Taylor Schilling Gets Lucky in New Nicholas Sparks Adaptation
Former West Roxbury resident stars with Zac Efron in 'The Lucky One.'
If you’re a regular watcher of hospital-based TV series or a fan of Ayn Rand, you’ll already know about Taylor Schilling. She starred as a nurse in the short-lived TV show “Mercy,” and as businesswoman Dagney Taggart in the movie “Atlas Shrugged: Part I.”
Schilling, 27, who spent her growing up years in both West Roxbury and Wayland after her parents split, now goes all lovey-dovey in the newest adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks book, “The Lucky One.”
She plays Beth, a single mom who, without realizing it, becomes an angel or protector, of sorts, for Logan (Zac Efron), a soldier in Iraq who finds her photo on the ground and manages to stay alive while others fall in battle. Upon returning home, he searches for her, even though he doesn’t even know her name. Romance, of course, blooms. I spoke with Schilling, who has the biggest smile, this side of Julia Roberts, last week in Los Angeles.
Did you know the book “The Lucky One” before you got the part?
Schilling: I knew of it, and I knew Nicholas Sparks’ work very well. I’m a fan of his films and his books, but I hadn’t read this particular one.
Is it difficult to build a romantic relationship onscreen?
Schilling: Zac and I got along from the moment we met during the auditions. I think that experience and feeling really comfortable on set ended up carrying through working together. It was just fun. Our characters don’t really come together till about an hour in. But while we were shooting we were sort of developing a friendship. He’s also a class act, and I really trusted him. And the first kiss was an easy day. There were no lines.
There’s some rather unbelievable dialogue in the script, like when Logan says, “You deserve to be kissed every day.”
Schilling: Yes, I’m sure that it sounds cheesy. But as a woman, to hear that, those are pretty amazing words.
Beth is a character who’s had a hard time in life, but now she’s getting a second chance at love.
Schilling: That’s right, and I spent a lot of time in preparation for her emotional journey, for the experiences she was having with Logan and how that was relating to the rest of her life. It took more space for me to uncover where she was coming from and where she was going and how this man was opening her up to true love, finally, after being so guarded for so long. So the love scenes were sort of a really natural outgrowth of where she was at that point in her story.
The story also gets into how your character finally stands up to the ex-husband who’s been bullying her. Do you think that will send a message to women who are in similar situations?
Schilling: What I so connected to in Beth was that she had all these obstacles to overcome. There was so much baggage and she’d lived so much life: She had a child and she had this ex-husband, but there still was this possibility of true love. She had sort of given up on it, but it’s not too late, even for her. She’d been resigned to not finding it, but she did, despite everything that was going on in her life. So if that’s inspiring to someone to sort of move past something in their life that’s not working, or to stand up for themselves, I would be honored.