Allie Marie Evans may be new to Hollywood, but she’s not new to the internet.
The 20 year-old Calgary native is a popular beauty, fashion and lifestyle vlogger on YouTube — her channel boasts over a quarter of a million subscribers, and her Twitter and Instagram followers clock in at 44k and 124k, respectively. That’s a lot of people watching her short films, falling in love with her wardrobe, and listening to what she has to say.
After wearing many hats producing her own content, Allie has taken her career to the next level by bringing her talents to the big screen. She’s bravely making her feature film debut in a big way — with the leading role of Max in the movie adaptation of the well-known YA book series Maximum Ride, written by author James Patterson.
The movie — like the book — follows Max (Allie), who’s the leader of “The Flock” — a group of avian-human hybrids. Like every good sci-fi tale, these misfits are being tracked down by the people who made them… who have also made some other hybrids equipped to take on the rag tag clan. Yeah, it’s as intense — and as cool — as it sounds.
Maximum Ride‘s digital release is today (August 30th) — and we’re celebrating by bringing you our interview with Allie, who talks about taking on this iconic role, her Olympic, patriotic pride and more!
ANDPOP: You’re starring as Max in the film adaptation of the incredibly popular YA sci-fi series Maximum Ride. For those who haven’t read the books, how would you describe the story?
ALLIE MARIE EVANS: Well, it’s ultimately a story really centred around this…alternative family. It’s about a group of kids who are government experiments and they escape to try and live somewhat of a normal life. They’re kind of just navigating [their way through] the [typical] things that teenage and young kids go through — but under these extraordinary and kind of extreme circumstances. They grow very close…through the process, and become a little family.
Your character has Avian DNA mixed with hers — if you had to have your DNA mixed with an animal, what would it be?
Oh gosh! I mean, this is really cheesy — because it’s kind of like the book — but I would say any type of bird, because I desperately want to be able to fly. So, it’s got to be a bird!
Still a good answer! Max is a pretty bad ass female, and readers are coming across more of them in the world of young adult fiction — like Clary Fray in Shadowhunters and Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. How important is it for you to portray a strong woman on screen?
I think it’s so important, especially with [the Maximum Ride series] being so widely popular with a really young demographic. Having little girls…look up to this very strong character is something I take very seriously. So while preparing for the role, I looked to some of those other [fictional] characters — like the ones you just mentioned — for inspiration. But I think — especially when I was younger, growing up — having characters like [Max in pop culture] was incredible, to show young girls that you can be girly, you can be pretty — all those things — but you can also be a bad ass, and do everything that the boys can do. And the fact that we’re seeing a lot more of that is great.
think a lot of the time, people don’t really take social media or YouTube creators as seriously, and I think now…you can’t ignore us. We’re here, and we’re here to stay! .
Allie Marie Evans
Absolutely! You kind of touched on this, but did you feel pressure to live up to the expectations that the fans of the novels may have?
That was one of my biggest concerns going into the filming of this project. I knew that the book was SO important to so many kids, and it helped a lot of people through some difficult experiences. I spent a lot of time talking to fans of the book who followed me on social media when they found out I had been casted. Taking on such a popular series on was a huge task, but I think we hit it out of the park, and I hope that the fans of the book will be really excited [by] this fresh, new, different take on the characters — but really staying true to the heart of who they are was very important to us.
Were there any female characters from your childhood that inspired your performance?
Hmmm, you know, this is going to sound a little bit strange, but I think — growing up — I idolized Junie B. Jones, and I think she is one of the ultimate “cool girls.” She does what all the boys do, she’s willing to get her hands dirty and go out on adventures, so I think that might have been in the back of my mind. But then again, I had such great references from [Maximum Ride] as well, so Max was obviously a huge inspiration.
For sure! If you could play another fictional heroine, who would it be?
Oh my gosh! I mean, I don’t think anyone can do it like Jennifer Lawrence, but Katniss Everdeen – I love The Hunger Games series and I read all the books, so that would be such a fun [role] to play around with. But taking on any book series is just such an honour.
Totally — Katniss is incredible; definitely a cool character to play. So, your career on screen began on YouTube. How has starring in and creating your own short films prepared you for professional acting and Hollywood?
You know, I think — with my channel — I’m so used to having complete creative control over everything I do. When I’m making my videos, I’m the writer, I’m the director, I’m the producer, I’m the actor — so, I mean, creating these videos every single week for my subscribers was a great way to get a crash course in what [the industry] would be [like]. So once I was casted, I already felt very comfortable going into it because I was fairly familiar with all [aspects] of filming — except I was doing it all on my own, on my channel. I think the best part about experiencing film was letting go of some of that creative control, and collaborating with people like Jay Martin — our director — and who’s become one of my closest comrades, and really pushed me in this film. But [Jay] was also a huge help [during] an experience that was at times overwhelming, but overall just incredible.
We can only imagine! More and more YouTubers are making that leap from online to mainstream forms of media — what’s your take on that?
I mean, I think it’s a natural progression for anyone within the digital space to transition to traditional media [platforms]. But I think with YouTube being such a huge focus of everyone’s right now — for me — that’s always going to be one of my main focuses. I love creating content and having that creative control. I think it’s great! There’s so many people veering off into different directions, and I’m all about everyone living out their dreams — wherever they see fit and however they want to. So, I’m incredibly inspired by tons of different female and male creators that are going off in different spaces and pursuing acting or directing or putting out books. I think a lot of the time, people don’t really take social media or YouTube creators as seriously, and I think now…you can’t ignore us. We’re here, and we’re here to stay!
Exactly! You’re a bit of a fashionista — did you work with the wardrobe department on styling for your character?
Yeah! We had an amazing wardrobe department, and I remember right after I was casted as Max, I went in the next day for a fitting, and they were very open [in terms of] what made me feel comfortable. Ultimately, I think that was most important for this character — comfort over fashion. But we definitely found a way to mix the two, especially with all the stunt scenes that I had — they wanted to make sure that Max was comfortable kicking butt! …They definitely took my opinion into consideration and pushed me and had me try different things that I would never wear in my normal life, but I ended up loving having to wear on screen.
Amazing! You were recently in Rio shooting a campaign. What was it like being in Brazil and experiencing that Olympic atmosphere?
I was in Rio shooting a global campaign for Coca-Cola, and getting full access to Canada Olympic House and getting to meet a bunch of the athletes…was incredible! For me, nothing makes me more emotional than seeing other people live out their dreams, and so getting to witness some of the ceremonies and watching people [win] gold medals…I can’t even explain the energy and the emotional state I was in [laughs]. I literally cried while watching a lot of the ceremonies because there’s nothing like it — I’ve never experienced anything like it before. It was absolutely incredible. And it does make you feel a little closer to home — to get to go to Canada Olympic House.
That’s incredible. We were crying from the couch, so we don’t know how you did it while you were there.
You’re from Calgary, so — as a Canadian — whose Olympic performance were you most inspired by?
We got to meet a couple different Canadian athletes at the House, but one athlete that we got to meet that I thought was incredible — because I’m such a huge fan of swimming — was [American Olympian] Nathan Adrian. He’s sponsored by Coca-Cola and is…an up-and-comer, and just really kicked butt while he was there. That was incredible to see — and of course Penny [Oleksiak], taking [gold] for Canada was like, SO emotional; I felt like I was the only Canadian in the stadium, because I was screaming [laughs] and everyone was staring at me! But that was really emotional and amazing to see too. We’re very close in age, so to get to see someone else who’s around my age have such an insane dream moment happen was great.
Final question — what do you hope audiences take away from watching Maximum Ride?
Well, I hope that people take away that [Maximum Ride] is a story about never giving up. Max is thrown into so many situations where it would be really easy for her to let go of her responsibilities, to not take care of her flock and family members, and put herself first — [but] she’s just the type of person who is so selfless and puts everyone before her; and I think that’s something I’ve taken from her and [applied to] my own life. You know, it’s not easy to pursue acting and to be doing all the things I’m doing, but watching someone go through such extreme scenarios and still never giving up has really inspired me to do the same in my personal life. So I hope it inspires all the kids who are fans of the books — and then also those who maybe haven’t read them before and are just seeing the movie — to kind of apply that to their own lives.