When the film The Lucky One opens in theaters tomorrow, it will join six other Nicholas Sparks books that have been successfully made into huge Hollywood hits. Aside from The Lucky One, which came out in 2008, these six Sparks books have been made into films: Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, Nights in Rodanthe, Dear John, The Last Song.
These movies have propelled more than one young star into a new phase of his career, including Ryan Gosling (The Notebook), Liam Hemsworth (The Last Song), and Channing Tatum (Dear John). Zac Efron is hoping that The Lucky One will do the same for him.
Efron plays the hero, US Marine First Sergeant Logan Thibault. Logan spots a photo of a mysterious woman in the Iraqi desert one morning, and he narrowly escapes an explosion as he walks over to pick the photo up. Convinced that the photo as the lucky charm that helped him survive from three tours of duty in Iraq, he vows to find the women in the photo to thank her for saving his life. Upon returning the States, Logan embarks on a walk from Colorado to North Carolina– with his trusty dog Zeus – in search of the mysterious woman in the photo. When he finally finds Beth, he takes a job at her grandmother’s kennel, but doesn’t reveal the true reason for his presence there. A romance develops between Logan and Beth, and after overcoming a few obstacles, including Beth’s jealous ex, and Logan’s reticence and hidden agenda, the two end up with their happy ever after.
Efron is not the first person who comes to mind for the role of a war-traumatized, uncommunicative Marine. After all, Efron is best known for his work in the High School Musical franchise, and that is as far from the Marines as anyone can imagine. Nonetheless, Efron rose to the challenge, spending time with “real Marines”, training incessantly, and putting on 20 lbs of muscle for the role. He also buzzed off his trademark locks, and abandoned his usual clean-shaven look for some rugged stubble.
Efron, all scruffy and grown up, must have done something right – Sparks obviously agrees with the casting choice. Sparks said that Efron was the perfect age to play Logan, and gushes, “He brings such tremendous ability as a performer. I think this will lead the ground for him to be a leading man in a lot of different films.”
The Lucky One is set to be one of the successes of 2012 – a buffed up Efron plus puppies at the kennel should be a guaranteed hit. Catch the trailer here, or better yet, get a copy of Sparks’ tearjerker of a love story before watching Efron in action. The Lucky One opens in theaters April 20.