[WARNING: Spoilers ahead for X-Men: Days of Future Past.]
Evan Peters‘ star power is speeding to new heights thanks to a breakout performance in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Director Bryan Singer cast the actor as Quicksilver based on his work in FX’s American Horror Story — and Peters says he was shocked to get the call. (“I was going, ‘What the hell is going on? This is awesome!’ he recalls.)
Peters’ standout moment comes after he breaks Magneto (Michael Fassbender) out of a Pentagon prison — and must speed around a kitchen to take out a slew of security officers — with the big kicker coming when he changes the path of several bullets to prevent them from hitting his comrades.
While it looked amazing onscreen, the shooting of the scene wasn’t as smooth.
“I’m supposed to sprint to the other end of the room to prevent the bullets from hitting my friends — but there’s water all over the floor and I slip and fall — I just eat shit,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Here, Evans breaks down jitters about going toe-to-toe with Hugh Jackman, improvising with Fassbender and the possibility of an expanded role in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse. And for more on Quicksilver’s development, check out our Q&A with Days of Future Past screenwriter Simon Kinberg here.
When you were cast, did you know Quicksilver would become a breakout character?
No, not at all. I knew the character was cool and what they had written was great. But I didn’t know any of the special effects they had planned. I had never done anything like this before. They were filming it and said it would look really cool. I’m super happy with it and pleasantly surprised by how awesome it turned out.
When was the first time you saw all of your scenes onscreen?
I saw it the Tuesday before the premiere in New York. I was super excited and almost in shock at how good the movie was and how the Quicksilver stuff looked.
You stole scenes from huge characters such as Wolverine and Magneto. What was that like?
It was pretty intimidating. I had grown up watching all of the X-Men films, and then there’s Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in front of me. I was really nervous. They were great and really funny and nice guys — Hugh and James [McAvoy] and Nicholas [Hoult]. They were awesome.
What was the key to getting the character so right?
It was trying to find the right attitude for him. You don’t want to make him too crazy and too caffeinated. But it was really the mischievous quality that was something that Bryan and I worked on. He’s faster than the law. He sort of has this attitude that he can get away with anything.
You didn’t have to audition for this role. What was getting that offer call like?
Bryan Singer called me and said he’s a fan of American Horror Story and he wanted me for the role. I was blown away because I audition for things all the time and I don’t get things — and here I get a role in the new X-Men movie as Quicksilver? I was going, “What the hell is going on? This is awesome!”
How long did you shoot for the project?
I think I was actually shooting eight or nine days. It was two different two-week sessions up in Montreal.
What was shooting the kitchen scene like?
It was really cool because in the elevator me and Fassbender got to improvise a lot and just play around, which is so much fun. He’s such a cool guy. Then we get upstairs to the kitchen and it’s all very technical. There are a lot of motion capture camera moves and you are shooting with a phantom camera, which shoots in super slow motion – and the room is brighter than any sunny day. And there are these four guys keeping their eyes open and pretending to be frozen. And I’m just running around pretending to move them.
There’s a section of the scene where I’m moving the arms of two cops, so their guns will move. Then I’m supposed to sprint to the other end of the room to prevent the bullets from hitting my friends –- but there’s water all over the floor and I slip and fall – I just eat shit (laughs).
That stuff looks incredibly physical.
They tried to teach me some parkour. They tried to teach me some jumping over shit and that was funny too.
Did you get good at it?
Not really — it’s very hard!
Writer Simon Kinberg said Quicksilver could have an expanded role. Do you know anything about that?
I would love to be back, especially the way Simon is talking.
What’s it like now that the movie is finally hitting theaters? (Note, we spoke to him on opening day, May 23).
I’m like a kid in a candy store. I’m just so happy to be a part of this movie. Hugh Jackman says he sneaks into a theater and watches a movie with the crowd. I’m thinking that’s a good idea and might do that this weekend.