“The Lucky One” was a less than perfect romantic drama, to be kind.
The film did offer something unusual by modern movie standards. It treated its military subplot with respect, even reverence.
As we learn from the Blu-ray edition of the film, that was no accident.
“What is it like to be out there in the fight … how did it change you?” Efron says about his research for the film during the Blu-ray feature “Zac Efron Becomes a Marine.”
The “High School Musical” star went to Camp Pendleton to hang out with sergeants ready to deploy as part of his character’s background research. He plays a veteran who nearly dies while serving in Iraq but is saved by a photograph belonging to a mystery woman (Taylor Schilling, “Atlas Shrugged”).
Meeting Marines proved to be a “an eye opener,” says Efron, who put on 20-25 pounds of muscle to be believable as a Marine. “I felt like I didn’t belong there … I knew instantly I was gonna have to put in the work to be able to play this character.”
“I can’t even describe their presence, it’s almost eerie,” he says of their steely approach.
The actor woke each morning at 3:30 a.m. to prepare both physically and mentally for the part.
The featurette applauds the young actor for all his hard work, a congratulatory effort which isn’t atypical for a Blu-ray extra. What is a welcome sight is seeing Marines getting to share their stories with Efron, and for the film studio to give a group of Marines a little extra attention on a major feature release.
“This is our generation,” Efron says of the Marines he met.