Matthew J. Evans, guest star of Disney’s Lab Rats, has gotten some well-deserved attention lately, and at Young Entertainment we are very thrilled for him. He recently received The Art of Making Peace Award at the UN for his film A Quest for Peace: Nonviolence Among Religions, as well as the 2014 Young Artist Award for his role in Lab Rats. The award-winning actor, having turned heads in Bad Teacher, World’s End and several young adult TV shows, sat down with us to discuss accents and imitations, his love of jazz and old school Hollywood, and lots more.
YA: What was it like being singled out as recipient of the Young Artist Award for your role in Disney’s Lab Rats?
EVANS: It was amazing to receive the 2014 Young Artist Award for my role on Lab Rats. I was also really grateful to receive a 2012 Young Artist Award for my role in Bad Teacher.
YA: Talk to us about your character in that show. How are you similar to him and how is he different? Who has been your favorite character to play thus far?
EVANS: My part on Lab Rats is an Irish foreign exchange student named Alistair. He and I are obviously different in terms of background, but we both have a knack for accents! On my episode, I got to do 5 different accents. As Alistair I did an Irish accent, as well as a Southern and Russian accent, along with an impersonation of a rapper and the Godfather, which was super fun!
My favorite part to play has been Garrett in Bad Teacher, starring Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake. Not only was it a great part, being the awkward, dorky, yet sweet poet who writes terrible poetry, but getting to work with such incredibly talented people, like Cameron, Justin, and director Jake Kasden was an unforgettable experience.
YA: With your more recent appearances on I Didn’t Do It and Instant Mom, what were you most excited see on screen? And what were you excited for the audience to see in these shows?
EVANS: I was really excited for my episode of I Didn’t Do It to air. In that show I played a high school band leader named Ross. During production the writers expanded my part and gave me more jokes, and I’m glad how it all came out!
YA: Any fun stories to happen off camera while on set recently?
EVANS: The director of my episode of I Didn’t Do It was a brilliant guy named Joel Zwick. He was such a great director, and he really knew how to keep the energy up. He was always making jokes and his style reminded me of Mel Brooks. At one point in a scene, Austin North and I missed our marks and were completely out of position for the camera angle. Joel called cut, and as he was walking over he jokingly said “Oh boy, it’s like a remake of Dumb and Dumber’ with these two!” He could have the whole crew laughing with one witty line, and I loved every second I was on set with him.
YA: What has been the best acting or professional advice you’ve received? Who do you dream of working with?
EVANS: The most important advice I’ve gotten about the acting business is from my Mom who was a professional actor for many years. She said the best way to avoid becoming discouraged is to understand which things I can control and which things I can’t.
For example, it is with my control to prepare for an audition by learning my lines, developing my character, getting expert coaching, and staying focused and confident. After the audition, I can listen to feedback with an open mind and make sure I’ve learned something from the experience. However, I can’t control the decision of the director or the producer. That’s out of my hands. My job is to stay centered, always do my best and affirm “This or something better.”
One person I’d absolutely love to work with is Woody Allen. He’s my favorite writer and director, and to work with him would be a dream come true.
YA: If you had to pick only one of these word to describe yourself, which would it be and why: ACTOR or KID?
EVANS: If I had to pick one, I’d say actor, because that’s what I want to be, and what I want to be doing. If I could choose another word, though, I’d want to say entertainer. As a musician and filmmaker as well as an actor, I really want to dedicate my life to entertaining and inspiring people through art, whether it’s acting, directing, or playing music.
YA: If you could play any role from any film or TV show in history, who would it be and why?
EVANS: I’d want to play Jack Lemmon’s character in Some Like It Hot. Jack Lemmon is one of my favorite actors, and he’s at his comedic best in that role. To have a chance to recreate one of the most memorable roles in cinematic history would be the greatest opportunity ever.
YA: Depending on your preferred famous YA series, pick one and answer below:
Harry Potter: What house would the Sorting Hat put you into?
Hunger Games: Which district would you be a part of?
Divergent: What faction would you belong to?
Twilight: Edward or Jacob?
EVANS: I can’t say for sure what house or district or faction I’d belong to. I’d probably join whichever group had the best jazz band.
Check out more of our exclusive interviews with the stars of young adult movies and TV shows.