Liana Liberato Shows Us The Best of Herself for JJ Portraits!
The 19-year-old stunner stars in new movie The Best of Me, which is based on the novel by reigning romance author Nicholas Sparks.
The film is about a pair of former high school sweethearts who reunite after many years when they return to visit their small hometown. Liana plays the younger version of the female lead, played by Michelle Monaghan in the present day. Check it out in theaters this weekend!
Liana has previously appeared in such movies as If I Stay and Stuck in Love. She will next be seen in the family drama Dear Eleanor, set for release in 2015.
For our exclusive shoot, we dressed Liana in some stunning fall fashion including runway looks by Marc Jacobs, Carolina Herrera, Dolce&Gabbana, Tory Burch, and Tanya Taylor.
In our interview, Liana tells us how her first love relates to her character in the movie, how her parents picked out her name, and why she’s always suggesting pal Patrick Schwarzenegger for roles.
Click inside for our full interview with Liana Liberato…
Liana Liberato Interview – JustJared.com Exclusive
Just Jared: Congratulations on The Best of Me! This movie might alter the course for many young viewers. What movie did that for you as a kid?
LL: Two movies really affected me when it comes to my career… I grew up religiously watching The Sound of Music. I just recently watched it and it blew my mind because I realized exactly what it was about. It wasn’t all just music and fun. It actually had a really good story to it. More recently, I’ve been watching a lot of Michelle Williams’ work. My Week with Marilyn and Blue Valentine–those type of movies are the type of movies I want to do in my career.
JJ: Do you have a musical background?
LL: Yeah, actually! That’s kind of how I discovered acting. I was put into theater when I was three and continued until I moved out to L.A. I haven’t really done theater since, but I did musical theater and regular kind of plays, so that’s what gave me that acting bug to begin with. When I moved out to L.A. I haven’t done it since, but actually I’d love to get back to the theater.
JJ: What was your first role in a play that you remember?
LL: When I was in the local theater, they’d just bring the kids on stage. Especially when I was three, to do little musical numbers and whatnot. But, I remember being one of those pickpocketers in Oliver. I remember doing that and I remember so badly wanting the part for Oliver, but in the audition they said whoever got the part had to cut their hair and I was like, ‘No way. I’m not doing that.’ Of course, times have changed now, but back then apparently that was important to me.
JJ: How would you relate your The Best of Me character Amanda’s first love to your own first love? Was it as romantic, was it not as?
LL: I would say it was just as impacting, but I’d say that no true love is ever the same. That’s kind of something that I’ve learned. But I think that the way Amanda falls in love, she just dives in and goes full force and that’s kind of the same way I’ve loved people. I think that also puts your heart on the line a little bit because of you do get let down, you get really burned. So yeah, that’s one thing I kind of had in common with Amanda. When it comes to any situation in love, I just dive in and completely devote myself to it.
JJ: Do you remember having a favorite prop from set?
LL: I had a necklace I always wore and that was something that ended up being like a mannerism for me. It was something I instinctually went to every time my character was in some sort of stressful or strenuous situation. My mind would always go to this nervous movement of moving my necklace around all the time–more of a comfort prop for me.
JJ: Do you have a favorite moment on set?
LL: Oh god, there were so many! Honestly, when we were filming our rooftop scene, when we had to kiss in the rain, it was so kind of surreal. That was one of the first moments in which I realized the type of movie I was doing. Because you know, every Nicholas Sparks movie has to have a kiss in the rain moment. That just got me and Luke [Bracey] so excited. We’d look at each other and get all these crazy butterflies and goosebumps because we were like, “Oh my god, we’re actually doing this movie. This is crazy!”
JJ: What is the first thing that comes to mind when I mention Michelle Monaghan?
LL: The better me. I could only hope to be the type of person she is. She’s so lively and she’s got such a good head on her shoulders and she’s such a role model in my eyes. I really, really look up to her and I would love to have the same career she does. It’s kind of amazing.
JJ: James Marsden.
LL: Very, very attractive. He’s also the funniest guy. He always cracks jokes on set and I wish I could have spent more time with him and I’m kind of envious that Michelle got to spend all of her time with him. He literally makes his work look so effortless because he’s just so good on camera and as soon as they say cut, he just cracks a joke and is just a funny James Marsden.
JJ: Luke Bracey.
LL: My favorite Aussie ever. We just became so comfortable with each other on set, which you kind of have to be. He’s such a goofball and we have so much fun together. We both kind of bring out the silly side in one another. Like, we can’t be serious. When we have to do press together it’s just one big joke because we can’t take each other seriously.
JJ: Can you tell us a little about Dear, Eleanor?
LL: That’s going to be coming out around the first or second quarter of next year. It’s in the final stages of post [production]. From what I’ve seen, it’s so beautiful. It looks like a Wes Anderson film. That’s one of the first films I’ve ever done that my little nieces can watch. It’s kind of a family film, which is great because I haven’t had the opportunity to do something like that before.
JJ: Could you describe your character?
LL: Her name is Ellie Potter. She kind of went through a very rough moment in her life, especially during a time when she’s really trying to come into her own. She’s kind of at a stand still and she idolizes Eleanor Roosevelt because it reminds her of her mother. And with the help if Isabelle Fuhrman’s character Max, she’s able to rediscover her purpose in life. When you first meet her she is so lost. I don’t think she really sees much of a future when it comes to her life, so it’s through this road trip and through her best friend that she’s able to redefine herself.
JJ: Do you have a favorite prop from that set?
LL: The 1940s-like car I had to drive was a Chrysler. It was so amazing and beautiful! Sometimes it would randomly break down and the breaks wouldn’t work, but I got so connected to that car. It was the first stick shift I’d ever driven and it kind of taught me everything I needed to know about driving a stick. I freakin’ love that car. I wish I could buy it.
JJ: Can you describe your co-stars in one word? Isabelle Fuhrman.
LL: Light. She’s just a bright light.
JJ: Jessica Alba.
JJ: Josh Lucas.
LL: The best ever.
JJ: Kevin Connolly.
JJ: What was the experience like working with Kevin as a director?
LL: He is the coolest person and still remains one of my greatest friends. He is so understanding and there’s a lot of limits and boundaries when it comes to making independent films and he did such a great job at making it not feel like we were in any way limited, performance-wise or anything. He allowed us to really stretch our abilities in so many different ways. If we had some sort of suggestion about certain scenes, he’d make it so we could express ourselves and actually apply what our suggestions were, which is really great. He’s an actor so he really gets the whole process, which is really nice because sometimes it’s hard to explain yourself in certain situations and he just gets it.
JJ: Dear, Eleanor is going to be your second movie with Patrick S. Have you ever co-starred with anyone else twice before?
LL: I don’t believe so. It’s kind of become this really fun thing with Patrick. If I signed onto a film and I notice that there is a good part for Patrick, I always suggest him. I really love working with him and he’s become one of my best friends. I think that we’re going to do quite a few movies in the span of our careers together.
JJ: Random question. How did your parents name you?
LL: Actually, I was nameless for like three days. I just didn’t have a name because my parents couldn’t decide. Originally, if I were a boy, my name was going to be what my middle name is now, which is Dane. I’m kind of mad because I wish that was my name now. But, they were actually looking through a baby book and they saw my name. It means a “clinging vine or a bond” and I don’t really know why they were so drawn to that, but they thought it was a cool name and so they picked it. I honestly hated my name for a really long time, but now everyone has exotic names.
JJ: Who’s your favorite person to follow on Instagram?
LL: Let’s see. I’m looking at my Instagram right now. I follow a lot of fashion, like Valentino and Elie Saab, and they post some really cool things. I’m trying to find someone personal I like to follow… I follow a lot of musicians. I really like the 1975. They post really cool and artsy photos on their Instagram.
JJ: Final question. Do you remember who your first celebrity crush was?
LL: Jesse McCartney. Oh my gosh, he was the first concert that I ever went to. It was all for my tenth birthday and still to this day, because I haven’t redone my room in Galveston, so it’s like my 10-year-old room. Literally, when I come home and go to sleep at night, I have a Jesse McCartney poster staring at me when I sleep. It’s so creepy. And I remember going to that concert and the Jonas Brothers, they opened for him, and my sister and I were like, “Who are these boys? Who are these kids that are singing?” That was before they blew up.
PHOTO SHOOT CREDITS (PICTURES BELOW) —–
Pictures 1 and 8: Tory Burch
Pictures 2 and 5: Dolce&Gabbana
Picture 3: Carolina Herrera
Pictures 4 and 6: Marc Jacobs
Picture 7: Tanya Taylor look, Manolo Blahnik shoes