Zac: For me, it was just another audition. The film was expected to be a hit because of the big-name backing, so it was a little more nerve-wracking than some. Getting the callback was awesome. Gina took the time to actually interview me, and she asked questions I wasn’t really expecting.
Gina: When you audition almost 100 people, you don’t spend a lot of time with each one. So it was only when we asked Zac for a call-back that I really got a feel for him. I sensed that familiar hunger that so many actors have. Heck, I wanted my actors to have that hunger. I had no idea at the time that it was something much deeper…
What drew you to him/her?
Zac: Gina is very different on set than she is off. Getting to know her at her own home, with her family, she let her guard down. I fell for her then, although I was still too lost in myself to realize it.
Gina: Working in Hollywood, there’s a lot of fake personas that I don’t have much interest in getting close to. But there was something about Zac that was genuine…at a professional level, I recognized it right away; it’s why I argued with the producer over who to cast in the lead part. I just didn’t know what it would come to mean on a personal level…
Bonus Read (this does not appear in the book!): The Audition/Interview That Started it All
“What interests you most about the character of Aaron Bricewick?” Gina said.
The question wasn’t what Zac expected. Usually directors wanted to talk about past parts, experience, what he liked (or didn’t like) about those parts…
He decided to go with an honest answer. “My best friend recently came back from Iraq. He did two tours there. He wasn’t injured, at least not physically. But there’s something different about him. I thought perhaps playing this part might help me understand what he’s going through.”
Something flickered in Gina’s chocolate-brown eyes. “Is there a particular scene that really resonates with you?” she said.
Zac didn’t hesitate. “The beach scene.”
Gina cocked her head. He expected her to follow up on that question, but instead she said, “Why did you choose to be an actor?”
She met his gaze straight-on, and damned if he didn’t get the impression she was legitimately interested. “When I’m acting, I’m living someone else’s life,” he said without thinking.
“Is there something wrong with yours?” Her eyes bored into his.
Zac hesitated; he hadn’t meant to let that slip. “I think everyone has had times in their life when they wish they were someone else. Haven’t you?”
A ghost of a smile crossed her features, a silent touche. “Why don’t you give us a few minutes, Zac.”