What you're about to read is a conversation between two exhausted human beings, both of whom have participated in one too many interviews during the Toronto International Film Festival. One of those human beings was Chris Evans, known to fans of "Marvel's The Avengers" as Captain America. Evans was in Toronto promoting "The Iceman," a pitch-black biopic of Richard Kuklinski (Michael Shannon), a New Jersey hitman famous for his stone-faced approach to dispatching victims. Evans plays Mr. Freeze, a rival hitman who drives an ice cream truck stocked with cyanide.
When most people think of a film festival in a foreign city, they probably picture leisurely days spent watching great films, having brainy conversations and rubbing shoulders with glamorous stars. And that's how it is for some people, I imagine. But film festivals have become something of an endurance test for the actors, filmmakers, publicists and journalists whose job is to spread the word about movies that no one outside of a five-mile radius has seen.
The actors have it worst. They rarely get to see any films. They rarely get to leave their hotels. And they have to find ways of being "interesting" without saying anything they'll regret. As I was waiting for Evans, he was involved in some type of photo shoot across the room, which, from a very tired observer's standpoint, looked like a miserable experience. Which may help explain why he was drinking from a bottle of Stella Artois when we met. And why he flipped me off.
I interviewed you for "Puncture" once. You were nice.
Oh, good. Well, I became a dick, so get ready.
Good. Your photo shoot looked like an interesting process, by the way. I get the impression that's not fun.
Is any of this fun? Not to knock you, but you do these things and you tell yourself, "Well, it's for this, it's for that." Even right now, I'm like, "What am I doing here? What am I talking about? I'm not curing cancer. What the fuck am I doing?" [Sarcastically:] "Well, this is how I prepared for this movie." You can't help but feel -- I don't know.
You have to understand that it's kind of the same way on the other side of it, too. I want to write about movies, but there's this whole song and dance.
It's like, who cares? It's a fucking movie. You don't need to give a shit, you know what I mean?
I do like seeing you do roles like this.
Last time I spoke to you, we were talking about "Sunshine," and you said, "No one sees my good movies."
I know. No one does.
Was this one of your good movies?
I can't chuck other movies under the bus. [Laughs] It's not like some of my other movies. Yeah, I'll say it's one of the better ones.
It does have a superhero title to it, though.
I know. Everyone's like, "Iceman! So, what are you? Are you the Iceman? What, are you doing another superhero?"
Just say, "yes."
Oh, shit. Just doomed to be in a costume.
This is actually my last interview of this whole festival.
Is it? Man, it's your last interview? Fuck you. I wish this was my last interview.
I've been doing this since Thursday, just nonstop. Like, four of these a day.
Wait, excuse me? You say four a day? Come on, dude.
You just flipped me off.
I did, dude. Yes, [speaks into the microphone] I fucking gave him the bird because this is, like, 45 today. I mean, literally. This was all day. Four a day? I'll take four a day. Four a day? Oh, that's a good gig.
Other than this one, I have to be prepared.
Yeah, that's true. You have to ask the questions.
You can say anything you want. I can't flip you off, but you flipped me off.
No. So help me God, I'll put this recorder through the wall. Can you imagine?
You can drink beer during your interview.
True. Well, I really can't, but I'm doing it anyway. Because this is interview number 45 and, after 45 interviews, you get a beer. It's good. And I don't have to think. They just bring me places.
And people like you.
I get looked at like, "What's this guy's angle?" But on your side you get to drink beer and laugh. Who wouldn't want to interview you?
[Laughs] This is my favorite interview today.
Your character's name is Mr. Freeze.
Yeah. Well, originally, it was Mr. Softee. In the book, it's Mr. Softee.
Oh, why didn't they use that? Because of the rights?
Some rights issues, yeah. I mean, in real life, he was Mr. Softee. It was a Mr. Softee truck. I guess that was some old thing in the 70s -- like the actual Mr. Softee. We couldn't use that.
Was that a wig you were wearing?
Yeah. Wasn't it good?
It's really good. I didn't recognize you at first.
It takes a while for you to show up in this movie. I was getting worried, because I knew I had to talk to you.
I'm like, I've got to talk to him for this movie. He's not in it.
[Laughs] "Where is the guy?" Well, I am in it very briefly. I mean, like, 20 minutes, maybe.
But it's an important role.
There's your title. "It's an important role."
"Chris Evans: It's an Important Role."
[Laughing] Chris Evans on his important role.
And in my lede, I'm going to start out with ...
"It's a fucking movie."
You got to dance to Blondie's "Heart of Glass," though.
I did, I did.
You can't not dance to it.
You can't not dance to it. I was, like, fucking jamming. That's the great thing about the character. I think he just has no sense of social awareness -- I guess this is what people do. I think this is how people are supposed to look, you know? And there's actually a great thing that they say Kuklinski said in one of the books, talking about a club -- you know, he'd kill people in bars and in clubs. He said the best way to go unnoticed was to act gay. The gayer you act, the more people kind of ignore you.
Isn't that crazy? I was like, there's a strange approach. He always would kind of adopt a very feminine demeanor in bars and clubs and just go more unnoticed. It's just crazy.
You and Michael Shannon seem like opposite people.
He's got this onscreen rage.
Well, it depends. Because, once you wrap, we would leave set and go to dinner -- sweetest guy in the world. You know, laughing, joking, nicest man on the planet. On set, he is focused and lasered in and dedicated and that type of conviction and commitment kind of breeds an allegiance. You know, you watch him do this and you're like, "You're right. Hey, come on, everybody, this guy is in a zone and let's get in this zone." His dedication, it's infectious. But, off set, he's a different guy. I think I'm a little more, you know, "Heeeey!!!!" I mean, I wear my emotions on my sleeve. There's no filter.
Yeah, I know. That's what I like about you. Has anyone warned you that you might want to stop doing that?
A lot of people are like ... but I don't understand that.
Like your publicist? Those are the people who don't like that too much.
Oh, my God! But that's the problem: You're around that too much and then you start thinking about that shit and then you start caring about that shit. And you're like, "I can't live my life this way." If I'm going to be an actor, I can't do every fucking interview ... you just think, Am I a good person? I think I'm a good person.
Now that's my headline.
[Laughs] Make it the question first. "Am I a good person? I think I'm a good person." But if you think you're a good person --
I might do that, I'm picturing it.
Remember that "Seinfeld" episode with Cary Elwes? "Am I upset? Yes. Do I wish I was with her? Of course." But if you think you're a good person, then you have nothing to hide. It's such a freeing thing. I tell you what: I used to have a lot of stress and anxiety doing these interviews. And, for me, I'm much more stressful when I feel like I'm trying to be something or just putting on a ... anything. Like, if you go into it just being like, "Ask me anything," I'll give you the honest answer.
While having a Stella.
Yeah! I'll just tell you exactly what I'm thinking, and since I think I'm a good person ...
What if you were a bad person?
Well, if you have an agenda -- believe me, I know plenty of actors who do -- then you have to tailor your answers and you're concerned how you appear. And I don't give a shit how I come across, because I don't think I'm a bad guy. And, you know, I'm just gonna tell you what I think.
So you were really clear that on the first "Captain America" movie, you weren't always happy, and on "The Avengers" you were happy because you didn't have to be on set all of the time. But now you've got to go back and do another one where you're the main guy again. Are you looking forward to that?
Yeah, I'm looking forward to it because the movies were so good.
That's true, but you weren't as happy on the first as you were on "Avengers."
Well, I wasn't happy in the first "Cap'" because -- well, not that I wasn't happy. I was just nervous, you know what I mean? I had taken a role that I was just nervous about. And it was a lifestyle change, and there were a lot of factors on the first "Cap'." I was just nervous, man. It was a big lifestyle, whatever.
Now, it's becoming old hat.
And now it's like, "I got it." I got it. It's OK. No one's fucking kicking down my fucking door. I can still walk around. I can still go to a movie. I think I was just so scared that, like, "This is it. I just signed my death warrant; my life's over. I can't believe I did this. This isn't the career I wanted." That didn't happen. None of that shit happened. I'm fine, fine.
You seem fine.
I'm fine! I'm fine! I'm fine. You know, I didn't have a meltdown and I didn't lose my fucking mind. And the movies were good. And the biggest thing I worried about was making shitty fucking movies. I don't want to make shitty movies and be contractually obligated to make garbage.
And then have to talk about it.
And then be like, "This is why you should see a piece of shit!" And they were great. And so now, it's kind of like, "All right, well, let's go try and make this one even better." I feel comfortable in the role. I love Marvel and I'm actually, dare I say ... excited.
That will be the second part of the headline. "Dare I say..."
"Dare I say! Excited!"
Mike Ryan is senior entertainment writer for The Huffington Post. You can contact him directly on Twitter.
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