In the raunchy comedy What’s Your Number?, Ally Darling (Anna Faris) has a bit of a crisis moment, when she reads a magazine article warning that people who have had 20 or more relationships have missed their chance at true love. So, on a quest to find the best ex on her list, she sets out to reconnect with the colorful and sometimes bizarre assortment of lovers from her past, hoping that one of them will be marriage material. Throughout it all, Ally’s partner in her quest is her neighbor Colin (Chris Evans), the guy across the hall who has serious relationship and commitment issues of his own. As they get to know each other, what starts out as a friendship of convenience quickly evolves into something much more, as they both realize that they can be accepted for who they really are, instead of changing for someone else.
At the film’s press day, co-stars Anna Faris and Chris Evans talked about how they got attached to the project, that they’ve looked up an ex or two of their own, how they were game for the nudity because it had a humorous purpose, how you can never compromise your integrity for someone else, and that the double standard for women being seen as sluts while men are seen as studs is unwarranted today. Check out what they had to say after the jump.
ANNA FARIS: Sure.
CHRIS EVANS: I’ve done my share of digging, but Facebook makes all of that stuff real easy. I succeeded and found them, and made contact. Now, we are good friends.
FARIS: I had my college ex-boyfriend’s class schedule memorized, so I would “accidentally” bump into him all the time.
EVANS: That’s awesome!
FARIS: It was mortifying! But, he tried to reach out to me six months ago, so at least I feel like I came out on top.
So, you keep in touch with exes?
FARIS: No, I try not to. I only have two.
How did this project come your way?
FARIS: I was attached to it for quite awhile. The writers and producers came to me and we brought it to New Regency, and they were really excited. That’s how the ball got rolling, for me.
EVANS: I had a pretty standard audition process. I got the script, read it and loved it, and knew the people involved, so I went to pursue it. I auditioned and had two or three rounds of reading with people, and got lucky.
FARIS: We got lucky.
You guys must see your fair share of romantic comedy scripts. What was it about this one that really attracted you?
FARIS: It just felt so sharp. I love playing characters that are kind of a mess. For the last decade, it seems like we’ve seen a lot of women in film that are not that, and that are trying to juggle it all, in an organized way. So, I was really excited to play somebody who’s lost, who’s unemployed, who drinks a lot, and who sleeps around. That was exciting to me. Those scripts don’t come around very often.
EVANS: A lot of times, when you read those scripts, you don’t know who’s going to be in the film. I knew it was going to be Anna, so with every page, I was picturing Anna doing it. It is a character that’s a mess, and Anna’s really good at being a mess. She’s really funny, in every scene. I was like, “Anna is going to destroy this. She’s going to be so funny in this.” I think I laughed at loud, at least six or seven times, while reading the script. It was out loud laughter. If that happens, that’s a good sign.
There is quite a lot of both of you, in this film. Were the nude scenes something you were comfortable with, or was it awkward for you?
FARIS: I don’t know about you, but I love showing my ass to a crew of 300 that I’ve been working with.
EVANS: The first time I read it, I was like, “All right, there is a lot of skin, but it’s funny.” It’s all funny. It didn’t ever really feel gratuitous. It just felt like it was all serving a pretty humorous purpose.
When you read the strip basketball scene, were you both okay with that?
FARIS: Initially, it was something else. We were able to secure the Boston Gardens, so they suddenly changed it to strip basketball. Then, I had to be at basketball rehearsal every night after work. But no, it’s one of those things that you read and you don’t actually think, “Oh, I’m going to have to be in my underwear.” I saw it and I thought “Oh, that’s charming.” Then, the day comes and suddenly you’re wearing the tiniest bit of clothes, and you are in front of all the people you’ve been working with for the last three months. All of your credibility is just down the drain.
Chris, were you looking for a role like this, since it’s so different for you?
EVANS: I love doing comedies and I just felt like I hadn’t done one in a little while. I did Scott Pilgrim, but I was in and out in four days, and that was so out there. Any film you do, you can’t help but take a little bit home with you. If you are playing something really heavy and dramatic, you’re going to go home feeling a little exhausted and spent. If you do comedies like this, you go home and you are just smiling and cracking jokes. It feels like summer camp. So, I’m always looking to do movies like this.
Anna, did you do a chemistry read with Chris?
EVANS: I missed the chemistry read. There was a chemistry read, and I got sick. I was in Houston working on something else, and I missed the chemistry read, so I was like, “Well, I lose. I just lost my shot.”
FARIS: I was in New Zealand and they sent me his tape, and it was just so clear.
EVANS: You were like, “He is such a pig! I can just sense it.”
EVANS: Is that like radically new for a guy in his 20s? That’s pretty standard. This is the way guys are. I think there is that window of time, for guys in their 20’s, where they are selfish and just trying to have a good time. Guys at that age really aren’t looking to settle down, at least not a lot of the guys that I know.
Coming off of the success of Captain America and The Avengers, do you think this movie is going to remind people that you are more than just a superhero in tights?
EVANS: “He also takes his clothes off!” Yeah, I don’t know. I will say that I hope so because the good thing about film, as opposed to something like TV, is that you get variety. You get to flex a lot of different acting muscles, in filmmaking. It’s fun to go play a certain character, and put on a blue suit and throw shield around, and then it’s also fun to go crack some jokes and get naked.
Anna, this is the first movie that you’ve done with your husband, Chris Pratt, as a married couple. What was that like?
FARIS: It was actually terrifying because I am more concerned about his opinion of my acting than anybody else, and he is really particular. It was really scary and great, and I was really honored that he was able to do it. He plays Disgusting Donald, who is the instigator for my character’s whole journey. But, I did not cast that fiancée. She was way too hot for my liking!
FARIS: Yeah, we would. It’s just terrifying, in general. It’s like your parents or your loved ones reading something that you’ve written. I can’t help but feel like the scrutiny is going to be much more magnified.
Anna, you are great in comedies, but would you also like to do dramatic roles?
FARIS: You know, I used to feel this need to prove to people that I can do something dramatic. But, the truth is that I don’t know if I can. I don’t think I have it in my skill set. It would be great, but I do love making comedies. It’s been so much fun for me, and I hope that I can continue to do it.
Have either one of you ever had a moment where you had to find the strength to be yourself?
EVANS: I’ve never had to compromise who I am, or shift the way I present the person I am. Maybe there are some things I might not want to do. I have to be honest, I might not want to spend my Saturday doing press, but you’ve got to do things like that. You’ve got to jump through those hoops, at times. But, I don’t think that’s a compromise of your integrity, so the answer is no.
FARIS: I don’t know. In every career, you are balancing or negotiating tricky waters. But, I think that’s been something nice that comedy has been able to give me a little bit more. I have the ability to laugh at myself and hopefully not take all of this whole world too seriously.
What is the most embarrassing thing that either one of you have ever done for love?
EVANS: I don’t know if I can call it love, what I was doing.
How about in pursuit of someone?
EVANS: Sure, that sounds a bit better. I don’t know if I want to say! Those are things I try to forget. I don’t want it permanently written somewhere. God, I don’t know.
FARIS: I joined a youth group for a guy. I was after him, so I became a Christian.
FARIS: It didn’t last too long.
EVANS: I don’t know. I’m not giving it up. I can’t give you that one.
How much ad-libbing did you do on this film, or did you just stick to the script?
FARIS: We did a lot in rehearsal, and our writers would work with us. They’re really smart, amazing women. But, we wanted to make sure that every scene had a strong direction. So much of it was already on the page.
EVANS: It was on the page, but there was a lot of rehearsal. A lot of times, you don’t get the amount of rehearsal we got, in the film world. It wasn’t just me and Anna and (director) Mark [Mylod]. (Producer) Tripp [Vinson] was there and our writers (Gabrielle Allan and Jennifer Crittenden) were there. There was a lot of input and a lot of voices. Any fire that possibly could have sprung up, we were putting ‘em out weeks before we had to start shooting. That’s rare, especially in comedy.
Chris, you sing and play guitar in the film. Was that real? How was that to do?
EVANS: I do play the guitar and, once upon a time, I used to sing. That wasn’t too bad. It’s still awkward to do it in front of people, but I wasn’t too scared.
Do you think you’ll get a record deal?
EVANS: I hope not!
Anna, was your dancing choreographed?
FARIS: Nope, it was not choreographed. It probably should have been.
How seriously do you think women take these kinds of advice articles in magazines?
FARIS: My mom actually didn’t let me read any women’s magazines growing up. She also didn’t let me see Pretty Woman. She thought that I was going to want to be a hooker. So, instead, I just got cast in Scary Movie. But, I’m not quite sure. These are girls that are trying to figure it out. Ally is particularly lost in this moment, when we meet her in the movie, and is looking for guidance wherever she can find it.
EVANS: I loved it! It was the time of my life. I absolutely loved every second of it. My whole family was 10 minutes away. They weren’t allowed on set, though.
What did it mean to you, to actually have the chance to shoot at Boston Gardens?
EVANS: Oh, it was unbelievable! It was strange that I was running around in my underwear, but quite a day. It was crazy! I don’t know how to put it into words. It’s one of those rare things that film affords you.
Do you feel that the double standard of women sleeping around and being sluts, and men sleeping around and being studs is warranted at all?
FARIS: No! No, I think it’s unfortunate.
EVANS: No, of course not. I think the definition of a double standard is that it’s not warranted.
FARIS: I think there is still a bit of a moral identity, as women, that is somehow linked to the number of people we’ve been with and how much experience we have, and whether or not we should feel guilty for those experiences. It’s a fun conversation to have sometimes, unless you’re asking your husband how many people he’s been with. Do I think it’s a dated, archaic conversation? Yeah. But, it’s still fun.
Anna, as the producer of this film as well, is that something that you want to do more of?
FARIS: Well, I produced The House Bunny as well. It’s always exciting to be a part of the development and creative process, and I hope to continue to do it. I feel like, especially in the comedic world, it’s how things have to be done. You have to be a part of the motivating factor of getting the movie made. It’s so hard.
What’s Your Number? opens this weekend.