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by Nigel M Smith
May 23, 2014 9:38 AM
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The Indiewire Springboard: Why 'Maps to the Stars' Breakout Evan Bird Is Nothing Like His Bad Boy Character

Cannes Evan Bird in "Maps to the Stars"

Every Friday, Indiewire's Springboard column profiles up-and-comers in the indie world who deserve your attention. Select profiles will include photography by Daniel Bergeron, exclusive to Indiewire. Today we talk to actor Evan Bird, who gives a breakthrough performance in David Cronenberg's "Maps to the Stars," which recently world premiered in competition at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.

Canadian actor Evan Bird plays a teen actor from hell in David Cronenberg's Hollywood satire "Maps to the Stars," which recently premiered in competition at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Abrasive, conceited and incredibly foul mouthed (he calls his assistant something so vulgar we can't publish it here), Bird's character, Benjie Weiss, no doubt reads a total demon in Bruce Wagner's acidic script. Birds's performance is such a revelation not because he nails the insults Benjie frequently hurls with total confidence (which he does), but because he makes the little twit oddly endearing. It's a star-making performance for the Vancouver-based actor, who turns 14 today.

READ MORE: Why David Cronenberg Doesn't Give a F*ck What Everyone Thinks

"I love it in France. I can drink here."

I love it in France. I can drink here! And all the cruise ships! It's a once in a lifetime experience, unless I get to come back here.

I was a wild card for David. I'm not a very known actor. I just got a call from my agent saying read this script. When I read it I couldn't believe the words coming out of the guy's mouth.

My parents don't like to shelter me when it comes to film. They want me to see every possibility.

I've been acting since I was eight-years-old. I've never come across a person like this, and hopefully I won't. But I know that there are people out there like him.

I don't come from a rich family. I've lived in a two bedroom apartment with my dad, my sister and my mom for the past several years. I've watched them work really hard to get me to where I am. I think that will help me to stay humble. They've worked for their whole lives, and they're still struggling. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be here.

When I was four or five-years-old I watched a "Star Wars" movie. I didn't understand what was going on and asked my parents, "What is this?" They explained it to me, and I asked, "Why do these people get to do it?" They explained what acting was, and I knew I wanted to do it.

I tend not to think about things before they happen. Just wait until it happens, and whatever happens happens.

I felt a lot of pressure doing press day. The champagne helped.

I'd seen the movie before the screening. For some reason when I watched it for the second time, I was blown away. Just afterwards, when everyone got up and started clapping, it was a feeling I've never felt before. I felt proud to be a part of it. And lucky.

"A lot of actors my age, they're doing it either to become famous or rich. It's not about that."

I don't see the point in moving to LA anymore. I've heard it's really getting slower there. I don't think I'll ever move to the States. I love Canada too much.

I don't think this movie was ever meant to offend anyone in LA, or put the city in a bad light. It's the Vancouver of the States. It's very similar to where I live. This whole story could be set anywhere, like Wall Street, or any business really.

I've always wanted to act not because of the money but because of the artistic part of it. That brought me closer to all of the darker roles. It is an art and it should be that way. It shouldn't be all these crappy reality shows. That's just me.

A lot of actors my age, they're doing it either to become famous or rich. It's not about that. It shouldn't be. When it is about that, you're not going to be successful. Most people that are succesful appreciate it for an artistic value. You need to enjoy it. You should have no other reason to do it. Of course you make good money, and that's because everyone loves movies. I mean look at Robert Pattinson. He's a really down to earth guy, but he's a huge star.

I'm sure it's easy for me to say I want to just do artistic films right now because all the bills I have to pay are income tax [laughs]. I don't have a mortgage to worry about, or food and groceries. But hopefully I can keep doing them. For me it's really not about the money.


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