Dear John - Amanda Seyfried
Savannah Curtis (Amanda Seyfried) © Screen Gems
Dear John - Amanda Seyfried
Savannah Curtis (Amanda Seyfried) © Screen Gems

It’s time for another movie based on a Nicholas Sparks’ novel – you all know what that means – bring the Kleenex! Dear John stars Channing Tatum as a soft-spoken Special Forces soldier visiting his father in South Carolina while on leave.

Amanda Seyfried co-stars as Savannah Curtis, an idealistic college student from a wealthy Southern family, home for spring break. John and Savannah meet at the beach and are immediately attracted to each other, but his constant deployments overseas and Savannah’s changing life back home increases the tension between them as they struggle to keep their relationship alive.

Amanda Seyfried, whose movie Mamma Mia! has grossed over $500,000,000 internationally, also stars on TV’s Big Love, as Sarah, the oldest teenage daughter of Bill (Bill Paxton), a polygamist.  Dear John, directed by Lasse Hallstrom, is her first venture into the world of romantic dramas.

Lasse said he met you around the premiere of Mamma Mia. Was that the first time you talked about this movie?

Dear John - Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried
John Tyree (Channing Tatum) and Savannah Curtis (Amanda Seyfried) © Screen Gems

Yes, we had lunch at the Grand Hotel in Stockholm and he’s charming, quiet and Swedish and I think that’s where our love affair began. We had a good time, we connected and he wanted me to do it. I had to fight for it after because even though a director wants you, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to necessarily play the role.

So it wasn’t easy getting the part?

I had to do the chemistry read (with Channing) and come back because they still weren’t sure, and we did some readings of some extra scenes. Then it was a done deal.

Did you find it difficult slipping into melodrama?

No. The funny thing is I’ve always been subtle to a fault. I like to be more thoughtful. I’ve always found that some of the words in some of the scripts just kind of get in the way depending upon how things are written. This was a really good script. It was written well but I didn’t feel like that was an issue. Lasse is very thoughtful and wants it to be realistic.

I wasn’t really scared about slipping into melodrama too much. I think the moments where it is kind of overly-sentimental are okay.

Dear John - Braeden Reed, Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried
6 Years Old Alan (Braeden Reed), John Tyree (Channing Tatum) and Savannah Curtis (Amanda Seyfried) © Screen Gems

How do you see your character in this film?

I saw her as a girl who actually knows herself pretty well, she’s very wealthy yet she doesn’t put on any airs. She cool, she’s special; she’s really smart and strong. She’s a good role model I think for young women and I think that’s why she was written that way. I was excited because, in the beginning of the movie you see this girl who is so clean of any issues really.

There’s nothing weighing her down in her life and that’s so nice to play. Then you have this turn and you can see someone who is so levelheaded, balanced and open-hearted go through something so devastating. That was more the challenge.

It’s funny because it’s really hard to play characters that have deep-rooted issues, because I can’t connect to that. It was nice to play someone that I know and can relate to in some way or another and have her go through this transformation; this situation that changed her forever.

Dear John - Amanda Seyfried
Savannah Curtis (Amanda Seyfried) © Screen Gems

Could you ever personally break up with someone on an e-mail or in a letter?

No I couldn’t. I’m thinking back on my relationships and those relationships weren’t the type of relationships where you can just do that. I think it’s kind of cowardly. Yeah, maybe she could have called but I know what it’s like. If you’re in love with somebody, you don’t want it to end but it has to. Hearing somebody’s voice, it’s something that could have completely just broken her down.

What about the chemistry between you and Channing? Was that hard to achieve?

No it was just there. I think it came from the respect that we had for each other; the fact that we’re almost the same type of actor. I don’t want to say that but on set we both don’t take things too seriously. We like to have as much fun as we possibly can. It’s such a serious film that, as soon as the cameras stopped rolling, we were just fooling around and making trouble.

Dear John - Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried
John Tyree (Channing Tatum) and Savannah Curtis (Amanda Seyfried) © Screen Gems

When you are acting the love scenes, did it make it weird that Jenna (Dewan, Channing’s wife) was there and your boyfriend (Dominic Cooper)?

Hell no. It was easier. We’re all actors and we know what’s going on. We’re not going to go home thinking about our co-star. It is a cliche for people to fall in love on set. Jenna did with Chan and I did with Dominic, well, after the fact, yeah, messy. But it’s funny, you meet somebody and you just click and look how far these relationships have gone.

I think because we’re all actors it was much easier for our significant others to deal with the fact that we’re playing a love story. And, the fact that the love plays so well on screen that you really believe it.

Are you a fan of Nicholas Sparks and have you seen the others like The Notebook?

Yeah, The Notebook blew my mind. I think it blew a lot of people’s minds. It feels so good to watch two people fall in love and be in love that passionately. And it feels even better to play it and to give that to somebody, because I love to go see movies and love stories always inspire me in my life, whether I’m in love or I’m not in love.

It’s just a really positive feeling when you want two people to find each other. I like to go a step further and play it.


Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.