Interview: Evan Peters talks ‘Mare of Easttown’ and his favorite scene with Kate Winslet
It’s hard to envision that the Evan Peters that I spoke with on the phone today is the same man who has played an array of twisted individuals for 10 years on American Horror Story and is currently in production on Monster, playing notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, for AHS scribe Ryan Murphy.
The incredibly pleasant Peters, who some remember as Quicksilver from the X-Men universe and was most recently seen on Disney+ in WandaVision, has an uncanny ability to disappear into each role he takes on. Whether he’s playing straying husband Stan in Pose or museum thief Warren in American Animals, his preparation is thorough and diligent and leads to fantastic results.
His latest role is a slight departure from what we are custom to seeing his play. Peters plays Detective Colin Zabel in HBO’s hit limited series The Mare of Easttown, which just ended its run on May 30 as one of the biggest watercooler shows of the season, where he stars opposite Kate Winslet and Julianne Nicholson. Zabel is the moral backbone of this narrative and it allows Peters to actually play a role he’s not quite used to, a great guy.
We were lucky enough to speak with Peters on the phone about everything from his Papa John’s Pizza commercial, Marvel spoilers, Ryan Murphy, and his brilliant performance in The Mare of Easttown. But beware, there are spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen the show in its entirety.
Dewey Singleton : How you doing Mr. Peters, are you on? Are you there?
Evan Peters: I’m on, I’m here. Can you hear me?
DS: I got you. Thank you so much for your time. I want to respect that. I know you got things to do so I’m going to get through this as painlessly as possible. Thank you so much for allowing me to talk about your wonderful performance in Mare of Easttown.
EP: Thank you, thanks for taking the time on a Sunday. I appreciate it.
DS: Let’s start from the beginning, of course, because I have some important questions to knock off right away. What have you dreaded most during your career, people bringing up your commercial work with Papa John’s or getting a phone call from Ryan Murphy to pitch yet another twisted character.
EP: (Laughs) I actually don’t mind it … Papa John’s… that was kind of a fun shoot. It’s always a pleasure to get a call from Ryan, you know I mean he’s such a brilliant writer. So I’m always excited to dive into something with him. He writes such complicated stuff that is always a challenge.
DS: See, I’m more of a fan of your Sour Patch Kids commercial, but that’s just my bias I guess.
EP: (laughs) What about the Progressive Insurance one? I always loved the Progressive Insurance one.
DS: That’s a solid third place to me. (Peters laughs) If I were to rank them, it would be probably – Sour Patch Kids, Papa John’s, and then Progressive. That’s a hard rank on my, on my part. I don’t see myself changing ever.
EP: What about the Moviefone ones?
DS: Yeah, well we we could talk about it later but we’re here to talk about Mare of Easttown but I do want to ask; what do you like about playing characters who are very dark and twisted?
EP: I find it to be a challenge. It’s what I’m drawn to. When I take on those roles, I think they’re really hard to do. I think, as an actor I find that a challenge very intriguing and like I said, you know, Ryan’s writing them. I think the writing is just, it’s just too good to not accept the challenge and dive in. I think that’s what brings me in
DS: Is that why you agreed to play Jeffrey Dahmer?
EP: It’s a jaw-dropping, a story. I didn’t know much about it going into it. So I was excited to research it and learn more about it.
DS: In recent months, what were you getting hit up for more – Marvel spoilers or The Mare of Easttown spoilers.
EP: (Laughs) I think Mare of Easttown. Everybody was wanting to know who the killer was.
DS: I spoke with Julianne about her performance on the show, she said that very few people knew who the killer was. She said only a select few did. Were you one of the few?
EP: I didn’t know, I didn’t want to know. I purposely didn’t read six or seven to avoid figuring it out. I wanted to believe that Wayne Potts was the killer. I just didn’t want to know. I just wanted to enjoy the last two episodes as a viewer.
DS: I had Julianne’s character pick from the beginning and, of course, we ended up, you know, both being wrong in the end. What initially drew you to the project?
EP: Well, I think Kate Winslet was one of the main draws, for sure. I mean, I’m such a huge fan of hers and she’s a brilliant actress. And so I just really dead jumped at the opportunity to work with her. It was also an HBO crime drama. I was a huge fan of True Detective and all of the HBO shows that come out they’re such a great network.
DS: I thought that you wanted to show another side of your acting ability.
EP: It was nice to play a guy who was pretty, you know, down-to-earth and normal and came from a small town. You know, felt more more close to who I am as a person I thought. This is just kind of a nice switch-up and a change from things I’ve been playing in the past. I was a little terrified to work with Kate but she proved to be incredibly collaborative and just fantastic.
DS: What was so terrifying about Kate?
EP: I just I I think she’s one of the greatest actresses of our time and, you know, just to be in the same room with her let alone in a scene with her was, you know, it was really at first.
DS: What was the hardest scene to shoot for you, your final sequence in Episode 5 or kissing Kate?
EP: I think it was kissing Kate. I mean, I was so nervous to do that. (laughs)
DS: Did you ever get tired of all that Pennsylvania ale?
EP: Never you never get too tired of drinking that. It’s good stuff! (laughs)
DS: I did solicit a few fan questions for this interview and was sent in asking what was your favorite scene to shoot.
EP: The dinner scene when I’m on my date with Mare.
DS: I did get quite a few sent in that were more statements than questions. They basically said “Oh my god … Oh my god, I love you.”
EP: (laughs) Why thank you!
DS: Would you ever work with Brad again?
EP: Absolutely, in a heartbeat, I enjoyed working with him.
DS: Would you ever do a prequel to Mare where we see Zabel’s roots?
EP: I’m very satisfied with my character’s journey and don’t think that’s possible but I’d work with Brad on just about anything.
DS: I’m not sure how you’d pull it off as your character is pretty dead.
EP: (Laughs) I agree.
Mare of Easttown is available to stream in its entirety on HBO Max. Evan Peters is Emmy eligible for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series, Anthology Series or Movie.
Photo: Sarah Shatz/HBO