The latest Nicholas Sparks film ‘The Choice’ is set to hit the big screen this weekend. That’s It LA sat down with our newest set of #RelationshipGoals leads Benjamin Walker and Teresa Palmer as well as writer Nicholas Sparks to talk about the film. We also got some nice details about the CW’s The Notebook adaptation from Sparks and Walker told us about his next stint as Broadway’s American Psycho.
Ben and Teresa play Gabby and Travis who meet as neighbors in a small coastal who don’t quite seem like they have much in common in the beginning but grow to become madly in love with one another as they meet up despite their differences. Ben and Teresa told us how they developed these very interesting personalities that end up coming together in great ways like real love.
Benjamin Walker: The first time they meet they have an altercation that’s bad. The way he is bothers the way that she is and there’s natural friction there. I guess that’s how love works. It’s always messy and there’s kind of no rhyme or reason to it. And in that way, it sounds cliche but its about opposites attracting. It’s important. They make each other better because they learn from each other.
Teresa Palmer: Definitely. She’s living her life in that moment. She’s just living very logically. She’s doing her study work and she’s got her partner and she’s got her life all set out. Perfect little ducks in a row. It’s not her in her heart. It’s not what speaks to her soul. She’s almost irritated by the fact that it’s so evident that she’s not being her authentic self when this guy comes into her life. Cause, it’s like too messy to go down that path. That’s not sensible. That’s not the everything is perfectly lined up for you kind of life. He’s a crazy passionate whirlwind that is imperfect and that’s what makes it perfect. She’s annoyed by him. He represents what her heart wants. When she finally leans into that, it just become this beautiful moment of clarity I think for both of them.
BW: She calms him down. He’s this free-wheeling, single mess of a human being. They tell each other that they bother–you bother me! You irritate me. You make me uncomfortable. That’s what love should be. Otherwise, what’s the risk?
TP: They’re mirrors to each other too.
Sparks long legacy of capturing the sparks of new and long lasting love stems from his creation of unique female characters who aren’t treated like typical leading ladies in his films but usually are the driving forces of the story. Palmer shared with us her thoughts on why this must be and the joys of getting to play a dynamic female lead.
Teresa Palmer: These characters make me wonder is Nicholas Sparks a feminist? In the typical film it’s the men choosing between the women. She’s a woman who has to make a decision between these two men and she knows exactly what she wants. And he writes women so beautifully. She’s just a strong woman with a point of view and she’s not just supporting the man’s story. I felt like I could really get behind playing her in that way. Life’s not black and white. It’s many shades and I love that she’s really human and makes this choice and she’s committed to this other person. In the moment she follows her heart. I love that it made her seem vulnerable and like a real human being.
Benjamin as Travis serves to also not just be a leading man but also bring out the forward progression in Gabby’s story. Walker agreed with Palmer’s assertion of Gabby’s realism.
BW: Falling in love is a mess, not just emotionally but also practically. It should be because it is life changing. What do we do with our stuff? I agree, it is a strong woman’s story and everyone learns from Gabby. She enriches Travis, Travis’ family and she has the first big choice in the movie. It should have been called the choices it is about those minuscule mistakes you make that determine huge avenues of your life. There are little ones and bigger ones that matter.
Author Nicholas Sparks described to us the process in coming up with the story in the film and how it came down to describe The Choice through a motion picture. The film unfolds when Gabby’s dog goes into labor late one night and her annoying neighbor happens to be a vet who gets under her skin and she makes the choice to let him into her life.
Nicholas Sparks: What you wanna do whenever you adapt any story from a novel, they’re very different mediums. A novel is a story told with words and a film is a story told with pictures. Once you do that you start putting together a row of pictures. In The Choice, lets show how the choices we make in our lives, often resonate with more meaning than we can ever imagine. The choice of my dog’s about to have puppies, I’ll go knock on this neighbors door, who I really don’t like but who is kinda cute. Well this certainly had it’s ramifications now didn’t it? It’s those choices that we often make.
From the moment Travis and Gabby interact, it’s there that Nicholas Sparks spark. Each film he’s made has always had leads who have enormous chemistry. Sparks described to us the process in selecting the actors to work alongside each other.
Nicholas Sparks: You start with one and then you pick the other. You pick the other opposite the first and there’s an art to it. It’s intuition, it’s luck, you might want someone, they may not be available. There’s lots of factors that come into play. You watch for chemistry in a read. It’s more like ‘Did they seem to stare at each other a little longer than she stared at the last guy?’ ‘How close did they sit on the couch’ It’s crazy! You’re looking for hints and clues they don’t even know.
Having that keen sense of chemistry sure did come in handy when Walker and Palmer had to shoot a very moving scene from the get-go. The breaking down and professing each other’s love at a fish shack where Gabby was meeting her first significant other’s parents! It was a true testament to their believable chemistry.
Teresa Palmer: Right out of the gate we did the “Fish Shack” scene. That was hard. The “I love you” (scene), it was nuts.
Benjamin Walker: Hardest scene in the movie, day 3 here we go!
Teresa Palmer: You guys don’t know each other yet. You don’t have any connection yet and go! I was glad to take that on in the beginning. It was really challenging but he’s so good that I could just be present and work off his energy. I was crying already at the beginning of the scene because I could see the heartbreak in his face.
During our intimate chat with Nicholas Sparks we also found out some details about the CW’s The Notebook television series adaptation based on the hit movie starring Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling. He told us what he was looking forward to exploring with his most iconic female character on the show that he didn’t get to on the film.
Nicholas Sparks: Well we know what happened at the end. If you imagine the film version of that story and their younger years, right? Allie drives up, takes her suitcase and shrugs, okay well what happened between that moment and the moment where they’re in the nursing home? We know they has some kids but what else? It was the 1940’s, she couldn’t live with him. Where did she go? Would her parents accept her? Did Lon get angry in the end or as he always that reasonable? What happened when she got pregnant? What job? You throw all that in the era, in the south in the 40’s. It’s not a terrifically proud era of the south. Often it wakes me up, these ideas about my characters, it just wakes me up early. Like 3:45am and you’re pretty much up for the rest of the day.
The Choice opens this weekend!
PG-13 For sexual content and some thematic issues.