A Commitment To Talent
A great script attracts a lot of great people, but finding the perfect talent to
bring Paige and Leo to life was crucial; not just the right actor and actress
individually, but the right pair. Producer Jonathan Glickman explains: "So much
of the film is hinged on how this girl actually married this guy and how she
makes sense of that fact, and whether an audience will believe that this guy
could get this girl to marry him."
"The great thing about Rachel and Channing's pairing is that they're both
extremely charismatic and likeable, but not necessarily from each other's world,
and they were probably six years old when we started working on this story,"
jokes Glickman, "So there's another element of timing in the making of this
For Sucsy, casting Paige was tricky, because it was important for the character
not to come off as too distant when adjusting to her post-coma world. "The
difficult thing for an actress in approaching the role of Paige is that she
comes out and she doesn't have any connection to her husband. He's a stranger to
her. If she's too off-putting, it's hard to root for her. And in the case of
Rachel McAdams, she's the perfect actress to play the role, because she can
tread that line of being likeable, but being convincing that she's going through
this process of having lost her memory."
McAdams connected with the script and her character from the beginning: "I loved
the way the script unfolded. When we first meet Paige, she is a much more
actualized version of herself than we see later on in the film, which is kind of
a backwards way to go but exactly what I found so interesting." She explains,
"Paige has embraced the life she's made with Leo. They're clearly free and
comfortable and supportive of each other; she appreciates his music and he
encourages her sculpting. But then we find out that she's cut off from her
family and denying a big part of her life."
Channing Tatum is a self-proclaimed hopeless romantic, and felt the script told
an authentic story about a once in a lifetime love and what people will do to
hold on to that. "Falling in love is the easy part!" notes Tatum. "Getting on
with your life together and making sure you stay in touch and connected because
life can get in the way sometimes, that's the tough part. I think that a huge
part of Leo and Paige's journey is based on the fact that not only do they make
each other intensely happy and support each other, but that they pushed each
other to grow and when you do that it really does take you to the next level in
a relationship and in life."
It's been said that a common reaction for people with brain trauma and memory
loss is for them feel inadequate and frustrated. The people and things they
can't remember become associated with anxiety, frustration and confusion. This
aspect also intrigued McAdams. "It stands to reason that a person would feel
overwhelmed by it all and want to avoid what is making them feel bad about
themselves even though others are trying to help," she says. "It must be so
frustrating for everyone in this situation! So often people have to take a stand
about who they are, but then they lose important people in their life. Paige
feels inadequate and frustrated by her memory loss and at one point just finds
it easier to be away from Leo. This is about bridging the gap between those two
things and so many of us can relate to that."
Channing admits that he found the role emotionally difficult at times because,
as a young husband himself, he couldn't help but imagine himself in this
situation: "I hope I would be as brave as Leo is; it's heartbreaking for him,
but he has the faith to let Paige find her own way. And this role is great
because Leo is so truthful about his love, he doesn't hold it back, and I can
relate to that. I love love! It's harder to play than running around with guns
and being physical, but it's very satisfying."
Tatum says it made total sense to him to work so hard to win Paige back: "If my
wife (actress Jenna Dewan) lost her memory of me, I wouldn't just be like 'Okay,
alright, well, see you later, good luck'. No. I'd be fighting tooth and nail and
plug away at this until it comes back. No matter what."
"It's a great romantic love story but also about familial love too," says
McAdams. "When Paige wakes up and doesn't recognize her husband and learns that
she's estranged from her family, she sees big holes in her life that need to be
filled in. I find that idea of not knowing if you will find your way back to
your destiny so interesting." She continues, "Do you naturally gravitate towards
all the things you were already going towards in your life, or does it just
start from scratch and you have to build yourself up as a person all over again?
And I think that's such an interesting idea that they say you will naturally go
where you were. You'll find your way back there even though you have to relearn
everything from scratch. A driving force through the whole movie is you're
waiting for this epiphany, you're waiting for that light bulb moment and it
doesn't necessarily come."
On Leo's sacrifice, McAdams feels that, "It was generous and a loving act that
he gives Paige the opportunity and the space to become herself again on her own
terms and also wise of him to know that she needed to do that."
Channing is in sync with Rachel on the choices Leo makes. "I don't think it was
Leo's place to tell Paige the truth about her family rift," he notes. "If he
had, she more than likely wouldn't go back to them, but he didn't want her to
run to him by running away from them." Tatum worked hard with director Michael
Sucsy to find a place for Leo where "he understands that her family is just
doing whatever they possibly can to get their daughter back and he doesn't blame
them for it but he just wishes that they would be honest with her. He wanted her
to choose to be with him."
Tatum continues: "It's so frustrating for Leo because there's nothing visibly
wrong with his wife; she talks like Paige, she walks like Paige, everything is
exactly the same, but it's just her memory of her husband is completely gone.
And it's that much more painful that she remembered other people, her family,
but just not her husband and everything they had been together."
For Sucsy, casting Tatum was a case of finding the soldier of love in an
established movie warrior. "The Leo role is a knight in shining armor, and prior
to this I'd only seen Channing's work where he'd been in tough, military roles.
So I went to meet him, and we sat down, and I called the producers afterward and
I said, 'He is the guy. He's Leo. It's perfect for him.' I got the sense that
his heart was bigger than his chest cavity. He's got a huge heart, Channing
does, and so does Leo, and that really comes out when he has to keep sticking
with his wife through the ups and downs."
From Rachel McAdams' point of view, "Channing Tatum is the perfect guy for this
role because he's a real renaissance man; chivalrous and gentlemanly. He's
playing someone who would do anything to win back his wife's heart and that's
very much, I think, who Channing is. He's a very heroic kind of guy, so yeah,
and I know he loves love and really believes in it and I think he made Leo a
really stoic character that you just fall in love with and believe that he's
definitely the rock in the relationship throughout. He added such lovely little
touches to Leo."
Channing is equally impressed by Rachel: "Look, she is one of the most brilliant
and beautiful people that I've ever met. Not just as an actor, but as a person.
She cares. She has the true talent to be able to make any line work - and we've
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