Jul 07, 2011 03:56 PM EST

An Interview with Bad Teacher's Matthew J. Evans

An Interview with Bad Teacher's Matthew J. Evans
Matthew J. Evans, who is currently starring alongside Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, and Jason Segel in Columbia Pictures comedy "Bad Teacher" recently had a chance to sit down with FlickDirect and discuss his involvement with the film and also his latest film "Poetic Justice Project" which is currently hitting the film festival circuit. 

FlickDirect: You are in Bad Teacher, also starring Cameron Diaz. Tell us a story about working with her!
Matthew J. Evans: She was really amazing to work with.  She was really funny -- always telling jokes and stuff.  One time she played an April fool's joke on us.  It was a scene with just her and me.  She just stood up and walked out!  We just stood there going, "What's going on!?" For about a minute and a half ... we were sitting there awkwardly, and she came back in and goes "April Fools!"
We laughed--it was funny.
FlickDirect: You are about 15?
Matthew J. Evans: Fourteen. I will be fifteen in August.
FlickDirect: Right -- you had a chance to work with these more senior and distinguished actors. What did you learn from working with these people?
Matthew J. Evans:  I learned a lot.  Not just about acting, but filmmaking in general.  From Cameron in particular -- she really was good at just being her character -- not being over the top or a caricature. She was really in the moment and really into being real.  One thing that was great about working on the Bad Teacher set was that the crew was really, really great.
Any time I had a question about what they were doing -- like asking, "What does that button do," or "Why are you putting the lights over there?"  They were always willing to talk to me and explain and kind of teach me about the technical aspects of filmmaking.  Just being on the set and watching them, I learned a lot.
FlickDirect:  You play kind of a dork -- someone who is not that smooth.  Did you
have a minute where you got cast and went 'WAIT A MINUTE!? I'M NOT A
Matthew J. Evans: I think I am -- maybe a little more similar to my character than I would like to admit [laughs]; it was a lot of fun because…he is such a dork.  If I met him in real life, I would probably say the same things.  Cameron says, "Don't wear your hair like that; don't wear that
winter hat!"  It was a lot of fun to play him and get into the character.  His lines are so funny.
While reading the poetry in the movie, it was so hard to film because I kept wanting to laugh because the poetry was SO horrible.
FlickDirect: Ok, so the movie is out now.  It is getting buzz.  Do you follow the reviews?  Do you try to figure out if people are talking about you - or do you stay away from that discussion?
Matthew J. Evans:  I find the whole thing really exciting. I do check out the reviews -- even the ones that say Bad Teacher was a horrible movie!  Since I think the movie was funny and entertaining, I don't always agree.  When they mention my name or my character, it's cool! I am like -- I made an impression on them!
FlickDirect: Have all of your friends gone to see it?
Matthew J. Evans:  Oh yeah, they are texting me and leaving me facebook messages -- "I just saw you!" That's cool too.
FlickDirect: You have directed several things:  Poetic Justice, A War Story, and A Love Story, and have won awards.  You are 14 -- how did that happen?
Matthew J. Evans: I started filmmaking about three years ago.  I was really interested in acting and filmmaking.  I have always been interested in that, and I was into the behind-the-scenes aspect.  That really got me into film-making.
FlickDirect: How did you become the director here?  There must be a lot to making these; how did that come together?
Matthew J. Evans: It is mostly just me.  My films are documentaries, so there is no casting.  My lights are work-lights from Walmart, but I make them work.  I do the editing, and it is my camera.
FlickDirect: So for the Love and War Story movies, did you just find these people and say "Man, I have got to point a camera at them?"
Matthew J. Evans: They are my grandparents, and I was inspired to make the film by talking to them.  My Grandpa would sometimes mention a little short story about his time in Korea.  I didn't know much about it; they call it the Forgotten War.  I was interested in that period of time, and it got me into making the movie.
My Grandpa never told anyone before me a lot of the stories.  It was the first time he had talked about the experiences ever.  It was really cool to have that opportunity and capture that on film. That was powerful.
FlickDirect: And you did the Poetic Justice Project -- a documentary about ex-cons who now work in a theater group.  How did that work? What did they think when you showed up and said "I want to do a documentary about you?"
Matthew J. Evans: It wasn't quite that abrupt.  It was a process.  They were rehearsing at a theater my Mother runs, and I would sit in and talked and developed a friendship with them.  It was fascinating hearing their stories, what they did to get incarcerated, and all the work they had done to change their lives and the process for them - they abandoned their old life style.  I thought it was a really inspiring story about transformation and perseverance.
FlickDirect: That's very impressive!  So back to Bad Teacher for the wrap up: If I am trying to tell people who to see it. What might I compare it to?  I know it was done by the guys who write for the Office. Do you like the Office?
Matthew J. Evans: I love The Office.  I am not sure what I would compare it to.  If you like any raunchy comedy, I would say to go to see it.  There is also some real romance between Cameron and Jason Segal.  If you like comedy and you are okay with some offensive stuff, it is really funny and
FlickDirect: I guess you are one of the few 14-year-olds who took your Mother to see it?
Matthew J. Evans: [Laughs!] And my Grandparents!  I am really grateful for my family's support.  They are always there, and I am really grateful.
FlickDirect: Great. If there is a Bad Teacher 2, maybe you can reprise the role.
Matthew J. Evans: I hope so.
FlickDirect: Anything else on your plate?
Matthew J. Evans: I'm working on another documentary right now about a friend of mine who has a rare disease called MPS1.  It is a storage disease where certain chemicals that your body would normally break down no longer get broken down. When he was first diagnosed, there wasn't a treatment or cure; and the movie tells the story of all the work his Mom went through to save his life and hire the doctors and researchers who would work on finding the treatment.
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