The Human Torch Gets New Powers - Chris Evans Talks 'Push'

With two Fantastic Four movies already under his belt, actor Chris Evans may have temporarily hung up his tight blue spandex costume but that doesn’t mean the hunky actor was ready to wave goodbye to the world of superpowers.

“The truth is I kind of look for those movies,” admits Evans. “I know you don’t want to get pigeon-holed and I’m sure my agents would probably enjoy a little more variety in my palette, but I have a really good time making those films. It’s like a childhood fantasy so if a script comes across my desk with a superpower hint to it, I have my fingers crossed it’s a good one.”

Best known for roles in Not Another Teen Movie, The Perfect Score, Cellular, Street Kings, and of course The Fantastic Four, Evans certainly felt Push was a diamond in the rough.

“There were a couple of things that appealed to me,” notes Evans. “It had a very intricate plot with a lot of twists and turns. As soon as you finish reading it, you want to read it again. It’s kind of like the Sixth Sense where as soon as you finish it, you want to rewatch it and make sure it checks out. Push is one of those movies you have to pay attention to and I respect the plot. And when I heard Paul McGuigan was directing, he’s such an artist with the camera. When we sat down and spoke, his vision for the film was a very natural approach. It’s not very CGI heavy. He wanted to make all the effects tangible and real. His vision for Hong Kong had a Bourne Identity feel to it. It wasn’t so glossy so I thought it would be cool.”

In Push, Evans stars as Nick Gant, a mover or telekinetic trying to stay under everyone’s radar while unsuccessfully using his powers to gamble on the streets of Hong Kong. When the sassy clairvoyant Cassie manages to track him down to deliver a warning, Nick finds his life turned upside down and on the run.

“He got his powers from his father, who was an incredibly powerful mover killed by Division, a secret branch of the government that is out to find these special individuals, and turn them into lethal weapons,” explains Evans. “Nick actually neglected his powers for a few years. He rejected the burden and as a result, he’s not too skilled with them. He’s been hiding and is reclusive. Nick’s on his own and isn’t the friendliest guy in the world at the beginning of the film.”

Chris Evans as the Human Torch in 'Fantastic Four'
Chris Evans as the Human Torch in 'Fantastic Four'
Chris Evans as the Human Torch

Evans had already endured a painful harness experience on Fantastic Four, a treacherous water sequence in Sunshine, and they didn’t take it any easier on him for Push either.

“I would say this is probably the most physical movie I’ve done,” reveals Evans. “With the Fantastic Four, the physicality comes in the form of mental patience. You are hanging from a wire for three hours or you’re in a very uncomfortable suit. The amount of actually physical work you do is limited given that CGI plays such a big role. For Push, you got your hands dirty. At the end of the film, there’s a gigantic fight sequence and it’s very physical. We went a couple of weeks before shooting and watched the stuntmen map out this 10 minute fight. It’s a brutal fight. We really left everyday with bruises and cuts to try and make it look as good as possible.”

In one confrontation between Nick and fellow mover Victor Budarin, Evans seriously got bashed around the restaurant like a pinball.

“Yeah, I did,” agrees Evans. “There’s one shot where I’m running and I’m fighting another man who’s also telekinetic. As I’m running, he telekinetically throws a chair into the back of my leg which trips me up. They wanted this chair to essentially take my legs out and I’d land on my back. I said “Let me do that. Let me throw on some pads and let me take a fall.” They were willing to let me do it. None of this “No, no, no. We’re not going to let our actors get hurt.” They said “Great! Strap him up!” I took a fall and it was a lot of fun.”

Surely his time in front of a green screen as the Human Torch helped him prepare for Push’s visual elements though.

Chris Evans get his legs cut out from under him in 'Push'
Chris Evans get his legs cut out from under him in 'Push'
Chris Evans in 'Push'

“I gotta tell you, the thing about The Fantastic Four is you really have to tap into your imagination because there’s nothing in front of you,” says Evans. “You’re acting with a tennis ball, or a blank screen, and have to imagine what’s there. The tricky part is they can explain to you what’s there, but you never really know. I’m acting with what I see in my head and then they add their own touches later. With Push, there was very little that was CGI. If we had to imagine a table being thrown across the room, they threw it across the room for us. It makes our jobs as actors easier to have a tangible environment to play off of.”

Filmed over in Hong Kong, the foreign location seems to have added a realism and authenticity to the movie.

“Absolutely,” confirms Evans. “Hong Kong is congested and has an incredible color palette of grays and browns. To be blunt, it looks kind of filthy at times but Hong Kong is a character onto itself.”

Push boasts a talented cast including Djimon Hounsou, Camilla Belle, and Neil Jackson. However, with most of Evans’ time spent opposite Dakota Fanning, he has nothing but high praise for the young actress.

“I love her,” he smiles. “I had a blast with Dakota. We hit it off right away. It’s intimidating when you meet somebody who was born in the 90’s and they have a more extensive vocabulary than you do. She is so talented, modest, and just a genuine human being.”

Further adventures of the Push universe are already being explored in the Wildstorm comics and Evans is hoping they will get the same chance in future movie installments.

“It would be great if they did because they left it open,” says Evans. “It would be nice to learn more about Nick’s back story. They do a few flashbacks, touch on where he came from, and his parents’ situation. And there’s Cassie. We both come from pain and family drama so it would be nice to explore that in a sequel.”

Nick’s abilities may be impressive but it only seems fitting to ask how he would fare against the Human Torch in a battle.

“That’s a tough call but Johnny Storm had some bigger friends so I’d have to say Johnny,” concludes Evans.

Also on Newsarama:

Director Paul McGuigan PUSHes the Boundaries of the Superhero Movie

Top 10 All-Time Members of the Fantastic Four

2009 - The Year of the Comic book Movie (Again?)

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