I’d like to say that I knew Luke Evans was going to be a big star from the first time ever I saw his face as Chris Scott, the American GI who fell in love with a Vietnamese bar girl in Miss Saigon. But that would have involved me being in London’s West End circa 2014, and I’m just not that cool. Instead it was playing the villain in The Fast & The Furious 6 and in Beauty and The Beast that he first caught my eye...and my ear. As Gaston, the rival of The Beast for Belle’s affection, he showed the world he might be the greatest singing Welshman since Tom Jones. Lately, what’s impressed me is how down-right Zen Luke has been during the pandemic. He was supposed to tour to support his first album, a series of covers of romantic standards titled "At Last". Instead, he made use of this forced downtime to look inward and start writing some original songs for a new album. We caught up with him in Byron Bay, Australia, where he’s finally back at work shooting Nine Perfect Strangers, a new Hulu series that is based on a book from the same Aussie author as HBO’s Big Little Lies and also stars Nicole Kidman.




TODD SNYDER: WHAT LESSONS DID YOU LEARN DURING YOUR DECADE AS A STAGE ACTOR IN THE WEST END THAT HELPED YOU WHEN MADE THE TRANSITION TO MOVIE ACTING?

LUKE EVANS: I never took anything for granted. For every job I landed as a theatre actor, I worked hard and had to audition. I also had many moments when I wasn’t working during that decade, so I learnt how to adapt and keep my dreams and ambitions alive even in the darkest of moments when you didn’t know where or when the next job would come in. This industry can be unforgiving, but I felt well prepared for it after my time as a theatre actor.

TS: WHAT WERE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE ROLES DURING YOUR LONDON STAGE YEARS?

LE: I played ‘Chris’ in Miss Saigon and ‘Roger’ in Rent. Both had huge vocal tracks from start to finish. I always wanted to play the Phantom and Jean Valjean but that never happened, but maybe one day! Never say never!

TS: WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP IN WALES WAS YOUR DREAM TO BE A RECORDING ARTIST, STAGE ACTOR OR MOVIE STAR?

LE:My dream was always to entertain, to captivate an audience, whether it was my folks, the neighbors in my town or a whole theatre. I loved the ability to affect people and to have their attention on the story I was telling. Music has a magical ability to do that pretty instantaneously.

TS: WHO WAS AN INSPIRATION TO YOU BACK THEN? WHO DID YOU WANT TO SING/ACT LIKE?

LE:I wanted to sing like Michael Crawford in Phantom of the Opera!

TS: YOU GREW UP IN WALES, LIVED IN LONDON, SPENT PART OF THE PANDEMIC IN FLORIDA AND ARE NOW IN BYRON BAY, AUSTRALIA SO WHERE DO YOU CONSIDER HOME THESE DAYS?

LE:I believe that home is where you make it and what you make of it. I travel so much that I have found that to say my home is somewhere other than where I am, makes me feel sad and inevitably leaves a void, so now, wherever I find myself in the world, for however long I’m there, that’s home. I’m really good at nesting

TS: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE HOMETOWN SPOTS?

LE:In London, I live in Dalston, East London, a place thriving with many cultures and cuisines. In any normal week, I can eat Vietnamese, Turkish, Japanese. . . a poke bowl and fish and chips. Walks along the beautiful canals in East London are wonderful, they often lead to a park where you can run, swim, ride a bike. East London is full of excellent gastro pubs and hidden little places to have a glass of beer. Go discover it next time you’re there. The fun is in the discovery!

TS: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?

LE:I would describe my style as eclectic, from designer tuxes and bespoke suits to sneakers and jeans that I’ve worn for decades. Clothes need to feel good. They also need to be part of you. Finding a style is often a challenge. I’m not a person that sticks to one idea or aesthetic when it comes to clothes.

TS: DO YOU HAVE ANY RULES THAT YOU FOLLOW WHEN IT COMES TO GETTING DRESSED?

LE:Never leave the house without your trousers on.

TS: HA. HA. IS THERE SOMETHING YOU CONSIDER TO BE A REAL TREAT OR SPLURGE?

LE:A cashmere hoodie (for me, the real travel essential luxury!)

TS: IS THERE SOMEONE THAT YOU LOOK TO AS A STYLE INSPIRATION — EITHER HISTORICAL OR PRESENT DAY? WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT THEIR LOOK?

LE:I often catch myself checking out David Beckham’s style; whether he’s traveling or at a fashion show or meeting royalty, the man does everything right, when it comes to his style. He also has an epic range of sunglasses, which I love.

TS: YOUR FIRST ALBUM HAD SOME FANTASTIC COVERS ON IT (U2’S WITH OR WITHOUT YOU), DID YOU GET ANY FEEDBACK WHEN THE ALBUM CAME OUT FROM ANY OF THE ORIGINAL ARTISTS?

LE:Roberta Flack sent me a message and followed me on social media. It was a fan boy moment! I adore that woman and her powerful, emotionally charged voice has had such an impact on me.

TS: WHAT’S THE PLAN FOR THE SECOND ALBUM? I’D READ YOU MIGHT BE WORKING WITH AMY WADGE ON SOME ORIGINALS? SHE’S MAJOR. SHE’S CO-WROTE THINKING OUT LOUD FOR ED SHEERAN.

LE:I’m hoping to be announcing something very soon about a second album. Amy Wadge, who is a legend, has been writing with me and I’ve loved every second of my time with her. She’s such a talent and an all-round epic human being.

TS: YOUR FIRST ALBUM HAD A LOT OF ROMANTIC BALLADS ON IT, DOES THAT FEEL LIKE YOUR LANE FOR NOW?

LE:Love songs have always played a huge role in my journey in life. As a teenager, certain songs felt like they were talking to me. Saying everything I couldn’t. I am an emotional Welsh man, I can’t help it!

TS: MAY WE PLEASE TALK ABOUT GASTON AND BEAUTY AND THE BEAST FOR A MINUTE? IS THERE A SPIN-OFF WITH YOUR AND JOSH GAD’S CHARACTER LEFOU IN THE WORKS?

LE:Yes, it is happening! Josh and I are super excited about this project. It will be something rather wonderful and will hopefully bring a lot of much needed smiles to many faces