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Evan can't wait...

by Claire Connors, Dolly, 1995. Photos by Andrew Southam.

to make his debut as a movie star - maybe that's because he's doing it with Steven Tyler's daughter, Liv. Claire Connors hits small-town Pennsylvania to find out exactly what's going on behind the scenes.

"Evan is beautiful!" shouts Liv Tyler from the from seat of the car. Led Zeppelin is blasting from the radio as we head to the set of Upstate Story, the movie Liv and Evan Dando are making in rural Pennsylvania Liv's mum/manager, Bebe Buell, is driving, and in the backseat with me is Deborah Harry, former lead singer of Blondie, who co-stars with Liv in the movie. Debbie mumbles something about how Blondie used to cover a Led Zeppelin song, and the next thing I know, I'm Singing Black Dog with one of my punk heroes. Cool, or what?

Liv, 17, the daughter of Aerosmith's lead singer Steven Tyler (and costar of his video Crazy) is obviously crazy about rock'n'roll, so I wonder how she likes Evan's music. Liv just smiles. "I love Evan's voice," she yells above the throbbing beat, "but I like old rock, the classic stuff. It's in my genes." She turns up the volume. The car speeds down the road with four women bopping their heads to the music.

The set, as it turns out, is on the crossroads of a bizarre little town that can only be called 'Twin Peaks: The Sequel'. As we pull up, I spy Evan lurking by some mailboxes. Liv runs up to him and gives him a big hug and kiss. Obviously they've had lots of practise. In the film, Liv plays a college drop-out who has an over-protective boyfriend, played by the freshly shorn Evan Dando.

I knew he had chopped all his hair off, but I'm still taken aback by how young and sweet he looks. "Hi, I'm Evan Dando," he says in his soft baritone. (I love it when famous people don't assume you know who they are). Our make-up artist tells Evan he's a friend of Holly, Evan's sister, and Evan immediately lights up. "Holly Dando?" he asks. "Awesome!" adding a bass version of Beavis' 'heh-heh'. With the ice officially broken, I feel free to run my fingers over his cropped top and ask him why he cutoff the famous locks. "For the hell of it." he says. "I got really sick of being the person that magazines had made me into. I needed to stop all that."Ē

The costume designer for the film drags Liv and Evan into their trailers to go over the clothes for the day's scene, in which Evan sings a song to Liv. Unfortunately, the two songs Evan sings in the film aren't his. "A friend at the director wrote them." says Evan as he watches Liv hold up a pretty floral dress. Our photographer snaps Liv and Even in their trailers and then takes them outside to pose around the town. "Hey, Liv," he calls. "You'll have to give Evan pointers on how to pose tor the pictures." Evan gives him a wry little smile. "I think I've had some experience with being photographed." He ain't Since the release at his record Come On, Feel Dre Lemonheads, the 27-year-old dude has graced the covers of more magazines in America than mega-stars like Sharon Stone and Sly Stallone. But Evan's going to put a stop to all that by concentrating on film tor a while. "This has been a place for me to come and be in the country between tours and do something more fun," he says. Considering Evan's only appeared once before onscreen, in Reality Bites for about three minutes, he seems very calm about his first big part. "Oh no, I was definitely nervous, heh-heh," he says. "Luckily, for the first couple of scenes I just had to hang out in the parking lot and look sullen."

Liv is also pretty new at this acting stuff having decided just last year that she, too, wanted to make a transition to movies. Her first audition was for a Bruce (Driving Miss Daisy) Bereslord film called Silent Fall (not yet released in Australia). She was so perfect for the part of a girl whose brother witnesses the murder of their parents, that Beresford put himself on the line and demanded that the producers at Warner Bros allow the inexperienced Liv to get the part... or else. She got the part. "I couldn't believe I got it," Liv says, laughing. "I went to Bruce and I said, 'Can I scream now?' He said, 'Feet free.' I just lost it."

Jim Mangold, the director of Upstate Story, calls Liv and Evan into an old house to rehearse before their scene. They go over their lines a few times and then take a short break. The hardest part about making movies is all the waiting. Liv and her mum walk over near the Special Touch unisex salon and talk quietly about future projects, projects they can't divulge to anyone yet. Evan hangs by the food cart with a girl friend (or is she a girlfriend?) who's visiting.

The film will wrap in a few days, but Evan is already packed for the Lemonheads' European tour. As for future acting plans, Evan is noncommittal. All he knows is he's feeling good right now. He's stopped drinking, he's writing new songs, and he's trying to figure out a way to keep the lame thing in perspective. "I'm not good at being idolised completely." he says. "I tend to lose it and get depressed and stuff. So being up here in the country has been good for me."

As fer the movie, since it's an independent release, it'll be small. So small, you'll have to look hard to find it when it opens (unfortunately an Australian release date for Upstate Story has not yet been set). But if Liv is to be believed, itíll be good. "This movie is going to be such a tearjerker," she says, walking with us to our vehicle. "It's going to be really wonderful."

We climb back into our van, and as cliched as it sounds, we really do wave as we drive into the sunset.

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