Marine Sergeant Logan Thibault who has defied the odds during three tours of duty in Iraq. When Thibault discovers a photograph of an unknown woman Taylor Schilling half-buried in the sand and pulls it out, it becomes his lucky charm that he credits with keeping him alive. After he returns stateside, the picture becomes the catalyst for an unusual and moving journey of discovery and healing.
Zac also talked about his progression toward more serious roles, how he transformed himself physically for the role, and why it was important to him to give the most accurate portrayal possible after getting to know the Marines at Camp Pendleton.
We talked about a couple of those lines. There was a little bit of shivering when I realized I was going to do that on camera, but I think a bit of pride too. How attached did you get to the dog? We went through so much, man, me and that dog, me and Rowdy. We went through this roller coaster relationship from me paying virtually no attention to him and to him being interested.
Finally, I was able to engage him and we became best friends. We had a great working relationship. He was the best actor on the set. Yeah, I grew very attached to the dog. What kind of training did you do for the military aspect of your character? All kinds of stuff. First and foremost, I wanted to spend as much time around Marines and the troops as possible. I was able to go to Camp Pendleton early on with Scott [Hicks] and just hang out with them, see what it was like.
There were striking differences between the way that they were and I was. I was able to look at that early on, and then physically, there was a lot to be done.
The hardest part about this was the physical transformation. Did you keep any of the physical training? I mean, the principles I learned, absolutely. I carry them with me and I still try to apply them, on a lot less rigorous agenda. What was the most striking aspect of talking to those Marines? I think that everyone in the room is aware of that, but at the same time, after a couple hours with them, Scott was able to communicate just how much we cared and that we wanted to have the most accurate portrayal.
Watching them open up and blossom in front of our eyes and be able to tell these stories and recount, it was the most powerful moment. And it was on the first day. That was the first day Scott and I had hung out at all. That was the biggest part.
What were the differences you noticed? I mean, at first I walked into a room full of Marines and they stand [super straight] with strikingly physical differences. A lot of them were my height and my build but they looked like superheroes. In my eyes at least, I was looking at real life heroes.
And how do you keep from laughing when you get hosed down for the playful sex scene? When I first met Zac, we got along from the very first moment I auditioned for the movie with him. I think that that sort of experience of working together and feeling really comfortable on set ended up carrying through working together.
It was just fun. But during that entire time of shooting, we were developing a friendship. Did you feel the same way, Zac?
I looked forward to those scenes in this one. Was the love scene scripted or did you just go for it? It was a little of both. I mean, parts of it, you have to be in the right spot for the camera.
Were you familiar with the book before you were involved in this project? What did it feel like to sign on to that Nicholas Sparks universe? I was totally thrilled. It was such an exciting opportunity for me to get a chance to play this part and work with Scott and Zac and this whole team so I was thrilled. Nick creates such grounded characters. Everything is set completely and totally in reality. Taylor, how seriously did you take the dishwashing scene? Was an important part of this character to show women they can stand up to bullies like her ex-husband?
Well, I think what I so connected to in Beth was that she had all these obstacles to overcome and there was so much baggage and she had lived so much life.
She had been resigned to not finding it and she did, despite everything that was going on in her life. Yeah, and I would be honored. I would be really honored if it did, if it inspired someone to stand up for themselves and honor their worth. Zac, can you talk about your progression to serious roles?
I set out very early on. Have you put musicals behind you? And not doing it every time? Who wants to see that? Would you like to do action movies? Have you thought about that or gone out for them? I really liked Chronicle. I thought that was a very, very cool movie. Once again it just comes down to great material and a great director at the helm. Anything with that combo is interesting to me.
Did you ever feel like you wanted your character to punch the ex-husband? Logan is very controlling. I thought that was kind of cool. I thought of Jason Bourne when you disarmed Logan and all that training suddenly came into play. How many takes did that scene take? I made sure I knew that before I showed up on set. I had that down pretty much by the time we got there, but there was a lot of rehearsal beforehand with the master sergeant and everybody.
Was the river rescue shot on set or on location and was it freezing? Well, that was a really intense day. But I have to say, all I had to do was stand on the river bank and scream. They actually had to be in wetsuits and with scuba divers. So it was a real river? It was a real river and I had never experienced anything like that. There were rain machines and things churning to make the water churn. They have pulleys attached to them and things like that so I feel like I actually had it kind of easy in that scene.
I just had to run and stay on the river bank but it was very cold. We were there for so long. We were there for a really long, long time. We had suits with hot water being pumped into them and we were still freezing. And a hot tub to sit in because everyone was so wet. Yeah, all of us are growing up. But I definitely took that into account. Do you feel a lot of pressure with this film?
I feel pressure with everything I do. Even The Paperboy with Lee Daniels? Yeah, without a doubt. Everything is heightened and it makes your spine tingle. Is there a quality from when you were younger that you want to keep with you no matter how your career evolves?
I think always just heart and integrity and everything. The best part about Logan is he never takes the easy road, never once. Is there a dog in your future for either of you? I have to be in one place though for longer before I can get a dog.
I need to be a better person.