- (Photo: Warner Bros)
Another Nicholas Sparks novel has made it to the big screen with "The Lucky One" taking viewers on an emotionally charged journey toward love.
Zac Efron and breakout actress Taylor Schilling star in the tale about fate, miracles, and a complicated journey of growth and love. The film is complete with steamy scenes and the promise that love conquers all.
Efron, who had to gain over 15 pounds for his role, portrays U.S. Marine Sergeant Logan Thibault in "The Lucky One."
Logan has miraculously survived three tours of duty in Iraq. Directly ahead of an attack during his last Iraq tour, Logan's life is saved when he walks out of the line of fire to pick up a photograph of what turns out to be Beth, portrayed by Schilling.
Accustomed to playing younger roles including past work on "High School Musical," Efron told The Christian Post that immersing himself into the culture of a Marine was an unforeseen challenge.
"I went to Camp Pendleton, [Marines] had such a nobility, a maturity, I was in awe, suddenly everything became a lot more real, it was inspirational," said Efron of the Marine Corps military base in California. "I wanted to carry their integrity and their posture, it was very specific."
The actor, 24, maintained a strict and grueling workout regiment during filming and even trained with a Navy SEAL.
"The physical part was not easy, it was the hardest part," he said.
Schilling also opened up about tapping into her character, Beth.
"I really responded to Beth, I felt connected to her after I read the script," said the actress of the single mother character.
"Meeting Zac was the perfect compliment too," she added of her co-star.
In "The Lucky One," Logan is forced to deal with the loss of friends and returning to regular life after serving in the military. Anxious to thank the "angel in Hell" depicted in the picture that saved his life in Iraq, Logan locates Beth in her hometown and lands a job working for her as a dog trainer.
The realistically awkward yet endearing scenes follow Beth (Schilling)as she begins to fall for Logan, who reminds her that "it's never too late to find your true love," Schilling explained to CP.
Also starring as a Beth's grandmother in "The Lucky One," veteran actress Bltyhe Danner offers moments of comedy as well as clarity in the film. Speaking to CP, the 69-year-old mother of Gwyneth Paltrow explained her character's importance.
"Nana is so judicious in her advice, she knows that its only going to be the truth, she guides knowing that she is right," Danner explains of her subtle character.
The rest of the cast was rounded out by Jay R. Ferguson, Riley Thomas Stewart, and Adam LeFevre.
"The Lucky One" is the fourth collaboration between Sparks and producer Denise Di Novi, who was behind "Message in a Bottle," "A Walk to Remember," and "Nights in Rodanthe."
Also speaking to The Christian Post, Sparks and Di Novi explained the use of an expletive in the film, admitting that language an issue they have struggled with.
While Sparks did not include explicit language in the novel, he said that "these are things that happen in the real world."
"There are no perfect people in the world," said Sparks of the film's characters. "You want to know that you don't have to be flawless to get into Heaven, and this is a real-life journey- Beth and Logan come together and heal through love, which is God's primary message."
Both churchgoers, Sparks and Di Novi agreed that the swear word served the audience in revealing the characters' tendencies to make mistakes and their humanity.
"People speak that way, the average person does," noted Di Novi.
When asked who in the film is "the lucky one," Sparks said replied that both characters Logan and Beth are.
"It comes about in a different way," explained Sparks. "[Logan] finds a lucky charm, so he's 'the lucky one,' but he's not lucky because he's wounded; he's not lucky until he meets Beth."
"And she's lucky for meeting Logan," laughed Di Novi.
"The Lucky One" opens in theaters everywhere Friday, April 20.