Logan Lerman Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief Interview

Logan Lerman Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief Interview
Cast: Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan, Steve Coogan, Rosario Dawson, Catherine Keener, Kevin McKidd, Joe Pantoliano, Uma Thurman, Ray Winstone
Director: Chris Columbus

Synopsis:It's the 21st century, but the gods of Mount Olympus and assorted monsters have walked out of the pages of high school student Percy Jackson's Greek mythology texts and into his life. And they're not happy: Zeus' lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Even more troubling is the sudden disappearance of Percy's mother. As Percy adapts to his newly discovered status as a demi-god (his father is Poseidon), he finds himself caught between the battling titans of Mt. Olympus. He and his friends embark on a cross-country adventure to catch the true lightning thief, save Percy's mom, and unravel a mystery more powerful than the gods themselves.
Twentieth Century Fox

Logan Lerman Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief Interview

Question: We got rave reviews from the director. He mentioned that you're like the next Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert Deniro and Marlon Brando.

Logan Lerman: That's very nice of him to say that, thank you very much. (Laughter)

Question: What was it like working with him as a director?

Logan Lerman: He has to be the most collaborative director I've ever worked with. He really makes you feel like it's your movie too. Cause a lot of the time, when you're working on a film, you are just the puppet, the director's vision. You go out there, do your job and you give them your options so they can piece it together. In a way you're the paint to the painter. Chris really makes it feel like you are a big part of the film, and that it's your film too. Which makes it such a fulfilling experience.

Question: What attracted you to this role?

Logan Lerman: Well, the first thing that really attracted me to this movie was when I received the script. Right below the title on the cover page it said Chris Columbus. I just really wanted to be a part of another Chris Columbus classic, his movies shaped my childhood. And I really just wanted to bring back the feeling of his films to the modern day. He hasn't made a film like this in so long. Since Harry Potter, so I'm just so honoured to be here.

Question: Which of his movies influenced you?

Logan Lerman: Oh, everything from The Goonies, to Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, the first two Harry Potter films. I could name his whole resume. His movies are unbelievable.

Question: When you were in third grade and learning your history lessons about Greece, do you remember if you were fascinated by the gods at that time?

Logan Lerman: Yeah, I had an interest in Greek mythology, but I didn't carry on learning after the 8th grade. But being a part of this film really was a great excuse to brush up on my knowledge and learn a little bit more about the relationships between a lot of the gods and see how the movie parallels original Greek myths bringing it to the modern day. And this movie really inspired me to learn a little bit more and really further my knowledge. I think a lot of people will respark their interest in Greek mythology when they see this movie.

Question: And can you tell me what you learned from Russell Crowe in 310 & Yuma? There seemed to be a close friendship like in the story.

Logan Lerman: You know, I have to say, when I was a little bit younger, about four years ago (laughs), I did a movie called The Number 23 with Jim Carrey. That was really my opportunity to be an observer, and kind of see how one of my favourite actors embodies a role, handles the set, and gets a comfort level to where he can perform. And I kind of based every role and set that I've gone to since then, on how he approaches his roles. It's kind of how I developed my style I guess. So by the time I did 310 to Yuma, I was just more focused on doing my own thing, being in my mindset, but I did appreciate the value of being around an actor with so much talent. It's just, acting to me is like a kid walking into a playground, the better the actor, the bigger the playground you have. Being able to work with Russell Crowe and great actors like him is like walking into the biggest playground possible. And you just have so much room for discovery just playing and around having a good time in a scene.

Question: Your career is getting bigger and faster, do you somehow feel like a little demigod yourself right now, almost feeling unstoppable?

Logan Lerman: No, I just feel very fortunate to be able to work. The celebrities to me, the people that are glorified in my eyes are the filmmakers. Being able to work with people like Chris Columbus and all the directors I've work with recently, has been an honour. I guess, in that sense, it really makes me feel like I'm on top of the world. But I don't think I'm really getting any kind of ego. It's just really exciting to be in the movies that I look up to.

Question: So what do you do next? Are you going to take a break? A vacation? Or are you going to use the good times that you're in right now to jump in the next project right away?

Logan Lerman: I think I'm going to jump into the next project right away. I've been absorbed in Percy for like the past year, it's taken up pretty much all my time. And I've put 100% effort into it, so I'm just ready to sink my teeth into something new. I'm looking at a few projects, but nothing's signed yet.

Question: Jim Carrey, have you ever spoken to him about how much he influenced you?

Logan Lerman: I haven't spoken to him since, I've always wondered if he knew he'd had such an impact on me. We all have one experience that shapes us and sets us in a forward motion helping us grow.

Question: How much did you know about 12-year-old Percy Jackson before you read the script?

Logan Lerman: I knew nothing about it, actually. I discovered the books through the script first. I mean, I was handed the script with no knowledge of any of the books, or that it was a series. And I remember I asked my little cousin if he knew anything about the series. He said everybody is obsessed with it, (laughter) and you have to do it. That combined with my excitement for the script, the book and wanting to work with Chris Columbus, it was a sealed deal, I had to do it.

Question: Do you have any favourite demigod in Greek mythology?

Logan Lerman: I do.

Question: Who?

Logan Lerman: Perseus. Mainly because of how the myths are transferred into this story, specifically Medusa. Perseus battles Medusa in this film. I just thought it was so clever and I'm just a big fan, ever since.

Question: And did you sign a contract to be in the sequel?

Logan Lerman: Yes, I'm signed on for three. But I'd love to make the whole series. I'd just hope enough people see it so we can make them all.

Question: You went to the Avatar premiere.

Logan Lerman: I was so honoured to be there. It was a crazy experience, to be sitting in a room with like Michael Bay, Jim Cameron, all the filmmakers that I respect so much, and being part of that group was just the biggest honour. My best friend and I had our jaws hanging, we were in awe.

Question: As a young rising star, what would be the perks that go along with that role? Did you have to ask to get that invitation? Did it come automatically? What kind of perks come with your position?

Logan Lerman: You know, perks for me are exactly that. Being invited to be in a room with a people that inspire me to be in this business and being able to have conversations with them, that's got to be the biggest perk.

Question: Your character has so much to overcome in this movie, but you have come from a stable family background, have you ever had to overcome anything in your life and how did you do it?

Logan Lerman: Of course, yeah, I think it's a universal feeling for anyone. I guess for me, I was always kind of pushing the corner, because I was a film geek, but I took that and I made it my strength. I guess that was my weakness when I was very young. For Percy, it's his disabilities, his ADHD and his dyslexia but he learns how to make those his strengths. It's all about embracing yourself.

Question: Was most of the shooting made here in New York?

Logan Lerman: Oh no, we built most of the sets in Vancouver. Sear's warehouse turned stage. Yeah, it's pretty amazing how the visual effects are so perfect, that you can really create that environment and trick the eye. You don't know that we're actually on a set.

Question: Do you like that kind of process in filmmaking or do you feel disappointed about that the location?

Logan Lerman: No, No, it's just part of the job. It's just adapting to any kind of style or any environment, and making it comfortable for you, that's the hard part I guess. But working with a great director like Chris Columbus who makes you feel so comforted every time you walk on the set, it's easy to lose yourself in that environment. But of course it's much easier on the actual location because you're affected by your surroundings more.

Question: Besides acting, you love music, playing keyboards for your band Indigo?

Logan Lerman: Oh that's just kind of a joke. You know, my friends and I in our free time, we would just kind of play around on the keyboard, but I'm actually pursuing composing. My dream is to kind of venture out into the filmmaking end, do everything and kind of mold my own film from scratch. Writing it, composing it, directing it, I'd love to do all that.

Question: In Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, you kind of get your ass kicked by a woman.

Logan Lerman: I do, I do.

Question: Did you have to train specifically for this role to get fit and do you work out regularly?

Logan Lerman: Oh, I never work out. (laughter) Ever. So being a part of this movie, I was really motivated to work every day and really try to build some muscles to get ready for those scenes. A lot of training is involved.

Question: Could you be more specific?

Logan Lerman: Oh yeah, there was a lot of training involved for this film. Whether it was learning how to kick box, box or martial arts, there is a whole long list. I did sword-training, scuba diving, learning all the five different rigs for flying. But as for that scene where Alex beats me up, that was the first time that I fought opposite another actor, and it was a little... awkward at first. We didn't really hit swords as hard as we would if it was a stunt man, because the trust wasn't there, plus that scene was kind of sprung upon us. We didn't really have much prep, so I just basically took a judgment call, didn't tell anybody and lied saying I was wearing padding, but I wasn't (laughs). I was like, 'Oh, you can kick me, you can hit me, you can do anything, it's fine.' It really added to that realistic quality of the scene because she was actually beating me up. (Laughter). So it was a lot of fun and turned out really well. So when you see her kicking me in the stomach, she's really kicking me.

Question: What about the water. Are you a good swimmer?

Logan Lerman: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Question: Did you have to train for it?

Logan Lerman: I did. Just learning how to center yourself for when you're at the bottom of a pool, strapped down and people are feeding you air. And right before that long 45-second shot, you have to you know when to exhale all of the air in your lungs, so you can stay at the bottom of the pool, otherwise you'll float up. Just trying to stay centered, so that you don't panic was a little difficult.

Question: How do you do that?

Logan Lerman: You get into like a Zen state. Where you don't care about how long the camera is rolling for, but you need to wait for the moment where you can just open your eyes and let all the air out.

Question: If this movie has the success that it's expected to have, your life is going to change, both your personal life and your professional life. Are you ready for that?

Logan Lerman: I'm so proud of this film that it's just the biggest compliment if people start recognising me for it. It's flattering more than anything. I put so much time and effort into this movie that recognition would be the biggest pat on the back.

Question: At the end of the movie, you can tell that Percy and Annabeth are in love, but instead of kissing, they start fighting each other... (laughter).

Logan Lerman: Well, why do we need to be predictable? Everybody thought it was coming though, right? So we have that very unexpected ending. I don't want to ruin the ending though.

Question: Is that the relationship that this couple is going to have?

Logan Lerman: I guess it's more of a Chris question (laughs), we did do both, the kiss was one ending.

Question: You shot two different endings?

Logan Lerman: Oh, yeah. We did a couple of different endings.

Question: You've been in entertainment since you were very young, do you feel like you've missed out on school friends and having a regular life?

Logan Lerman: No, I've always been able to stay under the radar. This is the first time I've ever really had to start promoting a movie and going out being in the spotlight. I've always been able to just go off for a couple of months, shoot a film, go back to school and have my regular life. My family thought it was really important to have that level of normalcy. You kind of need to keep that in order to even tap into a character, let alone be a functioning human being (laughs).

Question: Are you interested in going to University?.

Logan Lerman: Oh yeah, I'm definitely interested. It all depends on where I'm and going with my career. But I did apply to NYU actually, so maybe I'll end up in New York.

Question: Are you a senior in High School at the moment?

Logan Lerman: Yes, I am.

Question: You've wanted to be an actor since the age of 5, why? Are your family in show business? Who discovered your talent?

Logan Lerman: Ah, I'd say my mum discovered my talent. My mum kind of has nurtured me from a very young age. But really, I started because I just have a love for movies. I just always had a passion for filmmaking. I discovered I wanted to understand it more and take it seriously, as a profession when I was about 12 years old. None of my family are in filmmaking, they are all in the medical business - orthodontics and prosthetics, so braces and fake limbs, I'm kind of the black sheep.

Question: Did you go to this famous Beverly Hills High?

Logan Lerman: Yes, but it's not as great as everybody thinks it is (laughter). It's just a name, you know. It's glorified in movies and television shows, but it's not as special as people think.

Question: Chris says that Percy has this New York swagger and that you're very different, are you more like the sunny Californian boy with the good outlook on life? How are you different from Percy?

Logan Lerman: A big part of the character process, is working with Chris is preproduction, I didn't want to play myself playing Percy. You always see that in these kind of movies, the actor playing the role and then the person ends up being bigger than the film itself. I wanted to make sure that it's a character. So Chris and I would sit down for hours a week and we'd just talk about ideas, whether it was changing the hairstyle, or giving him an accent. And I gave him this Brooklyn accent, changing the way he walks or very subtle characteristics so that I could separate myself from the character. And I guess it made it more interesting to film in that sense. If I was playing myself the whole time, it would have the most boring filming experience.

Question: In the movie, Percy even calls himself a loser and he uses the sword to kind of capture the ice... or break the ice. What about you? Are you confident with the girls or more shy?

Logan Lerman: I'm a little more on the shy side, I have to say. I'm the king of making awkward conversations possible. (Laughter). I'm not as smooth as Percy.

Question: Your best weapon to break the ice?

Logan Lerman: I'd say I don't have a weapon to break the ice, I just make the ice thicker. (Laughter).

Question: Why do we find that hard to believe?

Logan Lerman: It's kind of new to me, but people are starting to recognise me a little bit more.

Question: What do you look for in a partner then?

Logan Lerman: Just similarities in personality that are compatible with me. You know, someone who's a movie fan has to be the key trait that I look for.

Question: What was the relationship with your co-star like on the set? Did you hang out? Any chemistry between you?

Logan Lerman: Yeah, we were spending every day together, so that we could have that natural chemistry on a screen, so we all ended up becoming close friends. We all would hang out all the time, off set. We were a little family.

Question: This movie talks about an absentee father, what is you relationship with your father?

Logan Lerman: My father and I are so close. So I can't really relate to Percy in that sense. My dad and I are like best friends.

Question: And how is it working with Pierce Brosnan?

Logan Lerman: Unbelievable. He's just one of the most professional actors, gracious and just so talented. Going into a scene with an actor like Pierce Brosnan there are so many possibilities and a lot of freedom.

Question: You have worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, now it's your turn to carry a film, what did you learn from some of them that you can apply to your experience this time?

Logan Lerman: Yeah, it's a team effort. You're not only doing things for yourself, but you're doing things for other people. So building comfort on set for everyone is the key. I like to embarrass myself a lot so everyone else can feel comfortable. I do Ian McKellen impressions all day, just yelling all the time so everyone else won't feel the need to embarrass themselves.

by Jenny Cooney


(Percy Jackson) made his feature film debut playing William, Mel Gibson's youngest son, in "The Patriot," for which he shared a Young Artist Award nomination for Best Ensemble, from the non-profit Young Artist Foundation. After reuniting with Gibson (playing the actor as a young boy) in the hit comedy, "What Women Want," Lerman co-starred in Penny Marshall's "Riding in Cars With Boys."

That performance caught the attention of the producers of the CBS "Hallmark Hall of Fame" television movie "A Painted House" (based on John Grisham's novel), and they cast Lerman in the starring role, resulting in his first Young Artists Award, this time for Leading Young Actor in a TV Movie/Miniseries/Special. He next returned to the big screen, winning critical acclaim opposite Ashton Kutcher, in "The Butterfly Effect."

He followed this triumph with his television series debut as Bobby McCallister, a bright young boy with a big heart who desperately tries to keep the peace between his mother and his older brother Jack, in The WB's critically-acclaimed series, "Jack & Bobby." For his performance in the short-lived drama, Lerman won his second Young Artist Award as Leading Young Actor/TV Series.

He returned to the big screen, winning a fourth Young Artists nomination for his starring role in "Hoot," the film adaptation of Carl Hiaasen's long-running New York Times children's bestseller. Lerman next co-starred opposite Jim Carrey and Virginia Madsen in Joel Schumacher's thriller "The Number 23" before sharing the screen with two of the industry's most respected performers, Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, in James Mangold's well-received remake of the 1957 western, "3:10 to Yuma." For his work in the film, Logan was part of the cast ensemble nomination for the prestigious SAG Award? while also collecting his fifth Young Artists nod.

More recently, he has graced the movie screen with performances in "Bill" with Aaron Eckhart, Jessica Alba and Elizabeth Banks, and starred in two diverse projects -- the period comedy "My One and Only" with Renee Zellweger, Chris Noth and Kevin Bacon, and the sci-fi thriller "Gamer," alongside Gerard Butler.

Born and raised in Beverly Hills, California (where he still resides with his family), Lerman's desire to act was ignited after seeing a Jackie Chan movie at age 2 1/2. After announcing to his mother that he was going to be an actor, the toddler soon landed an agent and booked two commercials back-to-back, earning his SAG card in the process.


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