ComingSoon.net interviewed Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T. Jackson, Leven Rambin, and director Thor Freudenthal about the upcoming release of Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.
Q: Returning to these roles, did you just fall back into character or did you have to reintroduce your character to yourself?
Alexandra Daddario: I think there was a little bit of that. It was a few years, but it was kind of like going back to summer camp. It was great because you’re with your old friends and you’re very comfortable around them, and you have people to rely on and lean on if you’re having a bad day. If you’re having a good day you have someone to share it with. That was a really great part of it and that really helped us fall back into character. Now we know how to do green screen; we’re in different places in our lives and careers; so it was a really exciting, cool adventure.
Q: Do you have any thoughts on why this book series and movie so resonate with people?
Daddario: I think it’s really hard to be a kid, and it’s really hard to grow up. We all know that’s true. This series shows that no matter what you’re going through, no matter what you’re struggling with or what is difficult for you, you can still succeed. It doesn’t mean that you can’t be who you want to be. It doesn’t mean that you have amazing powers or amazing abilities, despite all your weaknesses. That’s really relatable and inspiring, and it’s really cool to be a part of that. I think that’s one of the reasons that people love it. It’s just a relatable inspiring story.
Jackson: Younger kids these days, it’s a cynical generation. It’s something good to believe in. There’s the reality type stuff, but you don’t see too many books and films, unless you’re a reader, that have underlying tones that have positive messages that can be for kids. Kids are kind of doing their own thing on the internet. So to have the positive force that readers can take from this is really inspiring and great for this generation because they definitely need it.
Lerman: The similarities between a film like this and, obviously very similar films structurally… There’s something really appealing, especially for me growing up, and now even, about young people in extraordinary situations dealing with human issues and problems. Flawed characters as well, none of our characters are perfect. But yeah, the extraordinary situation of being young – there’s something appealing about that. Kids who save the world? That’s fun.
Q: Leven, is it fun to be a brunette and kick butt? Have you enjoyed changing your personality a little bit this time?
Rambin: Yeah, I was really lucky that Thor was able to see me as a brunette with this blonde hair. That’s not typically the first thing that comes to mind when you look at me, I don’t think. But when I put on that wig – luckily they didn’t dye my hair – and change my physicality a lot… Nothing against brunettes – I still felt beautiful. But I felt a lot less inhibited, and I felt down to be a little more brash and powerful and strong. I kind of hid behind all this brown hair, and it gave me the power and confidence to verbally rip this one over here. [Laughs.]
Q: Thor, how did you want to push this forward cinematically but also keep it of a piece with the first film?
Thor Freudenthal: I felt that the first film did a great job of doing the footwork of establishing the world. But I felt reading the book, Sea of Monsters, that there was a lot of life in the camp in places that we don’t necessarily see in the first movie. So whenever we show the camp, I wanted to show different aspects than we had seen in movie 1. That was a great way to expand the world as a whole and the visual vocabulary. But also, obviously, a lot of this movie takes place at sea, which is a vast scope and very wide. Dealing with that was fun. Aside from that, I just kind of visually shoot the way I shoot and I don’t consciously think about it. It’s just a way of moving the camera, composing shots. I can’t really consciously say that I’m trying to stay within what Chris in the first movie established. It’s just kind of my own sense of pacing and rhythm and editing speed and so forth. I did, and luckily I think the material of the movie supported that. I think the books are irreverent and quirky. They don’t always take themselves all that seriously. And at times we wanted to do that in the film. It was maybe a bit of an expansion, or digging deeper into what the tone of the books are than before.
Q: Have any of you read most of the books in order to portray the characters better?
Daddario: I read the first book in lieu of the script, because I did not have the script when I screen-tested. It helped a lot. And I read the second book, but actually after I read the script for the second movie. Because I find that they are two different mediums, and structurally they’re different. I think focusing on the script is most important when you’re making a film. But the books definitely help with character development, and you see some different stories that are left out of the script, so it’s an interesting read.
Rambin: I read the second book, in which Clarisse is described as pig-faced and disgusting. So I tried to incorporate that. [Laughs.] I wasn’t concerned with vanity, and I wasn’t super body conscious. I kind of let myself fall into that a little bit, just because I didn’t want to feel like a pretty girl. I didn’t want to feel like someone who was upkeeping, who cares about that kind of thing. I kind of shut my eyes at certain parts, but it did help me to understand what the fans are looking for. And what I should bring to diehard fans of the book.
Q: What’s really caught your attention about these fans who get so deep into this particular mythology?
Daddario: The biggest thing for me is that it’s kind of amazing [how]you’re jumping into something that so many young people are inspired by. When I was a kid – ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen – I used to go to Broadway shows and wait outside the back and wait for autographs from the actors. I thought they were godlike and the most amazing people. My dream was to be on stage or be in a movie. To be in the opposite position now is kind of amazing. It’s really exciting to be able to inspire somebody and meet somebody and uplift them just because you get to play a relatable character that everybody knows in a movie. That’s kind of cool.
Lerman: Yeah, the majority of people that would recognize me in my normal everyday life from this film are kids. My family works a lot with children, and it’s really nice to see that a movie can make them so happy. And that a photo might make them so happy because that’s the character that they love from the movie. That’s the most value I get out of being a part of this film.
Read the entire interview here.