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Evan Peters Loves Playing a Hero in X-Men Apocalypse, But His Heart Belongs to American Horror Story's Villains


By Hilton Collins

On Saturday at Wizard World Sacramento, audience members packed the ballroom at the Sacramento Convention Center to see actor Evan Peters discuss his admirable Hollywood career. Peters has a long and impressive resume of acting credits, but he's probably most famous for playing Quicksilver in Fox's X-Men film franchise and multiple characters throughout American Horror Story's television seasons.

Peters's scene-stealing performance as the superfast Marvel mutant was one of the highlights of both this summer's X-Men: Apocalypse and 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past, but it wasn't just because of visual effects. So far, Fox's Quicksilver has been charming, youthful, and fun in the films, a stark contrast to the character's arrogant, haughty, and often off-putting personality in the Marvel comics source material.

When a fan pointed out the differences, Peters noted the movies' inaccuracies.

"He's cocky," Peters said, referring to the comic book version.


In research, he'd seen Quicksilver's classic, iconic blue costume with the white lightning bolt motif, but when he saw what he'd wear in the movie, he knew the studio was going in a different direction.

"I saw wardrobe and I'm like, 'This is nothing like the comic book,'" Peter said, though he'd love to wear Quicksilver's classic costume sometime if the opportunity arose.

Early on, Peters was intimidated at the prospect of playing the part because Aaron Taylor-Johnson, his co-star in Kick Ass (2010), was playing another live-action version of the character in the Marvel Studios films. While Peters's version lived in America, for example, Taylor-Johnson's was from Eastern Europe and had a thick accent.

"I loved that he was Russian," Peters said, though it was awkward for him to still be playing Quicksilver after Taylor-Johnson's died in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). "He gets brutally shot, so I was a little weirded out but there was a silent victory inside of me."

Peters liked his character's cheekiness and sense of humor, and he finds it ironic to play someone who's so fast because Peters himself is really slow.

"I have a 13-minute mile," he joked. "That's horrible."

Peters said he'd like his Quicksilver to crossover with Ryan Reynolds's Deadpool character, the titular anti-hero who starred in February's hit X-Men film of the same name—they share compatible senses of fun and adventure.

"They're both cheeky, silly, fun comic book heroes. I think it could be silly and funny and gory and graphic," Peters said.


But even though Peters's Quicksilver performance was great, he couldn't have conveyed the character's power and energy without the top notch visual effects that showcased his speed. According to Peters, the studio used 3D Phantom cameras to film the shots where he moves so fast that everyone else seems to stand still. The Phantom captures extremely high frame rates, which allows the crew to slow the motion down immensely during editing, which facilitates substantial slow motion effects. Visual effects pros at Rising Sun Pictures painted in enhancements like air ripples and raindrops on Quicksilver's suit as he ran.

It took a team effort to make Quicksilver work wonders onscreen, but in reality, Peters could get creative all on his own with superpowers, and he'd be a lot more mischevious.

"I'd probably go around taking people's toothbrushes while they were brushing their teeth and put it in their butt," he said.

He'd like the movies to adapt the comics storylines where Quicksilver joins with Magneto to become a bad guy, like Quicksilver did when he was younger in Marvel's classic adventures. In the movies, Magneto doesn't know that Quicksilver's his son yet. Peters hopes that Quicksilver will break the news in a future film.

"Hopefully there will be another movie and he'll tell him," he said. "It would be unfulfilling if he doesn't."

But Peters has already gone dark on the small screen on American Horror Story, and he's had the most fun being bad as James March, the sadistic tycoon from American Horror Story: Hotel. The character's darkness and tragedy made him one of Peters's favorite roles, and the fact that March had to deal with the Countess, a woman he could never have, added an intriguing dimension because March is someone who's used to getting what he wants. He also liked March's sophisticated 1930's style and his large vocabulary.


In Peters's opinion, March is similar to Tate, the villain Peters played in American Horror Story: Murder House in the first season. Tate was a serial killer like March, but with a much smaller body count. Peters was unsure which man had greater psychiatric problems, though.

Peters has to get angry first before he jumps into the mind of someone evil. "Just things in everyday life that you can't change [and] listening to very aggressive music," he said. "Nirvana's Bleach can make you angry and see the world very negatively very quickly."

He liked the idea of March being like a shark with scars. The character's literal scars came from being beaten by his father in the backstory the writers came up with on the show. The motivation to kill God and make John Lowe, Hotel's protagonist, commit murders was fascinating to Peters and made March a very deep villain. But it stemmed from March's abuse at the hands of his father, which made him somewhat sympathetic.

The best thing about being on American Horror Story though, other than the writing, has been working with talented cast mates, which includes Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, and Denis O'Hare, each of whom, like Peters, has played roles on multiple seasons. The sets have been great too, like the ones used to create the Hotel Cortez in the most recent season. Peters didn't go into detail about how they were created, but he said that it was amazing to walk on set and pretend it was all real.

When he was young, Peters was inspired to become an actor after his father got a job in Michigan. Peters spent a lot of time in the house watching TV and fell in love with movies and TV and wanted to become part of that world.


He shared advice for those aspiring to be actors as well as those who wanted to direct. Actor hopefuls should start with acting classes. That's where Peters started, and a photographer saw him and put him on tape for a manager and his career took off from there.

As for directors, they need to be decisive and sure of themselves from the start.

"Patience, strength, and confidence, a born leader," he said. "And [to] be able to communicate with people and make decisions well. Being indecisive is not going to do you any good because everyone's coming to you."

But ironically, at another time during the panel, Peters had difficulty making a decision when he was asked whether he was a DC or Marvel guy.

"I don't know. I like Batman, but I also like Iron Man," he said.

Fans can check out X-Men: Apocalypse right now in theaters to see Peters on the big screen.

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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