Mithology, a late debut in Hollywood. Literature and humanity of an actor.
LUKE EVANS occupies a special space between action films and independent pro- ductions. He came to the attention of the wider public relatively late in his career. In 2010 he played Apollo, in Clash of the Titans. A year later, he played Zeus in Immortals. Evans is currently in cinemas with The Girl on the Train, by Scott Hip- well – the film interpretation of one of the most successful thriller novels of recent years. «Playing a role based on a book that has been read by millions is a responsibil- ity. On the one hand, I can use material from the book to help me construct my inter- pretation of the character, while on the other hand, I am playing that character who has already been imagined by readers of the book, so I need to satisfy very different and precise expectations.» A writer can make use of the private and powerful im- agination that his words stimulate – and the imagination of readers is active and free. «When I played Bard in The Hobbit, I felt this tension more so than in previous roles. All the more because I was dealing with a young boy who defeated a dragon.»
NUMEROUS STORIES, in fairy tales, literature and cinema, depend on the construc- tion of a villain. Evans plays Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, the new film version of the Disney animation released twenty-five years ago and based on the much loved fairy tale. «The character of Gaston in this film closely resembles the cartoon character, although I don’t eat a dozen eggs every morning. There are all the con- tradictions of his personality, the narcissist who has the courage to face the beast. He could be a hero, but instead he’s a villain. A role that reminded me of playing Dracula.» Lately we have seen several, even numerous, stories about vampires. The image of the vampire is iconic for all audiences – strong, proud and power- ful. «Dracula drank blood to become a vampire and to save his people. Dracula is a complex character. I immersed myself in his intricacies, in his human tragedy. For me acting means searching for the person’s humanity in the character. I am completely focussed on human sensitivity. Playing the role of a villain perhaps gives you more freedom to explore contradictions, differences and complexities of the mind.» An ac- tor is a human being who takes on the characters and appearances needed for his roles, exploring their uniqueness by delving into his own uniqueness.
EVANS possesses the right physique for action films, as well as a fine singing and breathing technique. «Before acting in major films, I had parts in musicals. I spent nine years of my life working in musicals. I can’t imagine life without sing- ing.» It is always a question of practice: singing is based on using the diaphragm in a manner similar to that of an athlete. The rigour to achieve the required muscular precision is based on the same drive. «I wouldn’t swap my career as an actor for being a singer. I have the freedom to do both: the role of Gaston in Beauty and the Beast includes performing a full-blown song – the film, following Disney tradition, has several songs. No, I would never stop singing.»
EVANS is an ambassador for Bulgari, wearing the brand’s watches in support of its partnership with Save The Children. He is close to Valentino, Ferragamo and, above all, to the maison Dior. References to fashion are inadequate – a broader term, one that allows a less serious discussion, is more accurate: an aesthetic play- ground. «Working on large film productions, I have had the chance to engage with how designers and image entrepreneursthink. I have met some of them in person, many of them in Italy. The concept of aesthetics means a lot, if not everything: what you wear, how you live, what you drive, the food you eat, the vacations you choose. Aesthetics is a way of life; you find it in a tuxedo and a pair of jeans.» Aesthetics is a genuine philosophy. «Yes, a philosophy. A subject for study. A few days ago, my part in the film telling the story of William Moulton Marston was announced.» The title of the film will be Professor Marston & The Wonder Woman. It is based on the life of the man who explored the connection between blood pressure and emotion by observing women’s moods. Marston contributed towards inventing the polygraph (more commonly known as the lie detector) and having it used for legal purposes. Marston led an unusual life: he had an extended relationship with two women, his wife and his secretary, causing scandal and inspiring the Wonder Woman character and comic book series. Evans could not have responded better, on any aesthetic playground.