I first caught glimpse of this cutie patootie, Scott Evans, on One Life to Live. Watching soapers makes me feel like I don’t have that many problems!
Scott was so good playing closeted police officer Oliver Fish. He was a cast member for over two years. His real life mother, Lisa Evans, played his mother on the show. Yep!…and his real life older brother is…drum roll…Captain America! Well, er, I mean, Chris Evans, his brother, portrays the comic book hero.
Scott hails from Massachusetts and studied theater at New York University. He’s appeared in several films including Confessions of a Shopaholic and The Lovely Bones, and the television series, Law and Order, Looking, and Grace and Frankie. I recently was in Toronto and attended the opening of his ensemble piece, Sell By, a dramedy about the complexity of relationships.
Scott’s best friend is living with HIV. The actor has participated in AIDS Walks, attended fundraisers, and supports the AIDS Life/Cycle. He’s also involved with the Trevor Project, Cheshire Moon, and Concord Youth Theatre, as well.
Mr. Evans and his boyfriend, Zach, have recently moved in together in West Hollywood, Los Angeles. “I ain’t getting any younger, Ruby,” he teases. Well, life seems to be treating Scott well.
A little about him: his favorite classic film is Charade (Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant);
one of his major anxieties is large crowds; the first Broadway show he attended was The Life; and, his first teen celebrity crush was Giovanni Ribisi. I have to agree, Giovanni is, well, delicious!
After the preem the media outside swarms Scott. I wait off to the side. After a few minutes, he and I sneak back into the theatre and sit side by side in the audience seats. The vacant space is a bit eerie, when just a while ago it was jammed-packed with people laughing and applauding.
Ruby Comer: So quiet, huh?! I understand you turned thirty-six on the twenty-first of September. My birthday’s in September too! [Scott brightens up.] That makes us Virgins. Oops, I mean Virgos. [He fires off a few chuckles]. As a fellow Virgo, do you possess any of our horoscope traits?
Scott Evans: Too many!! I love to plan and be in charge. Some might call that controlling, but I just call it organized!
I totally get it, Scott. Some call me a diva because of that. Where did you first hear about the epidemic?
When I was ten years old I was cast in the musical Falsettos in Boston, a show that directly deals with the AIDS crisis, so I was lucky enough to learn at a very young age just how serious it was. I was the only child in a cast of adults that had lived through it and was able to see first-hand just how much it affected, not only people in the gay community, but everyone else as well.
Whoa, what a lovely way to learn about a horrid disease…through the theatre. By the time you came of age, the cocktails had been established and HIV was no longer a death sentence. Even so, HIV was still a dangerous virus. How did that play out for you?
In 2002, I was nineteen years old, freshly out of the closet, and a gay man living in New York City! [He smirks.] I was so lucky that I had the education and experience in my childhood to help me navigate that kind of journey. I would always encourage friends to follow my lead and get tested, practice safe sex, and not perpetuate the negative stigmas that surrounded being HIV-positive.
[Scott reaches into his knapsack to get a bag of chips.] So you tested at nineteen?
Yes, in New York City.
What prompted you to do so, and what kind of feelings did you encounter?
I remember being scared going to get tested the first time. Even knowing I had practiced safe sex, the mind is a powerful tool that can convince you of anything. A friend at N.Y.U. had gone to the health center and done it, so it helped me put any fear aside and realize the importance of getting it done.
Bless that friend. I wanna know how you and Zach met, and how did you broach the subject of STIs with each other?
Zach and I met last year when he moved to LA and, luckily for me, he rented a room from one of my friends. When I saw him, I decided that I’d do everything in my power to make him like me! As to the STI conversation, it was surprisingly easy, instead of making it a bigger deal than it needs to be. I just brought up getting tested recently, to which he responded that he had as well. After dating for a few months and becoming exclusive, we got tested together again.
Mature boys! Have you ever thought about riding in the AIDS/LifeCycle?
I have definitely thought about it! And I want to do it one year when it works with my schedule, but for now I donate to as many friends as I can and always make sure I am cheering on the riders with signs when they arrive in Los Angeles!
Yes, I’ve greeted friends of mine there too. What a magnanimous, harmonious feeling, huh?! What motivates you to volunteer, and where did those values originate?
I have always been someone that strives to help people in need. My mother instilled those values in me at a very young age. Helping, volunteering, raising awareness . . .these are all things that are incredibly easy to do and even the smallest actions can accomplish big results.
Indeed. [He offers the opened bag of chips. I take a couple. There goes my diet!] Yum, these are peppered. I like! Say, What’s it like being related to Captain America?!
It’s the best! America’s hero just happens to be my own personal hero! We were best friends growing up, and had there ever been bullies, I know he would have had my back.
How nice to hear. What was it like working on the set of Grace and Frankie?
Oh, Ruby, it was like a dream come true! I grew up idolizing Lily, Jane, Martin, and Sam, then all of a sudden I was wortking with them!! I had to do everything in my power all day not to quote lines from 9 to 5 to them.
You were so entertaining on that show. [He graciously nods.] When life gets crazy, what is your go-to self-help book?
My go-to has always been—and always will be—my mother. She’s gotten me through every obstacle and over every hurdle in my life. It is never lost on me how lucky I am to have the relationship with her that I do.
How lovely for you two, Scott. My mother was similar. In fact, kids at school used to call here “Mrs. Cleaver.” [I knock my head.] I know, I know, before your time! Mrs. Cleaver was a “goody” mom on the popular late fifties/early sixties TV series, Leave It to Beaver.
[I take a beat and let out a short sigh.] What do you do when depression crops up?
You know, Ruby, I surround myself with friends. They’re my best support system and always know how to make me smile. I also stay active by playing on either dodgeball or kickball leagues, and I try to eat healthy—though candy is my weakness!
Any sugar is my addiction! Ugh. How about some concluding words, Scott?
I can’t help but call to mind the immense loss the LGBTQ community experienced in the eighties and nineties. I think of it a lot, and hope those my age and younger realize what another generation had to go through. It needs to be kept alive today. [He pauses. Scott’s dashing blue-green eyes glimmer.] It’s tragically heartbreaking, but almost immediately, I try to change those feelings to strength and hope, knowing that this disease is no longer a death sentence….even though the fight continues.
Ruby Comer is an independent journalist from the Midwest who is happy to call Hollywood her home away from home. Reach her by e-mail at [email protected].