Romance and Sparks: A Conversation with James Marsden for the Home Entertainment release of The Best of Me | The Fan Carpet Ltd • The Fan Carpet: The RED Carpet for FANS • The Fan Carpet: Fansites Network • The Fan Carpet: Slate • The Fan Carpet: Theatre Spotlight • The Fan Carpet: Arena • The Fan Carpet: International

Romance and Sparks: A Conversation with James Marsden for the Home Entertainment release of The Best of Me

09 February 2015

Director Michael Hoffman (Gambit, The Last Station) brings Nicholas Sparks’ most unforgettable love story yet to life with a young Hollywood cast including; James Marsden (X-Men, The Loft, Welcome To Me) as Dawson, one half of the star crossed lovers; Michelle Monaghan (True Detective, Penthouse North, Expecting) as Dawson’s high school sweetheart Amanda; Luke Bracey (G.I Joe, The November Man) as the young and innocently in love Dawson, and Liana Liberato (If I Stay, Haunt, Free Ride) as the beautiful and young Amanda.

Based on the bestselling novel by Nicholas Sparks, THE BEST OF ME is the story of two lovers and a love story torn apart by fate. Dawson (Marsden) and Amanda (Monaghan), two former high school sweethearts are suddenly reunited after 20 years apart due to a chance meeting at a funeral of a beloved friend. Their bittersweet reunion reignites the love they’ve never forgotten, but soon they discover the original forces that drove them apart all those years ago, still live on, posing as even more serious threats in their current lives. This epic love story spanning 20 years captures the enduring power of true first love and the heart wrenching choices this love faces when confronted with elusive second chances.

Who can forget The Notebook, a weepie that remains a firm favourite with lovers of romantic movies? James Marsden lost Rachel McAdams to Ryan Gosling in that 2004 gem but he has a second shot at romance with The Best of Me, another Nicholas Sparks adaptation, co-starring Michelle Monaghan.


The Best of Me isn't your first Nicholas Sparks movie. What is the appeal of his stories? Is it the human element after doing super hero films?

When I make my decisions about what roles I take, I have the tendency to jump all over the place and that is what makes it interesting for me. I don't feel like I have done something like this since The Notebook. You also want to be aware of what type of films audiences like to go see. I guess part of me thinks there is a group of people out there that likes seeing me in this kind of role. That plays into the decision making a little bit. Beyond that, these themes are never out of style. These types of films are always something that people want to go see.

When you have a box office overstuffed with super hero films, which I have been a part of, it is nice to have a reprieve from that and have a film that is a human story. That explores themes like persistence, love and second chances. I can see how those films end up doing well. For me as an actor, it is nice to not rely on effects and stunts. It makes you go in and explore real human ideas and emotions.


Did The Notebook make you cry man tears?

It did. Obviously, it is a really rare thing to be a part of a film that ends up affecting you like that. You become very detached somehow. Your objectivity gets skewed when you're there on set putting the scenes together. When you watch the film, it is hard not to take your mind off of what the experience was when you were shooting it. It is a testament to the power of that film that the performances pull you in. Ryan and Rachel were fantastic and James (Garner) and Gena (Rowland) were equally as terrific. I was in it, but I wasn't in it enough to really jade my experience watching the film. I was really there just appreciating a good film. It got me. I was at the premiere and they were handing out tissue packages. I thought that was presumptuous. Not for me. I didn't think I was going to cry, but for the rest of the audience.

Sometimes when you set the bar high, it ends up affecting what their experience is. I was like, "Take those away. People are going to be, 'I'm expected to cry?'" They go, "No. We've done this before. We've had plenty of screenings. We need them." I remember going to the men's bathroom afterwards and there were grown men splashing water on their faces to clean up. They were affected by the movie. The Network sets the bar to become a classic.


The Best of Me is about going home again. Do you think that is possible? Do you believe in second chances for romances?

I do. I believe in second chances, I believe in forgiveness. I do think that sometimes we romanticize about what that other path might have been. Maybe sometimes too much. I know that is not a romantic thing to say. It is easier to fantasize about what that path would have been like had you taken it because you don't know what that road not taken was. But that said, we all remember our first loves. When you're young,  you are experiencing all those emotions for the first time. They are that much more powerful because of that. It is sometimes when love felt the truest.

I believe in being open to second chances and the possibility that you can go back and try to find something you had before. Maybe you have regrets in your life and the idea of going back and rekindling an old romance might sound attractive to a lot of older people who are in a relationship that has stopped. That is something that is not lost on any of us.

I look at my high school girlfriend, who I was with for four years and at the time we were thinking we were going to get married. As much as I look back and go, 'I wonder what would have happened if we had stayed together,' I don't confuse the power of the emotions I had at the time with that necessarily being the right person for you.





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