Chris Egan and Amanda Seyfried's Romantic Walk
What is more romantic than strolling through beautiful Siena, Italy eating ice cream and feeling a love connection? This happened for Amanda Seyfried and her gorgeous leading man Chris Egan. Chris is telling us how much he hated being very mean to sweet Amanda early in the film when his character Charlie feels she is butting into his grandma (Vanessa Redgrave's) life.
You might remember Chris as the young lead in TV's "Kings" where he looked awesome in a dress military uniform! The Aussie import was also in Resident Evil: Extinction and Eragon. We're getting the actor's take on Amanda, filming on location, the pros and cons of starring in a TV series and how he is very different from his "Letters" character, except they both "fidget".
TeenHollywood: Chris, what was the attraction for you to play Charlie in Letters to Juliet? He's not all that sympathetic at the beginning of the film.
Chris: I had a real, distinct idea of how I wanted to play Charlie as soon as I read it. I've just been fascinated by Hugh Grant and Colin Firth; the Darcy, British prig kind of (guy) so I just knew I was going to enjoy playing him. I just went into the audition with my Charlie and it was sort of in line with what (director) Gary (Winick) wanted and it went from there.
TeenHollywood: How did you pull off the transition to nice guy?
Chris: Well, that was another thing that was cool about it too; his journey. It felt like the gear changes for Charlie were (interesting). He loosens up and I really liked how protective he was of his grandmother. The first half of the film, his care for Sophie (Amanda's character) is all about his grandmother then, when he sees how happy Sophie is making his grandmother, I liked how his walls started to come down and, in the end, he's in love with Sophie.
TeenHollywood: Were you nervous going into this romantic leading man role?
Chris: I was fairly nervous to begin with all during the audition process. I know I'm not a big name. I've been lucky to do great supporting roles in film and I guess I'm protected in a way that I haven't become too famous. But Vanessa (Redgrave) is a legend and I have to work very closely with her so I was definitely nervous but to calm those nerves, I would say that the rehearsal process was really valuable. When preparation meets opportunity it equals success. Just had to say a really weird quote [laughs].
TeenHollywood: What about working with Amanda?
Chris: She's great. I was pretty nervous to meet Amanda too. I had seen her work but she's just fun and quirky and kind of crazy like me so our scenes just had a natural flow to them that was fun. It wasn't hard work. I felt like we bounced off each other really well and she's very cool too as I got to know her.
We shot a lot of the film in order so as I was getting to know Amanda so by the time it got to the point where Charlie and Sophie really hit it off, me and her were really connected. It's funny playing scenes where I had to be such as a**hole to her. She's so sweet and nice. Like in the cemetery scene, really blasting her and seeing her walk off.
TeenHollywood: How do you relate to Charlie? How are you like him or different?
Chris: I don't relate to his cynicism and negativity. It really was very opposite to me; that beginning Charlie was very opposite. But, we can all be negative at times. I probably relate to the transformation that happens to him. We all also have transformations in our lives at a certain point when we see things or events or family or people that influence us and, in this case, it's his grandmother and Sophie that want Charlie to become a better person.
TeenHollywood: You are an Aussie playing a Brit. What kind of cultural differences did you overcome to play him?
Chris: There are a lot of cultural differences but there are Brits like that, that are uptight, not saying all Brits are but there are characters like that. I think Australians are a bit more laid back. I just had to straighten my back and keep that tight-lipped thing going on. I didn't change the hand movements and facial expressions I like to make and I put my fidgeting into Charlie.
TeenHollywood: Do you have a favorite scene?
Chris: It's hard to say 'favorite scene' because I had so much fun with all of the scenes. But the favorite part for me was when Sophie and Charlie were in Siena and they spend that day. We shot all that in a day. That was the moment when you see Sophie and Charlie really start to get along. It felt like me and Amanda were on this romantic walk through the city but there was just a camera there with some guys [laughs].
TeenHollywood: What surprised you the most about Italy and what intrigued you the most?
Chris: I would say the (film) crews. I think the crews in Italy are amazing, very relaxed yet so passionate about their job. From make-up artist to hair to the Director of Photography they just love what they do. I've done three films in Italy and, every time, the crew has been amazing. There's a passion about Italians with their hands and (he mumbles an Italian phrase).. you want to learn that language.
TeenHollywood: How was Gary Winick (13 Going on 30, Bride Wars) as a director?
Chris: Gary was very generous with rehearsal. We should sit at a table and spent two weeks reading through this, reading scenes and talking about our characters. I wasn't used to that type of rehearsal process. I'd just come off the TV show "Kings" and that was insane and chaotic. We didn't have much time to do anything. It was boom, boom, boom and you wouldn't even know what your next episode was. They kept us out of the loop which I really didn't agree with but that was what they wanted to do.
But (on "Letters") Gary wanted to work through everything, our relationships with each other and he wanted the scenes to sound real. I'm pretty fidgety as a person and he just let me do that. He let me fly with that.
TeenHollywood: Did you notice yourself doing that in the final film?
Chris: There's a few over-the-top moments but it was interesting to watch the movie with an audience. I noticed that people laughed in certain moments where I did something quirky and weird that I wasn't sure was gonna get a laugh. It was a bit of a risk but people would see those and it was like success! It worked.
TeenHollywood: What turns a romantic comedy into a classic and what are some examples?
Chris: Well, you've got your There's Something About Mary and then Letters to Juliet. "Something About Mary" is quirky and there are really zany characters and some things are just very unreal and I feel like there are real issues in our movie and real characters you can relate to like Charlie.
And also, just seeing the backdrop of Italy. I don't think I've seen one of those. We're always seeing these American stories set in American cities. We just tone down that slapstick stuff which is good as well and I think all the scenes in our movie are real. It's a simple, feel good movie that you watch with your friends on a Friday night.
TeenHollywood: What's it like to work in very hot weather? It can get pretty hot in Italy.
Chris: I did Resident Evil in the desert where you couldn't be outside of your trailer for twenty minutes with guys with Gatorade packs so Italy was fine and I'd just come from New York where it was freezing cold and my friend almost died in the slippery dip at the McDonald's children's park so it was fine, the weather for me was perfect.
TeenHollywood: Whoa! Backup! Okay, who almost died at McDonalds?
Chris: My friend Tony was my manager in Australia and he came to visit me while I was in New York. He arrived really early and it was so cold and Tony couldn't get into my apartment because I was asleep and he was rolling around his suitcase and he ended up falling asleep in the McDonalds play area and almost freezing!
TeenHollywood: Yikes! Hotel lobbies are always good in that situation.
Chris: Yeah [laughs].
TeenHollywood: What sort of role do you want to play that you haven't yet?
Chris: One of the roles that I'm looking at now is a dark, psychological thriller and I've always wanted to do that. I've never been happy with like Saw V or anything but this one is a very intellectual, intense, pretty dark piece so completely different.
TeenHollywood: We'll be watching for that one.