Coming October 17th
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.
Find The Best of Me on
The final interview I got to do on my visit to the set of The Best of Me was with actress Michelle Monaghan who plays opposite James Marsden as the grown up Amanda Collier. Michelle was busy the day I visited the set as she was in every scene they filmed while I were there. Following shooting a scene with her mother there were just a few minutes to interview her before she had to do a photo shoot with the cast and then start filming another scene with James.
Michelle Lynn Monaghan (born March 23, 1976) is an American actress known for her roles in Mission: Impossible III, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Gone Baby Gone, Made of Honor, The Heartbreak Kid, Eagle Eye, Source Code, and True Detective.
Interview with Michelle Monaghan on the set of The Best of Me
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?
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. I really like Liana a lot. And I’m very happy to have her playing the younger version of me. She looks great.
What made you decide to take this role?
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.
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.
I adore Michael Hoffmann, who is our director. And so, we started talking about it about a year ago really.
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?
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 a favorite scene in the movie?
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. 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.
How was the 11-minute-long sex scene?
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.
What are some of the challenges of playing Amanda? And maybe what are some of the things you learned just along the way?
Well, I think, it’s interesting. We were talking today, actually. Your 20s and your 30s are all about sort of self-discovery really.
And you’re kind of figuring out what you want to do with your life. And I think that sort of when you kind of hit your mid to late 30s and your 40s, it’s kind of all about self-reflection really and kind of taking stock in our lives and sort of going, “Okay. Well, did I sort of achieve what I wanted to sort of professionally or romantically or in terms of family,” any of these things? I think we start to question and ask ourselves how we want to live the next 40 years of our lives.
And so, I think it’s just in terms of just how I relate to it in terms of what would I do in this particular chance? And am I happy in this aspect of my life? Am I fulfilled in this way?
And I think that’s why people are really honestly going to relate to it because you can sort of see the choices and the history in yourself.
So, how did you relate to Amanda?
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?
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.
And how is it going from your True Detective character to this?
Well, you know what? It was not that difficult because I ended up having a baby in between. So, I was about five months pregnant when I finished that show, had a baby. He’s about six months old now.
And so, that really took all of my focus. And so I was able to do a transition into this. I wouldn’t say like it was in a breeze. I had to get him sleeping through the night first…
Do the kids come with you?
Yes, the whole family came.
So, do they think it’s cool getting to go to different places?
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.
And that wrapped up the interviews for the day. We got to watch one final scene being filmed which I can’t wait to see on the screen. It was a transitional shot with James and Michelle driving away from the plantation and Luke and Liana driving back towards the plantation. It has hard not to laugh while watching them film because Liana had just learned how to drive a stick shift.
I can’t wait to see this movie 2 weeks from today! I’m especially interested to see how the scenes I got to watch them film turn out.