Capturing the tone of a book in a book trailer is not easy. There’s a lot to think about – casting, locations, music, editing. I wanted the Now and Forever trailer to capture both the dreamy romance of falling in love and the exhilaration of rising fame. Which is why, when my BF/soul mate said he’d write and direct the trailer, I was all over that.
The first step was to find actors who would bring Sterling and Ethan to life. I was thrilled when Lily Zahn and Ben Bowers responded.
Lily is freaking adorable. As soon as I saw her reel, I knew she had the talent, depth, and right look to play Sterling. Ben showed up looking like a total rock star. Dude, he is an Abercrombie model. Ben submitted this ad he did with his resume and I was like, Um, yeah, you might want to work on your abs more? But other than that…
This past winter was so cold that we had to wait forever until it was warm enough to shoot. Finally the trees were flowering and we were good to go. Our shoot was a full day with four locations in downtown Manhattan, including my apartment. Ben brought the world’s biggest rock star to life right in my living room:
My red couch will never be the same. Especially after the hot makeout scenes:
What’s it like to show up for a job and kiss someone you just met (while dealing with horrible allergies and getting locked in a diner’s bathroom)? Lily shared some reflections from the shoot:
It’s somewhat rare when filming that we would get to have the writer (in this case, author) on set. Since the book hadn’t been released yet, it was so helpful to have Susane there guiding us to bring her characters to life. It was also really comforting to know that Susane had handpicked us for the task. Sterling’s specific experience is pretty incredible – I’ve never dated a guy who became a world-famous rock star (…yet). But in playing her, I keyed in to what I could relate to about her story, which is being young and in love and having to realize that things change as life takes each person in a different direction.
Oh gosh, I had the worst allergies the day we shot the trailer. It was April and everything was starting to bloom. Probably the biggest challenge of the day was to not let feeling under the weather impact my performance. After all, Sterling wasn’t feeling sick! In that case, all you can really do bring is some Zyrtec and power through – keep the energy up, try to enjoy the experience, and ignore that stuffy nose and headache.
As an actor on set, one of the weirdest things we do is form an “insta-relationship” with a co-star. In a play, I usually have weeks of rehearsal to get to know someone and build a rapport. When I’m called in for a one day shoot, I may show up on set, shake hands, and start making out. No matter how you slice it, it sounds pretty weird. But I think we all know it’s part of the job and when you have someone nice and hygienic (and let’s face it, not bad on the eyes), it’s generally fine… and even a little fun. But it’s also pretty technical; you might get directions like, “put your hand here,” “smile earlier,” or “no tongue.” Once that first kiss is out of the way, it’s sort of business as usual (how many jobs can you say that about?).
Oh! Kissing schmissing. I have the most awkward story of the day. On our lunch break, I got locked in the restaurant’s restroom. Literally, the lock jammed and I could not get it off. I had a bigger emotional journey in those 10 minutes than I did the whole day of the shoot. I went through annoyance at the faulty lock, panic that I’d delay the shooting schedule, embarrassment at what everyone must think I’m doing in the bathroom, laughter at the absurdity of the situation, and finally determination to unjam that lock with brute strength (which I did… eventually, thank you very much). I flung out of the bathroom, took a deep breath and returned to our table. Show must go on, right? Even with the allergy attack and bathroom debacle, it was such a great day. I wish all jobs could be that fun and relaxed (and on schedule!) Susane and Matt brought such a positive energy that it really made my job easy and enjoyable.
Lily and Ben were amazing to work with. And I was happy that they had fun with each other. They made the relationship between Sterling and Ethan adorable and relatable.
Thanks for all of your kind comments about the trailer, friendly neighbors. Here’s to bringing books to life!