. Was that real? How was that to do?
CE: I do play the guitar and, once upon a time, I used to sing. That wasn't too bad. It's still awkward to do it in front of people, but I wasn't too scared.
IH: Do you think you'll get a record deal?
CE: I hope not!
IH: Anna, was your dancing choreographed?
AF: Nope, it was not choreographed. It probably should have been! [Laughs]
IH: Anna, were you happy with your recent article in The New Yorker and how they showed you in a different light?
AF: That whole experience was a journey. The journalist interviewed me for about five months. It was crazy! But I was really happy with it. It was about the bigger picture of women in comedy, and what an amazing story it's been through the summer. I think it's been a real victory for the ladies.
IH: How seriously do you think women take these kinds of magazine articles, like "How to Get a Man" and things like that?
AF: My mom actually didn't let me read any women's magazines growing up. She also didn't let me see Pretty Woman. She thought I was going to want to be a hooker! So instead I just got cast in Scary Movie. [Laughs] But I'm not quite sure. These are girls that are trying to figure it out. Ally is particularly lost in this moment when we meet her in the movie, and is looking for guidance wherever she can find it.
IH: You guys must see your fair share of romantic comedy scripts. What was it about this one that really attracted you?
AF: It just felt so sharp. I love playing characters that are kind of a mess. For the last decade, it seems like we've seen a lot of women in film that are not that, and that are trying to juggle it all in an organized way. So I was really excited to play somebody who's lost, who's unemployed, who drinks a lot, and who sleeps around. That was exciting to me. Those scripts don't come around very often.
CE: A lot of times, when you read those scripts, you don't know who's going to be in the film. I knew it was going to be Anna, so with every page, I was picturing Anna doing it. It is a character that's a mess, and Anna's really good at being a mess. She's really funny in every scene. I was like, "Anna is going to destroy this. She's going to be so funny in this." I think I laughed out loud at least six or seven times while reading the script. It was out-loud laughter. If that happens, that's a good sign.
IH: Chris, being from Boston, what was it like to shoot there?
CE: I loved it! It was the time of my life. I absolutely loved every second of it. My whole family was ten minutes away. They weren't allowed on set, though!
IH: What did it mean to you to actually have the chance to shoot at Boston Gardens?
CE: Oh, it was unbelievable! It was strange that I was running around in my underwear, but quite a day. It was crazy! I don't know how to put it into words. It's one of those rare things that film affords you.
IH: Do you feel that the double standard of women sleeping around and being sluts, and men sleeping around and being studs is warranted at all?
AF: No, I think it's unfortunate.
CE: No, of course not. I think the definition of a double standard is that it's not warranted.
AF: I think there is still a bit of a moral identity, as women, that is somehow linked to the number of people we've been with and how much experience we have, and whether or not we should feel guilty for those experiences. It's a fun conversation to have sometimes, unless you're asking your husband how many people he's been with! Do I think it's a dated, archaic conversation? Yeah. But it's still fun. Does that make any sense?
IH: Anna, as the producer of this film, is that something that you want to do more of?
AF: I produced The House Bunny as well. It's always exciting to be a part of the development and creative process, and I hope to continue to do it. I feel like, especially in the comedic world, it's how things have to be done. You have to be a part of the motivating factor of getting the movie made. It's so hard.
IH: Chris, anything on Captain America 2?
CE: Nothing I can share with you!
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation's 'What's Your Number?' is released on September 30, 2011.