Gifted opened everywhere on April 7th. We were given a chance to see an advanced screening of this amazing film and chat with Chris Evans and McKenna Grace about this film about love,family and the “gifts” life gives you. This movie is a must see this season.
Frank Adler (Chris Evans) is a single man raising a child prodigy – his spirited young niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) – in a coastal town in Florida. Frank’s plans for a normal school life for Mary are foiled when the seven-year-old’s mathematical abilities come to the attention of Frank’s formidable mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) whose plans for her granddaughter threaten to separate Frank and Mary. Octavia Spencer plays Roberta, Frank and Mary’s landlady and best friend. Jenny Slate is Mary’s teacher, Bonnie, a young woman whose concern for her student develops into a connection with her uncle as well.
Our Chat with Chris Evans
So, Chris, how was it like working on the Gifted movie?
Chris: It was fantastic, there were a lot of great people, a great script, a great director. It was one of those films that you hope others can be just like, that we felt like a family by the time we wrapped.
Chris, can you speak a little bit about what it was like shooting on location, what were the conditions like day to day?
Chris: It was great. We shot in Savannah, and it’s a beautiful city, and we shot in September, October, so the humidity had begun to break and we beat the storm season, so it was actually the perfect time to shoot. It was gorgeous.
You are not a parent was it hard and how did you prepare for this role in that regard?
Chris: Well, I kidnapped a kid and just studied it. No, I’m kidding. I have nieces and nephews and all my friends have kids and I’m around children quite a bit, so I think I have a pretty decent sense of the parent-child relationship and dynamic for the most part.
What was your favorite scene from the movie?
Chris: That’s tough. Favorite scenes for different reasons. I’m a little bit of a sap, I really like the hospital scene. I know it’s a very tear-jerky moment. I like that type of stuff. I really actually loved, it’s actually a scene that I really wasn’t involved in too deeply, it was the scene where Lindsay Duncan is in the middle of being questioned by my lawyer. And Lindsay just has this unbelievable two-page monologue, it was so powerful watching her do it, and she had to perform in front of this whole courtroom of people. And it’s very rare that you’ll be on a film set that after they yell “Cut” the crew applauds, so it was really powerful to watch her do it time and time again.
This movie is a lot different from some of your previous movies that you’ve done, especially all your superhero movies. Do you prefer one type of film over the other, was this more challenging than others?
Chris: I don’t know which one I prefer. I think most actors are somewhat material by nature, and we follow our creative appetites and they tend to shift with the wind. So, sometimes you really enjoy those big studio films and it’s fun to play make believe wearing a costume and throwing a shield and punching out aliens, and then sometimes you want to tap into something you’re a little bit more familiar with in your own personal experience and you want to go more subtle and more internal. So, I don’t know that I prefer one to the other. I think I prefer the pacing on a smaller film, all acting aside, just the logistical approach to making a smaller film, you have to shoot more stuff per se, you don’t have the luxury of time and money. On a bigger film, there’s a lot of sitting around, there’s a lot of waiting and sometimes that can become a bit tedious.
What was your favorite part about working with Mckenna?
Chris: God, tough to pick just one. She’s got a great personality. She always has energy. She’s full of life. She’s nine, so, I don’t know, she’s just a little ball of happiness, she’s always smiling, she knows everybody’s name. It’s really nice to be around that on a film set because you remember how much fun this job can be. I’m fully aware how lucky I am to do something that I love, that’s such a rare thing, but it’s really a wonderful reminder to know how much fun this job is, not just lucky and unfortunate, but truly just fun.
Our Chat with McKenna Grace
What was it like working with the cast and crew on Gifted?
McKenna: Oh my goodness, I loved the crew, I loved the cast and I loved working with Chris even though I couldn’t go anywhere with him because there were always ladies following him around and screaming. I loved working with Octavia because we’d always have dance parties, and I’m so thankful I got to meet and get to hang out with all of those people for two months.
What is your favorite subject in school?
McKenna: Math, actually. I developed a love for math on Gifted because I grew really close to math over those two months.
In your opinion, who would be the perfect audience for this movie?
McKenna Anyone that has a heart. Anyone that has a heart, anyone that feels, and anyone that wants a feel-good movie that has a happy ending, and anybody that feels different, or alone. We all feel different sometimes, and I feel like this is a really great feel-good movie to go watch.
Do you want to continue acting when you’re an adult or do you have another job you’d like to do?
McKenna: I’d love to do acting, but I also always wanted to have an animal sanctuary. I’ve always wanted to be able to do something more for animal abuse, or animal capturing, or something to help animals, but I really want to continue acting whenever I’m older.
How did you handle all the hard math problems on the set? Did you have to memorize the equations?
McKenna Yes, I did. But, my mom and I, we turned it into a little song that I sang in my head. I still remember that tune to this day because it was so catchy, it had to be a catchy tune or else I would forget it.
What was like working with Fred on set.
McKenna Oh my goodness. It really wasn’t Fred. His name was Bob, and he was so great. He was so soft and snuggly. I loved to snuggle him, and he would purr and meow. Well, that’s what all cats do, but I just love cats. He was my best friend, and he loved treats. They were always giving him treats, and he was just a really good cat.
What’s next? Where will we see you again?
McKenna Well, I just did some Designated Survivor, and I will be in Season 3 of Fuller House, and then I also was in I, Tonya, which I think comes out in 2018 or late, late, late 2017. Oh, yes, I almost forgot, I’ll also be in How to Be a Latin Lover which comes out pretty soon I think, April 28th is what my mom says. I’m really excited for all of those things to come out.