Ever since Ryan Gosling kissed Rachel McAdams in the rain, audiences have flocked to films based on Nicholas Sparks novels. There are a few things in common with all of them such as young love, gorgeous Southern settings, and an unexpected tragedy which makes the happily ever after, not so ever after but full of tears. In The Best of Me, we meet Dawson and Amanda in middle age, one married, the other working on a rig neither has seen or spoken to the other since 21 years prior. When tragedy strikes at home, the two are reunited and piece by piece work through their past and rekindle a love that has long lay dormant. Then, in an instant, everything changes.
Recently, I got a chance to sit down with the cast, Nicholas Sparks and Lady Antebellum to discuss a little about the making of the film, young love, and finding the joy in the heartache. Read on to see what they said and then enter for a chance to win a $50 Spa Week Gift card courtesy of The Best of Me.
Nick Sparks is known for these iconic love stories. You guys are pretty much the two main characters that set up the whole romance.How does it feel to carry this responsibility of love and first love, to portray the characters that are going to basically spark this in teen girls and their mothers?
Liana Liberato: I mean, that’s a responsibility that we kept in mind throughout filming. We knew from the second we like signed onto this movie that if our storyline doesn’t work, no one is going to care what happens to them when they’re older. So, we wanted to make sure that our audience falls in love with our love. That’s our goal. And we wanted to put as much passion and electricity and fun into the scenes that we had.
Luke Bracey: Innocence as well, you know.
Liana Liberato: Yes.
Luke Bracey: The idea that that’s what first love is. It’s so untainted. It’s the most beautiful thing in the world, and there is nothing else besides that person in front of you. It’s such a pure and beautiful and honest thing, first love. And yes, as Liana said, we were so conscious about people believing in that. It was the one thing that we really wanted to make work. And we’re glad we did, really.
Liana Liberato: It was a huge privilege, too. I mean, it’s cool just even–like just as a girl, I watch those Nicholas Sparks movies, and I’m like, “Gosh, I want to be that girl.” And I am.
Do you ever get emotional when you’re writing one of the novels?
Nicholas Sparks: Some novels have drifted truer to life are really drawn from my own personal experiences. So, when you’re really trying to draw on your own personal experience to make something real, you have to tap in somewhere and that pretty much brings those old emotions back to life. For instance, “A Walk to Remember” was really inspired by my sister, her battle with cancer. She passed away. So, I’m writing about poor Jamie and dying of cancer. And Jamie was my sister, really. It was who it was modeled after. Look, I don’t think you’d be human if you wouldn’t like feel that again because like the same thing in “The Rescue,” the things with my son. Kyle, in that book, he was my son, Ryan. The fears, they bubble up again. So, at times, there are times when I have to step away from the computer because I do get emotional. I think that to experience those emotions is to experience the fullness of life. So, I try to experience my sadness before letting it go.
Did you find those emotional moments a lot as you were filming, where you were so drawn into it?
Michelle Monaghan: Yes. Well, I think that’s the beauty of these sorts of films, it’s like a privilege to be able to go there, because I think we’re so used to shooting a lot of films, like James was saying yesterday, there’s a lot of bells and whistles, and a lot of special effects and things like that. And this really is just about the emotion. And it’s about these scenes. So, you’re invested in these characters, and you really want to bring as much emotional truth as you can to it.
James Marsden: –When there’s joy behind heartache.
Michelle Monaghan: There is joy behind heartache. That is so Nicholas Sparks. There really is joy behind heartache.
The Best of Me opens October 17th and is rated PG-13.
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