The November Man Blu-ray Review


Five years into his retirement, CIA veteran Peter Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan) is pulled back into service to help retrieve a Russian agent — also his former lover — who has incriminating evidence on Federov, a corrupt Russian leader. When a different CIA team, led by Devereaux’s former protege (Luke Bracey), shows up, the mission goes south and Devereaux’s ex-lover is killed. Now a rogue agent, Devereaux drags a relief worker (Olga Kurylenko) along on his mission to settle the score.

My thoughts:

I feel the need to first share that in my opinion Pierce Brosnan still has it. He’s the man! Yet, this movie, as action packed as it is, just didn’t do it for me. The storyline is pretty good, and it seems in the beginning to have all the makings of a great spy movie, until it becomes a bit too ridiculous for me. I found myself focusing more on Luke Brancey’s hair, and lack of messiness, and less on the storyline. I’m not sure where this film went wrong, directing, producing, editing, but I was glad to not have seen it in theaters. Which is disappointment for me because I really wanted to like this movie.

As always these are just my thoughts.

The November Man is available now on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD.

FTC Disclosure: Free product was received for the purpose of this blog post. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.

Disney’s Into The Woods, new trailer and character posters #IntoTheWoods

I am beyond excited about Disney’s Into The Woods coming to the big screen! Just out the new movie trailer, and stunning character posters.

“Into the Woods” is a modern twist on several of the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales, intertwining the plots of a few choice stories and exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests. This humorous and heartfelt musical follows the classic tales of Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Jack and the Beanstalk (Daniel Huttlestone), and Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy), all tied together by an original story involving a Baker and his Wife (James Corden and Emily Blunt), their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the Witch (Meryl Streep), who has put a curse on them.

Rob Marshall, the acclaimed filmmaker behind the Academy Award®-winning musical “Chicago” and Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” directs the film, which is based on the Tony®-winning original musical by James Lapine, who also penned the screenplay, and legendary composer Stephen Sondheim, who provides the music and lyrics. Produced by John DeLuca, Marshall, “Wicked” producer Marc Platt and Callum McDougall, “Into the Woods” will be released in theaters December 25, 2014.

Starring Meryl Streep, James Corden, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick and Chris Pine, “Into the Woods” is a humorous and heartfelt musical that follows the classic tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel—all tied together by an original story involving a Baker and his Wife, their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the Witch who has put a curse on them.

Into The Woods

Disney's Into The Woods

Into The Woods movie poster

Into The Woods in theaters Chrstmas 2014

Johnny Depp_ Into The Woods

Not yet familiar with Into The Woods? Here a few notes you should know.

  •  Into the Woods” premiered on Broadway on November 5, 1987, at the Martin Beck Theatre. The production, which ran for 764 performances, won Tony® Awards for Best Score, Best Book of a Musical and Best Actress in a Musical. Among other awards, the musical received five Drama Desk Awards, including Best Musical. “Into the Woods” has been produced around the world, including a 1988 U.S. tour, a 1990 West End production and Broadway and London revivals, in addition to a television production, DVD recording and a 10-year-anniversary concert.
  •  The big-screen adaptation welcomes songs from the stage musical, including “Children Will Listen,” “Giants in the Sky,” “On the Steps of the Palace,” “No One Is Alone” and “Agony,” among others.
  •  The award-winning production team includes: Oscar® winner Dion Beebe (“Chicago,” “Memoirs of a Geisha”) as director of photography; Oscar winner Dennis Gassner (“Bugsy,” “Quantum of Solace”) as production designer; and three-time Oscar winner Colleen Atwood (“Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Chicago,” “Alice In Wonderland”) as costume designer.

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Into The Woods will be theaters December 24, 2014!

I see a holiday trip to the movies this year for my family!

How about you? Do you think you’ll see Disney’s Into The Woods?

Trailer Park Tuesday, McFarland, USA

McFarland, USA movie

(Photo: Ron Phillips, Disney)

Inspired by the 1987 true story, “McFarland, USA” follows novice runners from McFarland, an economically challenged town in California’s farm-rich Central Valley, as they give their all to build a cross-country team under the direction of Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), a newcomer to their predominantly Latino high school. Coach White and the McFarland students have a lot to learn about each other but when White starts to realize the boys’ exceptional running ability, things begin to change. Soon something beyond their physical gifts becomes apparent—the power of family relationships, their unwavering commitment to one another and their incredible work ethic. With grit and determination, the unlikely band of runners eventually overcomes the odds to forge not only a championship cross-country team but an enduring legacy as well. Along the way, Coach White realizes that his family finally found a place to call home and both he and his team achieve their own kind of American dream.

Director: Niki Caro

Cast: Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Morgan Saylor, Martha Higareda, Michael Aguero, Sergio Avelar, Hector Duran, Rafael Martinez, Johnny Ortiz, Carlos Pratts, Ramiro Rodriguez, Danny Mora, Valente Rodriguez, Vanessa Martinez, Chris Ellis

In theaters: February 20, 2015.

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This movie definitely makes my “must see” list! The more I see and read about it, the more I’m looking forward to watching the movie.

How about you? Will you see McFarland, USA?

Trailer Park Tuesday, A Most Violent Year

A Most Violent Year

A crime drama set in New York City during the winter of 1981, statistically one of the most violent years in the city’s history, and centered on a the lives of an immigrant and his family trying to expand their business and capitalize on opportunities as the rampant violence, decay, and corruption of the day drag them in and threaten to destroy all they have built.

Director, writer: J.C. Chandor

Cast: Jessica Chastain, Oscar Isaac, Albert Brooks, Alessandro Nivola, David Oyelowo.

In theaters: December 31, 2014.

I’m betting that this movie is going to be huge. It looks amazing. If marketed correctly, I see it doing very well. I for one am really looking forward to see it on the big screen.

How about you? Judging from the trailer above, will you be seeing A Most Violent Year?

On set interviews, Liana Liberato & Luke Bracey #TheBestofMe

During my recent visit on the set of Nicholas Sparks’ latest movie; The Best Of Me (in theaters 10/17), I had the chance to sit down with a select group of bloggers, to interview two of the films costars; Liana Liberato (young Amanda) and Luke Bracey (young Dawson). Two very nice, up and coming actors, that were more than generous with their time and thoughts on the film.


Blogger: So, how old are you?
Ms. Liana Liberato: I’m 18. Graduated as quickly as I could because I did not like school. I’m a great role model.
Blogger: How did you get involved in acting?
Ms. Liana Liberato: I did theatre when I was three just because my mom didn’t want me to be shy. And I was also the Tasmanian Devil so she wanted to get rid of me for a couple of hours, and so she just put me in some theatre. And I just fell in love with it. It’s kind of the only thing that I ever really knew. I tried soccer and softball and everything like that, but I’d run the wrong way on the bases and I just wasn’t good. And so, then when I was nine, I had always said I wanted to do it professionally, and I don’t know how my parents took me seriously, but they took a little leap of faith and decided to try it out and I never really left LA after that.

Blogger: So, you were in the movie “Trust.”
Ms. Liana Liberato: I was!
Blogger: Did that change the way you see social media?
Ms. Liana Liberato: Yes, it did. When I was filming, I just kind of got off all social media altogether because it did freak me out a little and it affected me. But, it’s 2014. You kind of have to be involved in it now. I’m sure [Luke] Bracey said something completely opposite. He’s not a part of any of it. But, I actually enjoy it. I think it’s just about doing it responsibly, which Trust taught me a lot about that.

Blogger: How did you prepare for playing a time period that is probably before you were born?
Ms. Liana Liberato: ’92? Well, Michael Hoffman, the director, had us listen to music, and he would send us articles on stuff that was happening in this area at the time, and just stuff like that. It’s also pretty easy to get into it when you’re put in the clothes and–.
Blogger: Yes.
Ms. Liana Liberato: Her hair is done and everything like that, and you’re just kind of immersed in that while you’re filming. But, I mean, it’s not too different, I don’t think. Just because my character’s just like a normal teenage girl. Instead of listens to her iPad or her iPod, she’s listening to her Walkman.

Blogger: Do you relate to Amanda?
Ms. Liana Liberato: Yes, absolutely. I feel like everyone kind of can just because she’s in that phase of life where nothing’s really tainted her view of life.
And so, she’s very driven, and that’s something that I share with her. She doesn’t really stop until she gets what she wants, and I do that to a fault sometimes. But, I also like the fact that she’s not exactly like me because when I first read the script, it kind of scared me. The character scared me, which means I should do it because I don’t really ever like to be comfortable in my job. I like to be challenged. I don’t ever really want to be bored or too comfortable. So, I liked that we have a lot of differences and stuff.

Blogger: How did you work with Michelle [Monaghan] on creating the character?
Ms. Liana Liberato: We met before filming and sat down and kind of discussed what we wanted with the character; the similarities, the differences because there are some years in between, so there’s obviously going to be some differences. But, we picked out a couple of mannerisms that we thought would be interesting. A lot of them didn’t even make it into the film because they kind of manifested into something completely different. Originally, when we sat down and met, we wanted to do something with our ear, and I never did it, and it went to me doing it and playing with my necklace. Every time Amanda was in a strenuous situation, she’d always go to her necklace, and as soon as I realized that, I’d text Michelle instantly.
I was like, “Just so you know, when my character’s stressed, I play with my necklace,” and she was like, “You got it,”. And she was able to incorporate that into her character, which was so cool. And also, one of the things that we had discussed is we kind of want this big 180 in our character. You kind of meet this Amanda as she’s very vibrant and nothing can really get in her way, and then towards the end of my storyline, when Dawson goes, you kind of begin to meet the Amanda that Michelle is playing. And then Amanda, towards the end, will once again close that circle and become that young, driven girl that she’s really always been; that it was just masked over by all of these experiences in her life. So, we wanted that 180. I’m loving this rain.

Blogger: Favorite scene you filmed.
Ms. Liana Liberato: Okay. I think you girls will like this one. We have a rain scene where–which we have to do a pick-up later tonight, but everyone, you know, when you always ask like, “Where do you want to have your epic kiss?” and everyone’s like, “In the rain, obviously. And so, I will say that we’ve had to go and go back and do a pick-up. We did a scene on the roof where we’re supposed to kiss about three–two and a half weeks ago or something–and I’m secretly like “Yes. We get to do it again.” Luke’s probably over there like, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” I’m like, “Yes, it’s great,” because afterwards, Bracey and I were looking at each other going “We’re in the Nicholas Sparks movie.” That just solidifies it. Oh, I’m sorry. I don’t have a happy medium. I’m either the mumbler or I’m really loud. But, yes, no, so it just kind of solidifies the fact that you’re doing a Nicholas Sparks movie when you’re kissing a guy, a really attractive guy, in the rain.

Blogger: Do you prefer movies over television?
Ms. Liana Liberato: I actually built my resume on television and my guest star roles on TV, so I really have that to thank for all the opportunities that I got in film in the beginning. But, as of right now, I don’t really have any intentions on going over to TV just because I don’t really like the idea of being stuck to one character for, like, seven years of my life. I like a variety and I like trying different parts all the time. But, I will say that just me as a viewer, as an audience member, I think TV is in its prime right now and there’s such great television shows out. I mean, I’m obsessed with “Walking Dead.” Honestly, if I could just be a zombie on Walking Dead–I don’t even want a big role. I just want a cameo kill on Walking Dead, then my life would be made. But, I love television. I just don’t think I’d do it right now. Maybe later. Once I’m married and have a child, I want to stay in one place.


Mr. Luke Bracey: Are you guys enjoying your time out here?
Blogger: Yes, definitely.
Mr. Luke Bracey: It’s beautiful, isn’t it?
Blogger: Yes.
Mr. Luke Bracey: It really, really is. It looks like they put all the moss in the trees themselves, but it comes like that. It comes like that. You wouldn’t believe it.

: So, you’re playing the same role as James Marsden but 20 years apart, that’s obviously a different situation. So, how has that been?
Mr. Luke Bracey: I really enjoyed it. James and I sat down a couple of times before we started shooting and we just talked about the accent obviously. Mine is a little different to his. But, we didn’t want to bash anyone over the head with it. We wanted it to be nice and subtle.We wanted it to be in his own identity not only away from his family that he kind of struggles to get away from, but we also wanted him to have his own identity within the town and away from Amanda’s background, and something like that. We worked on small, physical things, but we also agreed that he comes a long way from when I play him to when James is. He goes through a lot, obviously a lot of stuff you don’t see, and I think we wanted to leave enough room for there to be a growth in him. So, we just wanted the subtleties to be there, which tied it together. It also gave us both range and both area to go certain ways. We’d go either way.

Blogger: Were you familiar with the story before committing to the project, and what was the most challenging part of playing young Dawson?
Mr. Luke Bracey: I wasn’t aware of the story before I was told about the film, but I was sitting at home in Australia in January and I got this e-mail through, and I read the script. And they said, “Oh, please give the script a read.” I was sitting home. My parents actually are set outside on the balcony and read the script, and I came in an hour and a half or two hours later. I walk in and mom and dad, you know, all, “How was the script?” When you read these stories you can get really involved and really attached to these characters and these events that occurred to them. I mean, once you read it, I did want to be a part of it, and something that challenged me was Dawson’s got such strength and such vulnerability at the same time.
He’s really unsure of himself. Especially when I play him in this younger stage. That’s the beauty of their relationship I think, is that it takes Amanda convincing him that he’s worth being loved and loving. And he comes from a tough upbringing and he’s really never been told that he’s worth anything really. And he’s worth a lot. He’s a very intelligent person and I think he’s one of the nicest people that I’ve ever come across. I think he’s so noble and so honorable and I just hope that I can take some of his qualities with me. With work, with myself, when I lay with him, because I think he’s a very noble and honorable person and I think, as I said, it takes Amanda to really bring out the best in him. You find there’s some beautiful moments where you do see he gets to laugh and really be free and you get the sense, I think, it’s for the first time in his life, and then that’s one of the really special things about their relationship. She gives him his freedom to be himself, to know that it’s all right to laugh, and make mistakes, and love, and I think, it’s a really special relationship.

Blogger: What’s the craziest or funniest thing that happened on the set so far?
Mr. Luke Bracey: We’ve had some run-ins. There was an alligator here yesterday. No, the other side of the house. It was about seven foot long and it was just sunbathing I guess. But, that was pretty interesting. We had to do some stuff out of the cottage. We went swimming in the bayou when you didn’t really have a choice in the matter, so it was interesting. But, it was quite a warm day, so that was quite nice. But, the alligator, I didn’t expect to see the alligator there yesterday. But, the only thing is as well is trying to stay on that roof and not fall off it when they’ve got the rain machines up and everything like that. It’s been some moments like that. We were on the roof, and then the storm came in, and we had to quickly scramble into the windows. The lightening was cracking just over there and that was pretty exciting.

Blogger: Do you think you’d be friends with Dawson if you met him in real life? Would you get along?
Mr. Luke Bracey: I think we would. I mean, I think I’d be a little louder than him maybe, but I would really respect him. I really respect the guy. He’s gone through so much, and there’s points during filming this when I was kind of, “Oh, he just gets it handed to him a lot.”But, I think I would be friends with him once I got to know him, once he started trusting me.
That’s a big thing to him, his trust. It’s hard for him to trust people. He’s been broken down and let down a lot in his life, but I think once he can let someone in–and not many people get in–but once they get in, I think he’s a very loyal and a very honorable person. As I said, I’d hope he’s my friend because I know he’d have my back. That’s for sure. He’s one of those friends that I think wouldn’t let you down ever, ever.

Blogger: what did you take away from the project or learn about yourself?
Mr. Luke Bracey: That’s a good question, and I think every time I do work and every time you explore a character, you hope that you can take something from it. I mean, be it personally or be it professionally, and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve been working with people like James. We haven’t had specific scenes together, but getting to know him and his process, and also working with people like Gerald McRaney, who played Tuck, and Sean Bridgers, who plays my father, you canlearn just so much about acting and about working on films from people that are professionals. And that’s how you’ve got to kind of take beat [sp] and attitude into these films, is you’ve got to be very professional and prepared. And then also, I’ve taken away, as I said, things from Dawson, you know? His honor, his strength of character, his, not only ambition, but his doggedness. When he wants something, he goes and gets it. As much as he’s held back from Amanda in all these circumstances, he still drives and wants to be with her. And after a while, once he lets her in, he realizes that his life’s nothing without this girl and his future lover.
So I really admire his passion and, as I said, his honor. He’s such a noble person. I think he’s a very, very special guy, and someone, as I said, I wish I’d knew him. I wish he was my friend. I’ve made friends with him now, though. I know him pretty well and that’s the really nice thing, when you can work and if you can really settle into a character. And I feel I settled into him very early in the process, and I kind of knew what he’d do in every situation. And that’s a good thing to be in early on, and so that’s when little things come up during filming or whatever. I’m really glad that I got to learn about him, and portray him, and bring him to life, and hopefully I can take all his good qualities and maybe leave some of my bad qualities behind.


Based on the bestselling novel by acclaimed author Nicholas Sparks, The Best of Me tells the story of Dawson and Amanda, two former high school sweethearts who find themselves reunited after 20 years apart, when they return to their small town for the funeral of a beloved friend. Their bittersweet reunion reignites the love they’ve never forgotten, but soon they discover the forces that drove them apart twenty years ago live on, posing even more serious threats today. Spanning decades, this epic love story captures the enduring power of our first true love, and the wrenching choices we face when confronted with elusive second chances.

The Best of Me stars James Marsden, Michelle Monaghan, Luke Bracey and Liana Liberato.

Being on set was an honor, and I returned home with a new prospective on filming, and new passion for the state of Louisiana.

If you haven’t already, check out my previous interviews with James Marsden & Michelle Monaghan, and Author Nicholas Sparks.

The Best of Me will be in theaters October 17th!

Stay social with The Best of Me!

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I am working with Relativity Media on promotion of this film. Travel, food and lodging were provided in exchange for my coverage. All opinions expressed are still honest and my own.

Trailer Park Tuesday, Blackhat #blackhatmovie


Set within the world of global cybercrime, Legendary’s Blackhat follows a furloughed convict and his American and Chinese partners as they hunt a high-level cybercrime network from Chicago to Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Jakarta.

Director: Michael Mann
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Viola Davis, Wei Tang, John Ortiz.
In theaters: January 16, 2015.

The more I see on this movie, the better it looks. I’m sure my husband and I will be watching it. How about you? Think you’ll see Blackhat?

On the set interviews with James Marsden & Michelle Monaghan #TheBestofMe

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I recently had the honor of being a part of a small select group of bloggers to visit the set of Nicholas Sparks’ latest movie; The Best Of Me. If you don’t already know, the story is about as romantic as they come. As was the filming location, located just outside New Orleans, in the hot and steamy state of Louisiana.

Nicholas Sparks The Best of Me

The crew was very accommodating to our group, including us in their catered southern lunch, and carrying our chairs and shelter across the plantation, more than once. Also very accommodating were the actors. We had the pleasure of chatting with several cast members throughout the day. Below are some highlights from our time with James Marsden (27 Dresses, X-Men, 30 Rock) and Michelle Monaghan (Mission: Impossible, Due Date, True Detective). Both of whom could not have been nicer.

james marsden on the set of  the best of me

Blogger: What kind of research did you do for this role?
Mr. James Marsden:You know, I didn’t do much research. I’m kind of one of these actors that likes to take the script and maybe over-examine it. And so, that’s really my blueprint is the script, and I’m obviously familiar with Nicholas’s [Sparks] work and having worked with him before and everything. I did a little looking in to what it’s like to be an oil rigger, actually. That was a new thing for me to play. The character I play comes from not a great family. He maybe had an abusive father and so I looked into that a little bit without going too heavy-handed with it. It’s what’s so nice about his work is that he so effortlessly taps into very human needs to feel loved and desired and to desire somebody else…

Blogger: Did you have any particular challenges because your character is two different ages? Was that something new to you?
Mr. James Marsden: Well, it was harder to match his physique. That was probably one of the harder things. Then again, I had the 20 years later on my side. And you know what? I was really fortunate to be a part of The Notebook, which was, you know, obviously a really strong example of a well-done Nicholas Sparks film. And they were lucky enough to have a larger age gap between Ryan and James, and Rachel and Jenna. This is trickier because it’s only 20 years.
Blogger: Exactly.
Mr. James Marsden: I don’t know. I kind of maybe look a little younger than I am…I don’t know. So, it’s a tough first sell, but Luke [Bracey] and I got together early on and we realized, look, we’re not carbon copies of one another and I don’t think the audience needs to see that, you know? It’s more about being on the same page as far as who this guy is, and maybe having some mannerisms that are similar. Luke has this really great deep voice and so I tried to kind of put my voice in that same register. Like I said, little mannerisms here and there.

Blogger: Do you have a favorite scene?
Mr. James Marsden: Michelle [Monaghan] and I had about an 11 minute love scene take, which was very nice. And they wouldn’t cut. They said, “All right, this is going to get into R territory from PG-13 pretty quick if you don’t cut.” She is such a joy to work with. I don’t know if you’ve been able to witness us kind of hanging out and messing around.
I’m from the Midwest and she is too and it’s just good to work with somebody that you actually really do have intimate chemistry with. And she’s a sweetheart. She’s a sport because I mess with her all the time. So, that was a great scene. We had some fun driving the old Corvette, you know? Teaching her how to drive a stick.

Blogger: Was there a certain part of the script or part of the book? What made you decide to take the role?
Mr. James Marsden: I haven’t done this kind of movie since The Notebook, and I don’t know how familiar you are with the movie, but I played the sort of other guy in that film, and this was an opportunity to play “the guy”. It almost got pathological there for a while, taking these roles where I’m the other guy.
Blogger: You don’t really get your happy ending here either.
Mr. James Marsden: Right, yes, well, we have our own little plan for that, so we’ll see how that all works out. But, I don’t know. I mean–.
Blogger: Is the ending changing?
Mr. James Marsden: I can’t tell you that. But, you’ll be pleased. You’ll be pleased.

michelle monaghan ont he set of the best of me

Blogger: Well, what is it like knowing that another actor is playing a younger version of yourself? Have you seen any of your personal self in Liana [Liberato]?
Ms. Michelle Monaghan: Oh, yes, most definitely. It’s funny because she’s very outgoing. I’m pretty outgoing. She’s very vivacious. And she’s very open. And she’s just a real fun girl. She’s got a lot of energy. And I as an adult have a lot of energy. But, the younger version of me probably even had more energy, of course. But, I really like Liana a lot. And I’m very happy to have her playing the younger version of me. She looks great.

Blogger: What made you decide to take this role?
Ms. Michelle Monaghan: Well, I’m a girl. And I am a romantic, of course. And you know, this is a genre that I’ve never been a part of.
I did a lot of romantic comedies. I did kind of action films, drama, but never really sort of like an epic love story. And so, when I read the script–and I was a fan of Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook, all of that–but when I read this, this really struck a chord with me because it was really powerful. And it’s about love and loss and second chances. I guess as an older woman now–hate to say that–but–or more mature woman I guess, I’ve lived life a little bit, I could relate to it in some respects. And I adore Michael Hoffmann, who is our director. And so, we started talking about it about a year ago really. And then it just kind of developed into this great movie with this great cast. And I’m really excited to be a part of it.

: Are you seeing a different part of Louisiana from when you were filming True Detective?
Ms. Michelle Monaghan: Oh, most definitely. We didn’t have anything nearly as pretty and vibrant and alive as this, you know? That was a very sort of dark look at Louisiana and also very invaluable in terms of what we were trying to achieve there. But, this has been extraordinary, you know? It’s very, very, very pretty here. And we’ve fallen in love with New Orleans. I mean, I’m hard-pressed to leave it. I’ve actually just eaten my way through this city. And I’m still only like a quarter into my list.

: What about favorite scenes, a favorite scene in the movie?
Ms. Michelle Monaghan: You know what? James and I’ve had some really fun great scenes. Look at him. He’s standing under the ice cream truck right now. He’s so cute. I mean, look at him. Don’t you just want to scoop him back? Sorry.
Blogger: We’ve been thinking that, too.
Ms. Michelle Monaghan: We’ve had a lot of great scenes. We’ve had some in this Stingray that we’ve been driving around. And that’s just been really nice because we’ve just been driving outside with the top down. And it’s a great old car. But, truly, I’ve really enjoyed shooting every day with him because he’s just so easygoing. And he’s a great actor. And he’s just a total pleasure.
Blogger: How was the 11-minute-long sex scene?
Ms. Michelle Monaghan: Oh, my Gosh. You know what? I get paid to do a job. And I’m very, very professional. I’m very professional. So, yes, um-hmm.

Blogger: So, how did you relate to Amanda?
Ms. Michelle Monaghan: Well, just having a family and just the simple fact, that I’ve been happily married for 15 years. But, I’ve had prior relationships to that. And whether you’re happily married or not, I still think it’s human nature to say, “Oh, my gosh, what if I’d stayed in that relationship,” because there were so many close calls. Do you know what I mean? And I don’t regret any one of them because I’ve learned what I wanted from each of them, as we all have. You learn what you don’t want. You learn what you need, this and that. And thank goodness, I got them all in this little package at home. But, you still can’t help but think, “What if?” And so, in that respect, I could really certainly relate to that.

Blogger: Do the kids come with you?
Ms. Michelle Monaghan: Yes, the whole family came.
Blogger: So, they’re all here?
Ms. Michelle Monaghan: Yes, they’re all here. I have my daughter in Newman. She absolutely loves it.
Blogger: How old is your little girl?
Ms. Michelle Monaghan: She’s 5.5.
Blogger: Okay.
Blogger: So, do they think it’s cool getting to go to different places?
Ms. Michelle Monaghan: Oh, they love it. They love being on an adventure. My son’s 6.5 months. My daughter really has no clue what I do. She saw me in a scene one time doing coffee with my costar. She doesn’t really come to set. Then somebody asked her one day at brunch, “Do you want to be an actress when you grow up?” And she’s like, “No, no, no, no, I can’t be an actress because I can’t drink coffee.” Oh, my Gosh, she has no clue.


Based on the bestselling novel by acclaimed author Nicholas Sparks, The Best of Me tells the story of Dawson and Amanda, two former high school sweethearts who find themselves reunited after 20 years apart, when they return to their small town for the funeral of a beloved friend. Their bittersweet reunion reignites the love they’ve never forgotten, but soon they discover the forces that drove them apart twenty years ago live on, posing even more serious threats today. Spanning decades, this epic love story captures the enduring power of our first true love, and the wrenching choices we face when confronted with elusive second chances.
The Best of Me stars James Marsden, Michelle Monaghan, Luke Bracey and Liana Liberato.

In theaters October 17th!

Stay social with The Best of Me!

Follow on  Facebook:

Watch for more about my “The Best of Me” set visit to be posted soon, including interviews with Liana Liberato, Luke Bracey.

I am working with Relativity Media on promotion of this film. Travel, food and lodging were provided in exchange for my coverage. All opinions expressed are still honest and my own.

On the set interview with Nicholas Sparks #TheBestofMe

Back in May, I had the honor of joining a select group of bloggers in visiting the New Orleans set of Nicholas Sparks’ latest movie; The Best Of Me – based on his novel of the same name. The movie was on it’s last day of filming, taking place on one beautiful southern plantation.


The home owner was also on set, sharing that the plantation had been in their family since 1876, and that it’s mostly been re-done over the years, but they kept as much as they could. Like the shutters and big high windows, and they have big crown moldings and beautiful floor..

Having read “The Best of Me” before my visit, I felt the locations were almost as important to the story as each character. Judging from what I saw of this plantation, the movie version is getting it right. Not surprising at all – seeing as Nicholas Sparks is very present on set, overseeing each detail.


We as a group had the pleasure of sitting for an open Q&A with Nicholas Sparks, and conversing with him several times throughout our day on set. Below are a few of the highlights.

Blogger: Has the success of your movies changed the way you write your next book? Do you picture the movie?

Mr. Nicholas Sparks: Yes and no. There’s two parts to writing a novel, really, if you break it down. You have the thinking of the story–the period prior to writing. And then you have the moments when you write. So, when you’re thinking of a story, yes, I do take sometimes the film into account, not necessarily my own, but other films as well, for instance.
And that’s just so that I can be original. I don’t want to do something that feels unoriginal. So, it’s got be original for both a novel and original for film, and so you want to do that.

Blogger: Differences between the book and movie?
Mr. Nicholas Sparks: Differences–.
Blogger: –And are you okay with them?
Mr. Nicholas Sparks: Yes.
Blogger: Do you have a say?
Mr. Nicholas Sparks: Yes, the differences between the book and the movie–of course there are always differences. You know, film is a very different medium, in general.
So, because they’re different mediums, you have to kind of go into the whole project knowing that some things work better on film than they do in books. And some things conversely work better in books than they do on film…

Blogger: You said briefly that the inspiration for the story was something–an experience you had, like, when–.
Mr. Nicholas Sparks: –Personal.
Blogger: Yes, it’s a personal experience. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Mr. Nicholas Sparks: I was in my 40s when I wrote The Best Me, and I think the 40s are a very interesting period of peoples’ lives. It’s like, if you’re in your 20s and your 30s, you kind of believe that your dreams can come true. You’ll meet the right guy, or you’ll be famous, or whatever your dreams are. I’ll have the house with the white picket–it doesn’t matter what they are. I’ll have kids, or whatever. Okay. So, you go through your 20s and 30s, and there’s a part of you that just knows it’s still–you still got a shot here. Well, in your 50s, 60s, and 70s, you kind of reach a point where you’re looking back and say, well, maybe they didn’t all come true, right.. I’m never going to be an astronaut.


Blogger: I guess it’s the acknowledgments or right before the book, you said that this was a really hard book for you to write.
Mr. Nicholas Sparks: Yes.
Blogger: So, was that because of the topic or because of the writing?
Mr. Nicholas Sparks: No, no, no. It was a really challenging book because I worked exceedingly hard on it, and it was originally structured a little bit like Nights in Rodanthe. So, it was Amanda, and then she’s looking back on these events of maybe two or three years earlier. And you tell this story. And then the last part of the book, I unwound the story, right? I didn’t know how to do it the other way. And so, my editor read the novel and she said, that doesn’t work. You need to keep this story linear without a flashback. And the reason I didn’t do it linear in the first place was because I didn’t know how to do it in the first place. And the real challenge was, if you’re running parallel stories, you’ve got a Dawson story going on, and then you’ve got an Amanda story going on. In the Dawson story, it was tremendously fast-paced. He’s seeing something, he’s taken off running, there’s bad guys chasing, there’s fights, it’s a lot of just, wow, page-turning excitement. Amanda’s story, conversely, was sitting in a hospital. If anyone has ever sat in a hospital when you’re really, really worried about whoever you’re there for and really, really worried, what does time do?
Bloggers: Stops.
Mr. Nicholas Sparks: Stops.

When asked about sad endings:

Mr. Nicholas Sparks: I tend to do that in a lot of my novels, right?
Blogger: Yes.

Mr. Nicholas Sparks: What is the purpose of literature? What is the purpose of any particular genre? What’s the purpose of a horror novel? To scare you. Okay. What’s the purpose of a thriller novel? To thrill you. What’s the purpose of a romance novel, which is not what I do? To allow you flights into romantic fantasy. What is the purpose of a mystery? To uncover who done it, right? They all have purposes. What’s the purpose of what I do? The purpose of what I do is to move the reader through the entire range of human emotion. So, that includes love, but you should also feel Amanda’s confusion. You should feel Dawson’s struggle. You should feel the frustration, the choice. You should feel what they’re going through, so that by the time you close the cover, you’re not thrilled or scared, and it wasn’t necessarily just a straight romantic fantasy.

You kind of feel as if you lived–.

Blogger: –Yes.
Mr. Nicholas Sparks: –A full life between the covers. And so, you have to cover all of the emotions of life, because if you leave one out, then it’s fantasy. It doesn’t really feel real. So, unfortunately, in case you’re not aware, sadness will be part of all of your lives. It’s just hard–.

Blogger: Where do you get your inspiration for the characters?
Mr. Nicholas Sparks: Inspiration can come from anywhere. They’ve been drawn from people that I know, from stories. But, generally, there are bits in people–every character–you search for their voice, and then their voice helps to define them. So, the inspiration is not in one fell swoop. It’s usually in more like bits and pieces, like maybe she’s quiet. And then you do the voice and say, well, maybe she’s even quieter than I thought, or maybe she talks more. And little by little, they come to life.

Blogger: At what age did you know you wanted to be a writer? Or when you knew you were a writer?
Mr. Nicholas Sparks: Totally different. If you ask my college roommates, they’ll say when I was 19 to 20, because I’d written a novel between my freshman and sophomore years of college. I lived with a group of guys, still good friends, and they say, oh, you talked about being a writer all the time. So, they would say, he knew when he was 20 that that’s what he was going to do. Part of me said, there’s no way I’ll ever make a living at doing that. So, it might have been more of a want than anything that was based in reality. I majored in business finance. I mean, you know? So, I guess then it was probably into halfway through Message in a Bottle that I knew I could be a writer, because you didn’t know if The Notebook was a fluke, and you had to know if you could do it a second time. So, it was somewhere around 1990. If The Notebook–I sold it in ’95. Probably somewhere in the spring of ’97. So, right around then.


Based on the bestselling novel by acclaimed author Nicholas Sparks, The Best of Me tells the story of Dawson and Amanda, two former high school sweethearts who find themselves reunited after 20 years apart, when they return to their small town for the funeral of a beloved friend. Their bittersweet reunion reignites the love they’ve never forgotten, but soon they discover the forces that drove them apart twenty years ago live on, posing even more serious threats today. Spanning decades, this epic love story captures the enduring power of our first true love, and the wrenching choices we face when confronted with elusive second chances.

In theaters October 17th!

Stay social with The Best of Me!

Follow on  Facebook:

Nicholas Sparks on the set of the Best Of Me

Watch for more about my “The Best of Me” set visit to be posted soon, including interviews with James Marsden, Michelle Monaghan, Liana Liberato, Luke Bracey.

I am working with Relativity Media on promotion of this film. Travel, food and lodging were provided in exchange for my coverage. All opinions expressed are still honest and my own.