At the age of 18, Logan Lerman has already established himself as one of Hollywood’s most promising young actors, with roles in such high-profile films as 3:10 To Yuma, The Number 23, the video game thriller Gamer and My One and Only, in which he plays a young George Hamilton.
Lerman’s latest project is Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. Based on the best-selling young adult novel by Rick Riordan, it recounts the adventures of a high school slacker who discovers that he is actually the half-human son of a Greek god. While coming to grips with his Olympian heritage, Percy also has fend off monster attacks as well as the theft of Zeus’s lightning bolt, for which he’s become the prime suspect.
The actor recently spoke to Film Review Online about the possible film franchise, as well as the possibility of becoming the next Harry Potter…
Do you feel you’re getting some real momentum as an actor, with recent films such as My One and Only, Gamer and now Percy Jackson?
Of course. Besides the fact that I want to be in good movies and have a respectable career, it’s still a business, so you still have to know what the right move is, at the right time, and what movie is part of that momentum. So yes, you do kind of ride the wave sometimes.
Is there a danger in making the jump from being a good actor trying to learn his craft to suddenly becoming a star?
The truth is, what I’ve found is that most of the projects I really want to do even now, won’t get made. They won’t make them, because maybe there’s no insurance that it’s going to do well, or a Brad Pitt to star in them. The truth is, you have to do these big films so that you can do the films you want to do in the end.
It’s not that I’m out there looking for bigger films so I can also do the films I want, but it’s also a matter of waiting for the right ones to come along. I just want to do the best movies possible and be respected and not settle for doing some really bad film for no reason or maybe just for the celebrity. I would never do that, but with ‘Percy,’ this movie came along and it just happens to be a movie that they’re spending a hundred million dollars to make and it’s going to be a huge blockbuster.
But what attracted me to it was Chris Columbus and working with a really good director. He’s someone I really respect. I love his movies; they’re all really entertaining, so I just wanted to be a part of that and collaborate with him. It’s also a good step for me, and I’m very fortunate that it came along at this time. Let’s say that it didn’t come up; let’s say that it was Dragonball Z that was offered to me; I wouldn’t do it, so it’s not about how big the movie seems to be; it’s about how good it is, or how good I think it’s going to be.
Percy Jackson is a very physical role isn’t it?
Oh my God, I’ve never done anything like this! They told me that they never saw anybody work that hard. The stunt coordinator and those guys said they had never put the star of a movie through anything like that before, and they haven’t seen anything like it since, say, Tom Cruise on Mission Impossible or some crazy thing like that.
The truth is, you’ve got to put a lot of effort into it, and I put in a lot of effort. There was months of training; training while we were shooting and doing things where you say, ‘Okay, I can’t think about it; I just have to do it!’ When you’re going to be flying 60 feet in the air and you have to grab onto a statue and try to climb it, pretty much without any real insurance that you’re being held or anything like that. It’s nuts, but you just do it.
This past last year has been a big lesson in green screen acting, hasn’t it?
There has been a good amount of it. A lot of times it wasn’t even a tennis ball but more of a ‘Look over there, and then we’re going to add a hydra there blowing fire at you, or trying to kill you, so you run and whatever you do, we’ll shape it to that!’ I thought that was awesome, to have that much freedom. That was an interesting experience, so doing that movie was really fulfilling.
With Gamer, I only worked on it for like a week and a half, maybe two weeks, so Gerard [Butler] shot what he shot and then I’d see the clip of that scene. I would be in a big green room on a stage, playing off what I saw on the tape and making it all fit well when it was cut together. I tried to imagine the environment that I was seeing there and trying to control it with my hands if I could and that worked really well, so it was an interesting experience. That was a little more difficult to imagine than ‘Percy,’ because they actually built most of it. They built part of the Metropolitan Museum and they actually built a replica of the Parthenon in Nashville.
Is your career now heading in a direction you want it to go?
It all depends on the way that people receive the movies I’ve done, if they like My One and Only or if they like Gamer and if Percy Jackson is a big success and they like me in it and they didn’t find me annoying, so I guess it all depends on that. We’ll just have to see if people appreciate those movies. It’s been a lot of hard work, so it is going exactly where I’d like it to go so far, but I guess it all depends on whether or not people like what they see.