After screening The Longest Ride movie I was able to have a sit down with Nicholas Sparks, Scott Eastwood and Britt Robertson about their roles. I call it our circle pow-wow since there was about eight of us sitting in chairs around in a circle talking all things movie related. All three of them were very laid back and friendly. Shaking hands, introducing themselves (as if we didn’t know who they were), posing for photos and just sincere & authentic people. It was refreshing.
It’s inevitable for a novel story line to be slightly different when adapting to film, what is the number one challenge you see with your movies?
It depends on the story. The number one challenge is to make it feel fresh. We’ve seen the Notebook so how do we make The Longest Ride stand out and fresh. How do we make it where someone can watch The Notebook and turn around and watch The Longest Ride right after while enjoying both films and feel they are different. The challenge is making them really good while staying on brand and making them different. ~ Nicholas Sparks
When it comes to casting for the movie, how do you make sure the actors match the characters in your novels?
The Director of a movie has the main voice in the decision process. Then others chime in. I had a significant voice to keep it like the book. Actors honestly choose their roles. You see them and they just know. I never ask actors to read the novel. I ask them to read the screen write. They need to make THAT character come alive. It’s a different medium – film compared to book. ~ Nicholas Sparks
Do you ever think about writing the screen write for the films?
Sure, I think about it. It comes down to time. I have done it before but I have many projects I’m working on right now. Two books in the writing stages. I always think about it and will do it again but either way I spend a LOT of time with the screen writers and have my input. ~ Nicholas Sparks
You started so young and have done many things. How did you steal yourself against rejection and loss at such a young age?
I think it helped that I was so young. I’m lucky to have a very supportive family. After so many years I’ve learned that rejection is part of the process and I don’t take it personally. My grandmother always tried to support me and protect me from the rejection when I was much younger. I just feel really lucky. ~ Britt Robertson
Which do you prefer TV or big screen?
I kind of like to switch around. It’s completely different for me with each one. With a movie you know what you are going to get. You have your story line and you know how to tell it. With television it is always a surprise. There is just something about with television, the relationships that you make with the cast. It feels like a camp that lasts for ever type of thing. So I do miss that aspect of television and just being surprised each week. But I do love knowing what I get with the movie with the story and being able to research. It just depends on the day. ~ Britt Robertson
I noticed you had medical tape on your finger throughout the film. Is that a character thing? Do you have little details that help you get into character?
Yes, we did. We kept that threaded throughout the movie. PBR guys are getting hurt all the time. They ride hurt. Even if they aren’t hurt they are driving ten hours to the next city to compete again and put their butt on the line to win a little money. They are always getting hurt. We felt this gave it a little flavor to the character. ~ Scott Eastwood
Did you attend a lot of rodeos to prepare for your role?
I went to some with friends but really – I knew a guy that knew a guy and I said “hey if I bring you a beer can we get together and figure this all out?”. It kind of went from there. Those friends ended up hanging out throughout the entire movie process and we were actually able to hire the PBR crew to help as well. I learned a lot from them. ~ Scott Eastwood
You guys looked like you had so much fun throughout the entire film. Even in the serious moments. Which part was the most fun for each of you?
Making sure we got the editing correct on the bull ride scenes. We knew that we had the opportunity to do something that had never been seen before on film. PBR can be watched on television every week and Hollywood has done a version of it but never has PBR and Hollywood come together to give you the ultimate shot. We were able to do that and watching how it came together was awesome! ~ Nicholas Sparks
Sometimes you are on movies and you may not like the people you are filming with. This movie was filled with a very professional crew and we all got along extremely well and had a great time. ~ Scott Eastwood
What was your favorite scene to film?
I loved watching Britt film the mud scene. Watching her fall repeatedly was pretty funny. ~ Scott Eastwood
The mud scene was actually fun. Scott laughed the entire time but it was a hot summer day and the mud was cool. I felt like a kid again being able to just play in the mud and not care. However, my favorite would have to be the horseback riding scene. It was so fun and freeing. There was no real work involved in the scenes. We just got on the horse and pretty much just reacted to whatever happened. ~ Britt Robertson
How was it to film a movie with an icon such as Alan Alda?
We were both amazed. He’s a great guy and has been married for over 50 years. He would be the first to arrive at work and the last to leave. He was just an all around terrific man to work with and extremely friendly. ~ Scott Eastwood & Britt Robertson
What led you guys to this role?
I liked it because I was a fan of The Notebook and I felt this movie had a great guy element to it as well. I like testosterone drive films. I thought it would be cool for guys because the world of PBR is so cool. We were able to have the PBR present. ~ Scott Eastwood
So many draws that brought me to the audition but ultimately I was really looking forward to working with George Tillman, Jr. and seeing eye to eye with him on the kind of movie he wanted to make. I was excited to bring a Nicholas Sparks novel to film. ~ Britt Robertson
In the movie you eat and talk about comfort foods. What are each of your favorite comfort food and comfort movie?
Chicken and Dumplings which I had so much of while in North Carolina and I frequented the Cracker Barrel restaurant. They had an incredible Chicken and Dumplings dish that soothes the soul. For my favorite comfort movie I would have to say Pretty Woman. I love it and it has been a favorite film from the get go. It cheers me up. ~ Britt Robertson
For me it would have to be Mexican Food, being from California I’ve always had access to a lot of great Mexican Food. For comfort movie it would have to be Blazing Saddles, I could watch that on repeat. ~ Scott Eastwood
Stew Chicken, I make a really good stew chicken. The Green Mile. If I’m struggling with my writing I put it in for background noise. It’s nice and long and I really like it. ~ Nicholas Sparks
The Longest Ride opens in theaters April 10, 2015
Watch for my full movie review is coming soon.