Seth MacFarlane’s latest film “A Million Ways To Die In The West,” hit theaters yesterday May 30, 2014 and xystwhat.com had the opportunity to exclusively interview one of the film’s stars Evan Jones. Evan spoke with us about his character and working alongside Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson, Charlize Theron, Seth MacFarlane, and Giovanni Ribisi.
How was it working on this Seth MacFarlane comedy?
It was hilarious! He created the animated show, “Family Guy,” so he’s a pretty funny dude and he’s pretty creative. He did the movie “Ted,” which was amazing. So working on this one was quite a dream come true for me, I haven’t done too many comedies but it was really a great experience because he’s like a contemporary kind of comedy, funny guy, television and film world. He was wearing all these hats. He was directing, he was starring, he had co-written, he was producing, he probably did 20 other things as well. He was a class act, he’s a really nice guy. I wish I could say horrible things about him but he was really generous to everyone, so it was a total blast. There were amazing actors there. There were amazing people in every single department … the horse wranglers were amazing so it was total trip. It was totally awesome for me. I learned how to ride horses. I was a cowboy. I lied and said I knew how to ride horses before I got the job. When I got there, luckily we had two weeks to learn how to ride horses and shoot. Sick shooters, live out in New Mexico and go to rodeos, it was awesome.
Tell us about a typical day on the set for you.
We would show up, it would be gorgeous, the sun would be coming up in beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico and you would get in your awesome cowboy garbs that you wore the entire time, it was covered in dust and smelled awesome and grabbed your gun from the armor, get a horse from the wrangler, go ride around and usually we would set up and do something with the horses for a little while, and then we would go do something with the guns, and then we’d eat something fantastic and then more of the same and just enjoyed it until the sun was going down. Literally there was one day where we were doing some of the riding shots, and it was Liam Neeson, myself and some of the bad guys, and we were doing a chase scene where we’re chasing Seth MacFarlane and the sun was kind of setting over these beautiful hills, we’re riding our horses, chasing the camera, and in between I look at my friend and said “I hope I remember this moment,” because it was so gorgeous and it was so much fun.
And, what was it like working alongside such great cast members, Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Neil Patrick Harris, and everyone else?
It was great. These people are so good, they’re the top of their game. Charlize Theron is an Academy Award winner. Everyone’s amazing, I am nuts about all of them, they’re all really good. Neil Patrick Harris is really good. Giovanni Ribisi is some who I’ve admired since I’ve wanted to be an actor, and to get to watch him work on his craft, and do this comedy which he’s so good at, to see him do each take slightly differently, trying to find it, the way he was working with Seth MacFarlane, it was so funny. I would just sit there and try to soak it in, and try to learn something from these people, it was like a master class in acting.
How did you come across this role?
I just went to an audition. I went in and I got to meet Seth and it’s hilarious because actually, I grew up in Massachusetts and my debate partner, when I was a freshman in high school, is now a writer for “Family Guy,” for Seth’s show. So the first thing I said when I met Seth was “How is it having John as an employee?” My old debate partner is his employee, they’re good friends, and he’s one of his head writers. But it was so hilarious how things went full circle and now John’s now even in the film, he wrote some of the gags for the film and as well.
Tell us about your character, Lewis.
It’s interesting because with this comedy, they take the genre and flip it on its head, so at first we’re kind of the cliche bad guys … we come in and terrorize the town and what not. so I try to take it as far as I could go, as villainous as it could go and it was pretty amazing and interesting and it was fun for me to do. It was different for me. So this guy is just bad to the bone, he hates everyone and he’s sick and tired of the whole situation, he’s not even a huge fan of Liam Neeson’s character, Flinch, who’s the head boss man. He’s sick and tired of the whole mess and he wants out. The only thing he knows is kill and beat the crap out of people and get drunk, so that’s kind of what I go to do, which was just a pleasure.
What are some of your favorite moments in the film?
Favorite, I don’t know, but funny and interesting was, I had a birthday while we were shooting, and I think I’ll always remember this because I spent the entire day getting kicked in the groin by Charlize Theron because that was the gag we were shooting that day. I had to set up a whole thing for protection and what not, and she just got to let loose. That was something that was pretty memorable to me.
How do you pick what roles you want to do?
I love to work, I love acting, so I really am open to everything. There are times where I’m like, “Oh maybe not that one,” or “Not this one,” but I find that every single job that I do, I learn something on it. So it’s not very particular, I love playing all types of roles and trying to do it in different ways. That doesn’t mean I haven’t done some roles and didn’t like the final result, even through that I’ve learned a ton through doing it, so I’m not too picky, I’m open to everything.
What would you say the message is beyond all the jokes and vulgarity?
I think it’s generally a “Smile, life’s rough so let’s just laugh, it’s a better way to get through it then to cry about it.”
Have you used that philosophy in your own work?
It’s that philosophy of always looking on the bright side of life from Monty Python. I find it’s incredibly important to see the glass half full rather than half empty. There have been times where I felt woe is me, sorry for myself type thing, but then being slapped in the face with some perspective and thinking things are not that bad, people have it much worse, just be happy with what you have, and a positive attitude will make things much better. You can help other people. Just by helping other people makes things everything much better. So that kind of attitude is always the best.