Australian director Scott Hicks’ upcoming film The Lucky One may begin on the battlefield, but for Hicks it’s a familiar story told in a different way.
“This is a romance,” he says. “We all know where it’s going, but the point is how do you tell it?”
The film is an adaptation of a novel of the same name written by Nicholas Sparks (whose novels The Notebook and Dear John have also been adapted for the screen). It tells the story of Logan Thibault, a young US Marine Sergeant played by Zac Efron (High School Musical), who finds a photograph of an unknown woman during the Iraq War. He soon comes to believe the picture is his lucky charm, and after returning home tracks her down.
“That, I thought, was an amazing premise,” says Hicks. “When I went to visit Camp Pendleton, you know, marines said just how true it was, and several of those marines said 'this is my story'.”
Efron, who had his head shaved and gained 25 pounds of muscle for the film, also spent time with the marines. Hicks says Efron connected with them, despite their initial scepticism. “That was very interesting because you have to sort of try and unlock a kind of firewall that they erect deliberately to shut you out.”
For the war scenes, Hicks had to transform his filming location, Louisiana, into Iraq, which was no simple task “because Louisiana tends to be all water and very green”.
“The scenes feel totally authentic, but if you turned 90 degrees you’d see the Mississippi with a ship.”
Romantic dramas are nothing new for the director – he also helmed the global hit No Reservations in 2007. However, The Lucky One’s war dimension is also a “hook” for the male audience.
“Our early previews for the film were interesting, because there’s some, you know, fairly hard-hitting war imagery at the beginning of the film and the guys who came went ‘oh, oh this is not what I expected… I thought this was a Nicholas Sparks film!’”
Still, The Lucky One is predominantly targeted at females, the typical audience for a Sparks novel.
“The big action pictures, the big cartoons, the big superhero movies and so on… they’re made for boys, you know, boys who are up to 25 years old. So what are the women going to see? Hopefully, they’ll go and see The Lucky One.”
The Lucky One will be released by Roadshow Films in Australia on April 19, 2012. Check out the trailer here.