I spoke with Allen Evangelista about his new film Project Almanac. He discusses his character, his favorite movies about time travel, working on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, what shows he would like to be on, the Sons of Anarchy finale, and so much more. The timeless actor is very upbeat and hilarious. I can certainly see why people love working with Allen. Project Almanac opens in theaters on January 30th.
Lena: Do you still keep in touch with your The Secret Life of the American Teenager costars? You had a nice long run on that show.
Allen Evangelista: A little bit. Francia, who played Adrian, I’m the closest to her. We still get together once in a while. Jared Kusnitz, who played Toby, he’s one of my best friends. I haven’t seen most of them for some time. Five seasons is definitely something to be grateful for. That’s one thing that I’m learning in this business. It’s a rarity that things last that long.
Lena: Project Almanac opens on January 30th.
Allen Evangelista: I’m very excited. I’m starting to see the 3D posters in the theaters.
Lena: You have to take pictures with them.
Allen Evangelista: I do. I have no shame, no shame at all. I’m excited about being part of a big studio picture. [Laughing]
Lena: The film is about a group of teens that build a time machine. Can you elaborate on that a bit?
Allen Evangelista: They stumble upon these government plans, and you’ll see all the explanations in the movie, of how to build a time machine. It just raises the question of what you would do if you were in high school and you had those kinds of high school problems in your head; what would you actually do if you had access to this kind of power? I know it’s in the realm of sci-fi, and all that stuff, but it is actually really grounded. We can’t go back to the age of dinosaurs and run around with them. It’s really truthful and it is mostly about the relationship these five kids have and what would happen to the relationship and their lives if you had access to that power.
Lena: You play Adam, one of the teens that help build the time machine.
Allen Evangelista: Yes. Johnny Weston plays the lead, David. I play one of his best friends who is really good with computers, and that helps when you are trying to build a time machine, apparently. I’m more of the responsible, check over every step, cautious kind of guy. I just want to make sure that we are safe before we do any of this time jumping stuff. That was my job in the film.
Lena: Time travel films are always fun. What are your favorite films about time travel?
Allen Evangelista: Back to the Future is definitely my favorite. Looper was really good. I watched Timecop with Jean-Claude Van Damme. That was fun. It was kind of ridiculous but fun. There are probably a bunch of them that I love that I’m doing an injustice by not speaking about them, but I can’t think of any more off the top of my head. My top three would be Back to the Future 1-3.
Lena: There you go. Good for you for still being able to play a teenager. You have very good genes.
Allen Evangelista: Oh, yeah. It’s a superpower. I have graduated high school many times.
Lena: Are you not looking forward to the day where you get cast as a twenty-year-old?
Allen Evangelista: I am looking forward to that. I would love to go to college. [Laughing] I think it’s about time. If they still want to do high school things with me then I am fine with that, but I wouldn’t mind going to college and seeing what the next step is in my acting career age life.
Lena: That is great though. I would be thrilled with that.
Allen Evangelista: Yeah. It’s definitely something that I’m grateful for. I’m probably going to be carded for the rest of my life. That’s a good thing.
Lena: What can you say about Project Almanac and how it will stand out from other films of that genre?
Allen Evangelista: The found footage aspect of it is what’s going to set it apart. I know there has been a lot of found footage movies coming as of late, but I feel the reason why they got so popular is the same reason why people watch reality TV or shows in that nature because it is kind of as close to reality as possible. The effect of having it look like someone was recording it on their phone, like in this movie, makes it feel more realistic, especially being a movie about time travel. It makes it relatable. I think it really works for this. You see these teenagers act in their element and really get that friendship down and that’s the most important thing, I think, to make a movie like this work is the relationship between the cast members. It feels real and you go on this trip with them that feels real as well. I think that’s what is going to separate this from a lot of movies about time travel.
Lena: If you were able to time travel would you?
Allen Evangelista: I would do a couple of things that we do in the movie. If you’ve seen the trailer there is something that has to do with the lottery. That would be fun. I would not be like, “No, I have too much money, so I don’t want any more money.” I don’t think I will get to that point so that would be kind of fun. As far as everything else, I would try to just keep it to that because you don’t want crazy things to start happening, like you’ll see in the movie.
Lena: Yes, there are always pros and cons regarding time travel.
Allen Evangelista: Yes, even the smallest adjustments affect everything. I’ve learned my lesson, but I think a lottery is worth it. You can destroy the machine after that.
Lena: That sounds like a plan. Who wouldn’t want that?
Allen Evangelista: Exactly! That would be okay.
Lena: As long as no one gets hurt, but you really don’t know how it is going to affect everyone. Like in Groundhog Day.
Allen Evangelista: That was really fun. I forgot about Groundhog Day. We actually mention all these movies in the film. It’s like paying homage to everything before it. Groundhog Day was really fun. The idea of it was like how is someone going to watch this movie for that long? It worked completely. Plus you have Bill Murray, so it’s kind of hard to go wrong with that.
Lena: And the groundhog.
Allen Evangelista: Yes, the very cute groundhog that probably had a stunt double or a stuffed animal to fill in.
Lena: Yeah, I don’t think they really let him drive. [The don’t drive angry scene was one of my favorite scenes.]
Allen Evangelista: I don’t think that would have worked. That would have been a very long shooting night.
Lena: What are some of your favorite television shows on right now?
Allen Evangelista: The Newsroom and Sons of Anarchy, and they just ended.
Lena: What did you think about the Sons of Anarchy finale?
Allen Evangelista: I thought it was great. It was cool. A lot of shows end open-ended and sometimes they keep going, life goes on and they are going to keep doing what they are doing and you don’t get to see that because the show is over, but with Sons of Anarchy a lot of the main cast members moved on. I can feel relived now knowing that I wouldn’t be missing that much if I went to Charming right now. A lot of my favorites have passed on. That being said, I’m really excited for them to do more stuff like a sequel or prequel.
Lena: Do you watch Justified?
Allen Evangelista: I don’t. One of the main guys, Walton, played Venus on Sons of Anarchy and he was amazing. That would be something that would convince me to definitely check out that show.
Lena: Is there a show that you would love to guest star on?
Allen Evangelista: I wouldn’t mind dying on The Walking Dead. There is an Asian guy on there already, so I don’t think I could go on there unless he dies. [Laughing] The Newsroom ended, but I would love to try Aaron Sorkin’s dialog. It’s so quick and witty. That sounds like so much fun. I would love to be on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. because I would like to be connected to Marvel in any way possible.
Lena: Any other projects?
Allen Evangelista: I filmed another episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I’ve actually been doing the writing aspect of acting. I’m writing my first script that will be completed soon. It’s pretty exciting and scary, but we’ll see what happens. Writing has definitely been a great release for me. That would be another dream of mine, to be a showrunner for a comedy like The Office or anything like that.
Lena: What is it like on the set of Brooklyn Nine-Nine?
Allen Evangelista: They are the nicest cast that I have ever worked with. The first episode that I did, they all went up to me and introduced themselves and I’ve kind of never experienced that from a cast before. I was the new guy and I usually try to shake everyone’s hand and introduce myself and thank them for having me, but they came up first. Andy Samberg was one of the first ones. Most of my scenes were with Terry Crews and he is, oh my god, like the nicest guy I have ever met. He’s so nice and gracious. There is a reason why they are winning so many awards—it’s not just because of their work it’s also because of their professionalism. Everyone probably loves working with them.
Follow Allen Evangelista (@iFollowAllen) and Project Almanac (@AlmanacMovie) on Twitter
Photo Credit: Ben Miller
Project Almanac opens in theaters on January 30th.