This Friday, What’s Your Number? offers up the pairing of Anna Faris and Chris Evans in a Boston-set romantic comedy, based on Karyn Bosnak’s 2006 novel, “20 Times a Lady.”
Ally Darling (Faris) is a down-on-her luck bachelorette whose best friends have all found true love. After reading a magazine article that says that women who have had more than 20 sexual partners are unlikely to ever settle down, she’s shocked to realize that she’s already hit that exact number. Determined not to go over, she enlists the aid of her womanizing next door neighbor, Colin (Evans), to backtrack her entire romantic history in the hopes that one of the 20 is the man that she’s meant to be with.
ComingSoon.net participated in a Q&A with Faris and Evans where the actors talked about the film, working together and the changing face of the rom-com genre.
Q: Have either of you tried to track down an ex before?
Chris Evans: I’ve done a little digging.
Anna Faris: Yeah, sure.
Evans: Facebook makes all that stuff real easy. I succeeded and I found a contact and now we’re good friends.
Faris: I had a college ex-boyfriend’s class schedule memorized so I would “accidentally” bump into him all the time. He tried to reach out to me like six months ago, so at least I feel like I came out on top.
Q: So you do keep in touch with exes?
Faris: No, I only have like two.
Q: Where did this project begin for both of you?
Faris: I was attached to it for quite awhile. The writers and other producers came to me and we brought it to New Regency. They were really excited and that’s sort of how the ball got rolling for me.
Evans: I had a pretty standard audition process. I got the script, loved it and loved the people involved. I had the audition and had two or three rounds of meeting people and just got lucky.
Faris: We got lucky!
Q: We see a lot of both of you in the movie. Was that something you were instantly comfortable with or was it awkward doing those scenes?
Faris: I don’t know about [Chris], but I love showing my ass to the 300 people that we’re working with. (laughs)
Evans: The first time that I read it, I thought there was a lot of skin, but it never feels gratuitous. It’s all serving a pretty humorous purpose.
Q: Anna, you’re not really as good as basketball as your character, are you?
Faris: What?! You could tell?! (laughs)
Evans: It wasn’t originally going to be strip basketball.
Faris: No, it was something else. We were able to secure the Boston Gardens, so they changed it to strip basketball. It’s one of those things that you read and you don’t actually think, “I’m gonna have to be in my underwear.” I just thought, “Okay, that’s kind of charming.” And then the day comes and you’re wearing the tiniest bit of clothes and you’re in front of all the people that you’ve been working with for the last three months. All your credibility is just down the drain.
Q: Chris, were you looking specifically for a different type of role?
Evans: I love doing comedies. I feel like I hadn’t done one in awhile. I did “Scott Pilgrim,” but I was in and out in like four days. That was so out there. But I love comedies. Any film you do, you bring a little bit home with you. You do something really dramatic and you’re heading home completely spent. You do something like this and you’re smiling and cracking jokes. It’s like summer camp. I’m always looking to do something like that.
Q: Did you two do a chemistry read together early on?
Evans: I missed the chemistry read. There was one, but I was sick and couldn’t make it. I sent someone and said, “Please fight for me!”
Faris: I was in New Zealand and they sent me his tape. It was just so clear.
Q: With “Captain America” already out and “The Avengers” coming out, are you trying to remind the world that you’re more than a superhero?
Evans: He also takes his clothes off! (Laughs) I don’t know, but I will say that film, unlike doing, say a television show, you get a lot of variety. You get to really flex your acting muscles. It’s fun to put on a big blue suit and throw a shield around and then it’s fun to crack some jokes and, you know, get naked.
Q: Anna, this is the first movie that you and your husband, Chris Pratt, have done together as a married couple. What was that like?
Faris: It was terrifying because I think I’m more concerned about his opinion of my acting than that of anyone else. And he is really particular! It was really scary, but I was really honored that he was able to do it. He plays Disgusting Donald, who is sort of the instigator for my character’s whole journey. Honestly, I did not cast his fiancee. She was way too hot! But it’s just terrifying in general. It’s like your parents or loved ones reading something you’ve written. You can’t help but feel like the scrutiny is going to be that much more magnified.
Q: Anna, do you particularly seek out comedic roles?
Faris: I used to feel this need to prove to people that I could do something dramatic, but the truth is that I don’t know if I can. No, I do, but I love making comedies and I hope and I can continue to.
Q: Have either of you had the experience, like in the film, where you’ve had to compromise who you are for a film or for an individual?
Evans: I’ve never had to compromise who I am, meaning shift the way I present the person that I am. But there are minor things. Like, for instance, while I’m sure you’re all great, I’ve got to be honest: doing this isn’t the perfect way I’d like to spend my Saturday. But I don’t think it’s a compromise of integrity or anything like that, so the answer’s no.
Faris: It’s kind of a vague question. I think that, in every career, you’re balancing tricky waters, but I think that’s something that comedy is able to give me a bit more. I think I’m able to laugh a little bit more and not take this whole world too seriously.
Q: How much improv was involved in your performances?
Faris: We did a lot in rehearsal and alongside our writers, who are really smart, amazing women. So much of it was already on the page.
Evans: Yeah, it was on the page and we had a lot of rehearsal. A lot of times you don’t get as much rehearsal time as we got in the film world. It wasn’t just me and Anna and Mark. Everyone was there and any fires that came up, we were putting them out, even weeks before we started shooting. That’s really rare, especially in comedies.
Q: Chris, do you actually sing?
Evans: Yeah, I do play the guitar and, once upon a time, I used to sing. It’s still awkward to do it in front of people, though.
Q: The plot is set in motion by an article in a womens’ magazine. How seriously do you think women actually take those articles?
Evans: I have no idea.
Faris: My mom actually didn’t let me read any womens’ magazines growing up. My mom didn’t even let me see “Pretty Woman” for fear that I would become a hooker. So instead I just went out and got cast in “Scary Movie.” But I think there are girls who are trying to figure it all out and this girl, Ally, is particularly lost and looking for guidance wherever she can find it.
Q: You must both see your fair share of romantic comedy scripts. What was it about this one that jumped out to you?
Faris: I just loved that it felt so sharp. I love playing characters that are kind of a mess. I think that, in the last decade, we’ve seen a lot of women in film that are not that and who juggle it all in an organized why. I was excited to play not-that. I was excited to play someone who is lost and unemployed. Who drinks a lot and sleeps around. That’s exciting to me. Those scripts don’t come around too often.
Evans: For me, it was because a lot of the time, when you get scripts like that, you don’t know who’s doing it. But in this case, I did and every page, I could picture Anna doing it. She’s playing a character who’s a mess and Anna’s really good at being a mess. Every scene, she’s going to destroy it. I think I laughed out at least six or seven times when reading the script. Like, out loud laughter. When that happens, it’s a good sign.
What’s Your Number? hits theaters this Friday, September 30th.