Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling play love interests in this month's The Lucky One, and I recently sat down with the film's director, Scott Hicks, to chat about the movie. He talked about directing Efron in his first love scene, the palpable chemistry between the leads, and whether he feels pressure to live up to The Notebook since The Lucky One is also a Nicholas Sparks adaptation.
important for me to see that before actually making the decision to cast Taylor. How did they work together? That was the big question. Both Taylor and Zac, I think, really abandoned themselves to this, go for it. When you're directing Nicholas Sparks' adaptation. Is there a lot of pressure to live up to The Notebook? Well The Notebook sets a very high bar doesn't it? I mean it's the most successful of the movies that have been made from Nicholas Sparks' novels. I think it is something to aspire to. You know? I think one of the interesting things with The Notebook was, obviously the broad appeal to women and the female audience, which is Nicholas Sparks' main component of his audience. But men also liked that film, and that's what set it apart. So I think it's an interesting challenge to try to find that audience Zack is actually somebody who a lot of people know from his high school musical days, who's coming to his own as a leading man. Why did you think that he could play this romantic lead? Well, he totally convinced me. When we met, his desire to play the part was very powerful. And when you're a director, you want that from an actor. You want that eagerness. And he was also willing to do the work to transform himself physically, to put on the twenty-five pounds of muscle to convincingly play a marine, let me buzzcut his hair, put all those vanity issues to one side, and devoted everything to playing the role. Were you surprised by his physical transformation, or how big he got? There are no shortcuts you know, and I think the same is true for actors in any role, the more you put into it, the more will come out of it. And Zack It's not that he was demonstrating it to me. But he demonstrated by the fact of putting that work in, what a dedicated actor he is. And that's the mark of of a mature actor to me. And this film has his first love scene. And as a director, what advice do you give to an actor when they're doing this for the first time? go for it. You know, I mean, yes, it was a really, it was a no holds barred, you know, and both Taylor and Zac, I think, really abandoned themselves to this, which I really appreciated because it involves a lot of trust in you as director you know, it's a very, you know, forgive the very exposing thing to do, to to play a pretty torrid sort of love scene. So I take it you were impressed with their work in that scene? Absolutely, and in the subsequent scenes. They really were able to pull that off extremely well. But there's also a great tenderness between them, which I really appreciated. You can feel that connection, feel that sort of chemistry that they had. They had great chemistry. They did. Yeah. And it was important for me to see that before, actually making the decision to cast Taylor, how did they work together? That was the big question. And as soon as we started shooting some test scenes with them, you could sense it, the way the, eyes lit up with each other, the easy humor they had with each other, and that really extended through the shoot. It had a certain sort of magic to it, as far as I was concerned.