Chris Evans, like a handful of other actors at this year’s Toronto Film Festival, is here to promote his latest career turn: director. It’s a role he’s not taking lightly and one he hopes to focus on primarily once his duties as Captain America have finally been fulfilled… in 2017.
For his debut turn, the affable actor, who is currently sporting a post-Cap beard, has purposely chosen a simple project: the movie Before We Go, written originally back in 2007 and set to premiere on Friday. The film centers on two characters meeting not-so-cute during one very long night in New York City. Think Before Sunrise without the intellectual gymnastics.
Evans stars in the film, too, opposite Alice Eve (Star Trek Into Darkness), and the simple narrative gave the 33-year old an opportunity to learn the language of directing in a contained environment.
“I needed something simple, manageable, and isolated. And I like those movies anyway,” he says, huddled beneath a bunch of couch pillows in a random interview space off Toronto’s main thoroughfare. “It almost feels like a play. I like things that have limited people, a finite amount of time. It almost reads like Neil LaBute.”
And like LeBute, Evans is already bracing himself for a divided reaction to the film, which will debut at the tail end of the confab. He and his producers have held early test screenings and are prepared for not all audience members to love the ambiguous conclusion to the story.
“Do you know how many discussions I had with my producers who wanted me to reshoot the ending?” he asks. “I’d rather have my audience go home and talk about why it’s unique and what love means as opposed to them going home and feeling warm and fuzzy.”
Evans’ willfulness will likely be an asset as he embarks on this new career path—one he intends to focus on solely once his next two Marvel movies, Captain America 3, and Avengers 3 are complete. (His work on Avengers 2 is complete.)
“The only thing I’m pursuing now are directing projects,” he said, adding that he intends for his sophomore effort to be a more ambitious effort. “Who knows, in five, 10 years I may miss acting and want to do that, but for now, I really, really like directing, and I’d love to keep doing it.”