Dakota Fanning and Chris Evans reveal what makes Push tick

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Dakota Fanning and Chris Evans, the stars of the upcoming paranormal action thriller Push, told reporters that their unusual kinship is the heart of the movie.

In director Paul McGuigan's film, Evans plays Nick Gant, a telekinetic with the ability to movie objects with his mind. He escaped to Hong Kong and went into hiding after the murder of his father by a secret wing of the CIA known as Division. Fanning is a young clairvoyant, or "watcher," named Cassie, who seeks out Gant's help to find a briefcase she believes holds $6 million.

Evans and Fanning spoke to the press last weekend in Los Angeles to discuss their pivotal relationship. "[It's] the center of the film," Fanning said in a group interview. "I was in pretty much every scene with Chris' character. I love getting to have different relationships with different people."

Evans added: "There were some real relationships and character arcs, even though it's got this great sci-fi action backdrop."

Once Evans found out Fanning would play the role of Cassie Holmes, he had complete faith that their crucial relationship would come across as scripted. "I figured, 'Man, I could really phone this thing [in], and it would still work, because she's that good," Evans joked. "She could develop a relationship with a stalk of corn, and it's going to work. She carried this one, and she's great at what she does."

Fanning appeared a little embarrassed by the praise. Evans smiled. "Oh, Dakota, give me one!" he said as he gave her a high five.

As Fanning makes the transition from child star to more mature roles, Push gives her a chance to get into some grittier, riskier material. She also got to help create Cassie's street-urchin look. "I thought it was really important to develop a character for her," she said. "That was so much fun. It was really great to come up with those ideas. [The hair] was my idea," she added with a giggle, referring to Cassie's lank, multicolored do.

As a "watcher," Fanning's character draws sketches of her visions. Fanning said she left that task to real artists. "They were kind of a base of the film, and I couldn't have done those," Fanning said.

"She was having a blast with that pad," Evans said. "I tell you, she's not as bad as she says she is."

Nick Gant spends a large portion of Push as a sort of human punching bag. As he struggles to master his pushing talents, he gets thrown around and beat up quite a bit. Evans says it was all in good fun. "Yeah, there were some rough stunt scenes," he said. "I get thrown around the room. I'm hitting the ceiling and contorting, and then I walk out just limping. Honestly, I should be paralyzed. Paul really wanted us in there participating, and that's rare. It was exciting. It's great whenever you can actually get your hands dirty and feel like you're a part of it."

As to the reality of telekinetics and clairvoyance, neither actor is willing to dismiss the possibility. "In order to act something, you have to believe it to some degree," Evans said. "It's out there, to some degree or another. I can't say it doesn't exist."

"I feel the same way," Fanning added. "I don't think I have the right to say it doesn't exist. There are people that feel so strongly about it, so I think you never know." Push opens Feb. 6.