Interview: Allen Evangelista from 'Project Almanac'

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Allen Evangelista is a face television fans will recognise. Having risen to prominence playing FireWire in Zoey 101 and Henry Miller in The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Allen is now heading to the big screen in exciting sci-fi thriller Project Almanac.

"Project Almanac is about a group of friends who stumble upon blueprints to build a time machine. It asks the question, 'What would you do if you had that kind of power?'" Allen told Musichel in an exclusive interview. "I'm extremely excited about Project Almanac's potential. I think it's going to surprise a lot of people." Spearheaded by Transformers director Michael Bay, the film explores time travel—a subject that has provided the foundation for a slew of Hollywood films over the past decades—in a way the world has never seen.

In this interview, Allen discusses his starring role in Project Almanac, playing teenage characters, Henry's shocking fate in Secret Life and time travel. Project Almanac will be out in theaters on January 30, 2015.

Tell us about your upcoming feature film Project Almanac and your character Adam.
Project Almanac is about a group of friends who stumble upon blueprints to build a time machine. It asks the question, "What would you do if you had that kind of power?" Adam is the computer genius and best friend of David (played by Jonny Weston). He is the more cautious type with a good head on his shoulder. He's the one that second guesses and double-checks everything, which I think is pretty necessary when dealing with time travel.

The film runs in the style of a series of found footage, which has in recent years been popularised by horror films such as the Paranormal Activity series. Are there any horror elements in this film?
In a way, yes. The possible consequences with time travel, to me, can be just as scary as any horror film. You never know what damage the smallest change can cause.

Are there any differences between acting in a found footage film and a typical multi-camera film?
Yes. Found footage is extremely enjoyable for me. With most movies—similar to TV—you shoot a scene then you shoot the same scene from another direction, then another, and another, with many camera changes and set dressings in between. With found footage it's almost like theater: you act the whole scene out, one time, everyone at their best. The director will then give his input, then you try it again. The less waiting in-between keeps you—and the material—fresher, in my opinion.

I was surprised to find out that you weren't actually a teenager even though you've played high school students on many shows including The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Do you often get mistaken for a teenager in real life?
A little bit, but not as much. I definitely get carded still. I look at it as a blessing. Would I prefer to play older roles? Sure. But I'll play a teenager as long as they want me to because any actor is lucky to get any job in this business.

Just another question about your character on Secret Life: was Henry's enlistment into the U.S. army something that was planned for a long time? What was your reaction when you found out about it? It definitely took fans by surprise.
If it was planned for a long time, they definitely hid it from me well. I actually don't think it was. We found out late in the fifth season that there wouldn't be a sixth. The writers had to scramble and come up with ideas to wrap things up. When I heard about Henry's future, the first thought in my head was, "Oh man, Henry's going to die." He just doesn't seem like he'd do well in the army. I was a little sad about it. I'd spent five years with this character and he was probably going to die in the army. But he's serving his country and I learned to appreciate that. If it's your time, there are definitely less noble ways to go.

You've worked on several television shows and movies over the years. Which has been your favorite project to work on so far?
Secret Life, so far, has been my most successful outing. It established me in the business so I will forever be grateful to Brenda Hampton, ABC Family and everyone involved. That being said, I'm extremely excited about Project Almanac's potential. I think it's going to surprise a lot of people. I'm very happy with the finished product.

L-R: Jonny Weston as David Raskin, Sam Lerner as Quinn Goldberg, Allen Evangelista as Adam Le

Besides Project Almanac, what else do you have on your slate for this year?
I recently shot another episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. The cast and crew are incredibly nice on that set. The episode should air sometime in January.

If you were given the chance to travel through time in spite of the events that unfold in Project Almanac, would you take it up?
Just once, to win the lottery. Then I would destroy the machine.

Lastly, what are some New Year resolutions you have for 2015?
To eat healthier and to do my best to let things out of my control go. I think I need a more positive outlook sometimes. I am definitely lucky to be where I am today.

Photo credits: Ben MillerParamount Pictures

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