The Best of Me

Jack Black is easily one of my top ten favorite people of all time. He is the front-man of one of my favorite bands of all time, Tenacious D, and is a vibrant and spasmodic actor that fills me with joy. His latest film The D Train was showcased at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was well received.

Jack Black plays Dan Landsman, the head of his high school reunion committee, he has the task of convincing his former classmates to attend their reunion. He was the loser who wishes to claim fame with the help of the most popular guy from his high school, Oliver Lawless (James Marsden).

James Marsden has made frequent stops in New Orleans to film movies including The D Train, The Best of Me and The Loft. Check out The SceneCast episode that includes Marsden’s work out regiment for The Best Of Me here.

The D Train is a dramedy directed by Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel. The film also stars effortlessly funny Jeffrey Tambor and one of the funniest females on the planet Kathryn Hahn. The D Train will race into theaters May 8.

Read IFC Films synopsis below:

All his life, Dan Landsman (Jack Black) has never been the cool guy. That’s about to change – if he can convince Oliver Lawless (Marsden), the most popular guy from his high school who’s now the face of a national Banana Boat ad campaign, to show up with him to their class reunion. A man on a mission, Dan travels from Pittsburgh to LA and spins a web of lies to recruit Lawless. But he gets more than he bargains for as the unpredictable Lawless proceeds to take over his home, career, and entire life. Showcasing Jack Black and James Marden’s most outrageous performances to date, THE D TRAIN serves up the question: how far would you go to be popular? Co-starring Kathryn Hahn and Jeffrey Tambor.

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photo-2-webThis article originally ran in the 2014 November/December issue of Scene Magazine.

How did you connect with James Marsden on The Best of Me?
I was introduced to him through Denise Di Novi. I met Denise on The Lucky One when I worked with Zac Efron and we’ve kept in touch since. She knew James’ character had to look a certain way for this film so she connected us. James reached out to Zac Efron to get a reference check on me as well and Zac gave me a great endorsement. James ended up working on D-Train (also shot in New Orleans) so he actually started with me about a month before we filmed The Best of Me. That worked out really well because once he started filming The Best of Me, the filming schedule got a little nutty and they were working long hours.

Who is James Marsden’s character in the film and what kind of look was required?
James plays a character named Dawson, an oil rig worker. The character he played needed to have this rough, burly kind of look. Not someone who’s extremely in shape and ripped up but more of a tough guy. The blue collar worker. The guy who goes out, eats like a man and his weight lifting is manual labor. So we tried to focus the training on mimicking that look.

James is a relatively thin guy. He’s got a fast metabolism and it was all about trying to put some decent size on him. I checked out some online images of different oil rig workers and I’ve got a couple buddies who work on the rigs so I asked them what their days are like. They’ve got little gyms on site and they’ve got decent dining facilities where they can eat fairly healthy so I used those as guidelines.

What were some of the goals you set together to achieve that look?
Normally, the biggest part of a transformation is the nutrition aspect but in James’ case, because of his body type, his metabolism and the schedule we had, training was actually a lot more important than the nutrition. In very few instances do ever I say that. Nutrition was still a big factor though as we had to incorporate different foods around the times we trained and then took a couple of supplements that you can buy from GNC or Vitamin Shoppe that helped with endurance, recovery and performance.

photo-3-webWhat were some of the nutrition goals you set together?
When we started out, I really had to understand how his body worked in the gym and with nutrition. He can pretty much eat whatever he wants so with a guy who has a metabolism like him, we had to be sure to eat the right foods around the right times. We added some red meat in, added some carbohydrates around his training time and he drank some aminos while we trained. These are just a few things that helped him build muscle and get through the training sessions because the training was pretty tough. I had him drinking a lot of water too. Being on set and sweating all day can take its toll and dehydrate you pretty quickly. His schedule was pretty hectic so we tried to keep it as consistent as possible with the food. Catering helped us with his meals as much as possible.

What were some of the training goals that you set with James?
His schedule was really sporadic. He was filming D-Train, he was having meetings for The Best of Me and he had his press stuff going on for X-Men, which was really hush-hush. He’s also got a family back in L.A. so he was constantly leaving to go from one place to the next. I knew we were going to have to do some out-of-the-box type training, not your traditional weight training. So we used a lot of volume training, super sets and giant sets, things that to really shock the body, shock the muscle and force it to grow in a short amount of time. There’s more!

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Fury

Go back to 1945 during WWII as the Allies take their final push in the European Theatre. Brad Pitt stars as Sergeant Wardaddy, commander of a Sherman Tank who must lead his five-man squad behind enemy lines on a lethal mission. Logan Lerman, Shia LeBeouf, Michael Pena and Jon Bernthal also star. 134 min. Rated R.

  There’s more!

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TRAILER 2: ‘The Best of Me’

by Arthur Vandelay on August 14, 2014

Another trailer has been released for the newest Nicholas Sparks adaptation, The Best of Me. Filmed in New Orleans, the romantic drama shows former high school sweethearts attempting to relight the spark after so many years. Starring Luke Bracey and Liana Liberato as the young Dawson and Amanda, and James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan as their older counterparts, director Michael Hoffman uses flashbacks to display their love story over the years.

Of course, the film will stay with the quintessential Nicholas Sparks “chick flick” tropes of the whirlwind romance, bitter parents and reconciling lovers. The Best of Me marks the second Sparks adaptation to be filmed in the Crescent City. The first was The Lucky One with Zack Efron. Scene fitness writer Aaron Williamson helped to sculpt the physiques of both Efron for that film and Marsden for The Best of Me. You can read his new column here.

 The Best of Me opens in theaters October 17.

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TRAILER: The Best of Me

by Arthur Vandelay on June 16, 2014

The official trailer for newest Nicholas Sparks book to film adaptation, The Best of Me, is here. Filmed in New Orleans, the romantic drama shows high school sweethearts relight the spark after so many years. Starring Luke Bracey and Liana Liberato as the young Dawson and Amanda, and James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan as their older counterparts, director Michael Hoffman uses flashbacks to display their love story over the years. Of course, the film will stay with the quintessential Nicholas Sparks “chick flick” tropes of the whirlwind romance, bitter parents and reconciling lovers. The Best of Me marks the second Sparks adaptation to be filmed in the Crescent City. The first was The Lucky One.

 The Best of Me opens in theaters October 17.

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