Written by: Derek Warburton
Photographer: Frank Louis Creative Director: Derek Warburton Makeup: Evy Drew for Exclusive Artists using Tarte Cosmetics Hair: Cecilia Romero for Exclusive Artists using Rene Furterer
Rising star, Christine Evangelista is best known for her work in The Intern, The Walking Dead, and E! Entertainment’s recent show, The Arrangement. Christine sits down with our creative director, Derek Warburton to share all of the inside track this past year. Christine shares her experience getting into her most character as Megan Morrison (played by Evangelista) who enters into an arranged marriage with one of Hollywood’s leading men Kyle West (played by LAPALME spring 17 cover star Josh Henderson) and the most prominent spokesman of the Institute of the Higher Mind.
You are a New York woman through and through, how do you think the city affected your acting skills and what do you think the big difference is studying on the east coast as opposed to being an LA actor?
Ah, I love New York. It’s influence on me as a person has been paramount; it’s influence on me as an actor has created versatility, dynamism. Growing up in all the wildly varied cultures makes you tough yet vulnerable, glamorous and smart. It is the environment to grow up in. You’re directly exposed to it all. The city inspires my curiosity, creativity and most importantly, work ethic.
I’m not at liberty to say the differences in studying acting in New York vs. LA because I’ve only really trained in NYC, but I think it’s safe to say that New York has a more “classically trained” philosophy (many of the great method acting founders were based in New York City), but both cities offer tremendous opportunities for actors.
Your wiki page reads like my favorites page on Netflix. Are you the actress that says, “I just want to work?” or do you think you move through phases of wanting to be a movie actress?
I’ve always have had a strong desire to work and anyone that knows me can attest to that. Obviously to an extent being truly selective as an actress is a privileged earned…however, I always felt I kept a creative integrity about it. I protected myself as an actress and a young woman and always selected projects that were right for me at the time.
We live in a time when the lines between television and film are grey. Fifteen years ago both of those groups were pretty exclusive and didn’t cross over. Both mediums now offer such great projects and storytelling. I do love working in television and having the intense connection it offers; you’re working on something for a longer period of time, you’re connected to something for a longer period of time.
Let’s talk about my favorite show on Sunday night, The Arrangement. When I’m selling it to my friends to watch I describe it as an elevated soap opera. How do you describe the show to people?
The Arrangement to me was always at its core a love story cloaked in a romantic thriller.
It’s a modern-day arranged marriage in Hollywood with two actors: an up and coming starlet and a mega movie star, who is also the face of a (cult-like) self-help group. The series followed Megan as she navigated this relationship, overnight superstardom, and this controlling, dangerous, insular organization
How lucky did you feel playing Megan Morrison? Is she the actress you are, or the actress you want to be?
I think even as complex as she is as a person there is a lot of humanity about her, with a touch of ruthlessness.
I do feel very lucky to play a woman as dynamic as Megan Morrison. On a surface level, you could look at this character and think she’s either opportunistic or looking for a shortcut to fame. I never approached her with those views. To me, she was simply the girl thinking maybe she could have it all: the guy, the love, the connection, the fame AND the career.
I admired her strength throughout the series and I admired her absolute vulnerability- which could be argued her greatest flaw- but still it’s interesting and fundamentally human.
We may both be actresses but we both have very different backgrounds and foundations. I couldn’t imagine embarking in a relationship the way she did. I can say though that we have both done crazy things for love.
There is a huge amount of speculation that The Arrangement is loosely based on a very famous couple in Scientology. How do you field those questions?
I completely understand why people would want to make such a comparison with the series being based in Hollywood. But Scientology is a religion and the organization on the show, The Institute of The Higher Mind is a self-help organization that is totally fictionalized. I actually don’t know much about Scientology, really. Other than what I’ve seen in documentaries.
What do you enjoy more television, film? Any thoughts of theater?
Each medium offers its own tangible thrill. There is a beauty for an actor in the rawness of theater- the adrenaline you feel on stage and the connection you feel to your audience. You have the opportunity to hone the material. Performing the story day after day an evolution that starts to occur. I started my acting career on the off-broadway stages of NYC and that has everything to do with my appreciation for the process of acting.
In regards to film, I always say there is a certain magic about it: It is almost impossible to get a film off the ground and completed… it is a UNICORN to make a “great movie”. The magic lays in how every, single part of the storytelling pieces together and you never know how it’ll work until the very end.
But I believe we are living in a Golden Age of Television and it has become the strongest medium. I love the long form storytelling and the deep connection I have with the characters I play and the connection it allows for the audience. There is just so much opportunity in television to raise the stakes right now and it’s very exciting.
With the rise of #Timesup and #Metoo, so many Hollywood women have come forward and are demanding themselves to be heard. Do u have your own story? Which women are inspiring you the most? Where do you see the movement going?
It is inspiring to see that it has become an evolution, not a revolution. It is a shift in our collective consciousness. This has been the result of people coming together to acknowledge a systemic problem in society that has gone on for long enough. It was very emotional for me to see that 2017 Person Of The Year cover, ’The Silence Breakers’. I am inspired by every woman that has come forward to share their voice, their story and rid themselves of whatever fear or shame they have been carrying. As for where I see this going, I want this to create a broader social change, a generational change so that the children of this world will grow up to understand equality, compassion, and humanity.
What’s next from you?
I am currently working on the film “Beyond The Rush” by director Ante Novakovic. It is a psychological drama about mental illness and a corrupt legal system. I will be shooting during the summer in NYC.