Nicholas Sparks, author of book-turned-blockbuster The Notebook, is back this month with his latest project The Lucky One. We recently talked to the writer about his latest foray into film and his star Zac Efron. Nicholas explained why Zac was right for the challenging role of a soldier with PTSD returning from war and reflected on Zac's winning chemistry with leading lady Taylor Schilling. Sparks also divulged the fact that he was initially unsure of casting then-unknowns Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as stars of The Notebook and told us which Hollywood actress he would love to see cast in the lead role in a big-screen version of his novel Safe Haven. Watch the video to find out who it is ahead of The Lucky One's April 20 release.View Transcript »
He brings a passion and enthusiasm to the role. I mean the work that he put in to get ready physically for the role was amazing. I think Keira Knightly might be nice. So when you were writing this book, did you envision certain actors in the roles? No, not while you're writing. Because, you know, it's interesting, when you first start a novel you dont exactly know everything about the character. I don't do very detailed outlines, everything I know can be summed up in a page, and it's enough for me to feel that the story will work. But so, you're writing it and you're kind of feeling out the character, whats he going to do when this happens, how does he think this, whats the tone of his voice? So you dont know the character totally until the end like, oh, I know who will be great for this. We knew it was Zach early on. I'm looking for someone who's really truly a good guy, because he needs to project that. you know? He's got to be good, he's got to be honest, he's got to have a lot of integrity Nick is a tremendously nice person. He really is. He got saddled with a lot of stuff. He has P.T.S.D. He cannot make sense of his life feels like he's living a lie, he's got all this stuff going on. Hey, Zac. What was it about Zac really that impressed you? he brings a passion and enthusiasm to the role. The work that he put in to get ready physically for the role was amazing. It was very old school, you know, when I worked with Paul Newman[sp?] for Message in a Bottle he called me and we went to McClellanville, [sp?] South Carolina, because he wanted to know what these fishermen were actually like, how did they sound when they talk, so I went down with him. Well that pretty much did that same thing. He went and he met these Marines and saw the way they walked, saw the way the way they talked, saw the way they looked, saw the way they saw the world, especially the ones that have come back from deployment, got close someone. He was very old-fashioned, you know, that I'm going to be what they are. Was there ever a casting choice that surprised you or that you didn't necessarily agree with at first? There's always been surprises, but you don't necessarily disagree with them. So there I am, I've got this great book, it's a best-seller forever and they cast these two pretty much unknowns, Ryan Gosling and Rachel Mcadams. You're like, Oh what are they doing? But it's funny how things absolutely work out. Do you feel a pressure to live up to The Notebook? I don't. No. I wrote it, it's mine. So, do you mean the film? Again, The Notebook is a fabulous film and I think it is probably the most likely to be a classic, just because it plays on cable TV, but I meet a lot of people who, it's not their favorite of mine. I know a lot of people who love A Walk to Remember, for instance. I met people today who love Nights in Rodanthe. My assistant, her favorite is Message In A Bottle, Dear John, The Last Song. I think It really depends on who you are. Do you have a favorite of the films? I don't know. No, because I've been in a very good position of liking them all. This one's a good one though, I think the lucky one's terrific. Are there actors that you kind of have your eye on. Everyone's going to be like, "He would be great in a Nicholas Sparks film?" Keira Knighlty might be nice and safe haven. But we'll see. So how did you think that Taylor and Zach did? They just kind of had this way of looking at each other, there was a lot of just a lot of chemistry, which lit up, you need chemistry, thats what you need in a film like this. So, great thank you, Taylor. Thank you, Zach, for everything you did. It's awesome. I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.