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The Last Song – How Liam Hemsworth was made to look stupid

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The Last Song - Liam Hemsworth
Liam Hemsworth © Touchstone

Better known in his native Australia and in the UK, where they play the soap operas he appeared in, Neighbours and Home and Away, Liam Hemsworth has taken a leap to the big screen co-starring in his first American movie, The Last Song opposite Miley Cyrus.

The film has turned out to be fortuitous to his career and personal life, as he and Cyrus are currently dating.

In the movie he plays William Blakelee, who meets a restless teenager named Ronnie (Cyrus) on the beach and who, despite her rejections, is attracted to her.

Can you tell us a little about your character, Will?

He’s charming and charismatic on the surface, but his secrets are getting in his way. He acts the part of a cheerful, popular guy, when in reality he’s not happy at all. When he meets Ronnie, he finds someone equally confused who has lost something important. As the summer goes on, they help each other grow as people. She doesn’t make it easy for him, but in the end, she’s worth it.

Did you and Miley get on right away?

The Last Song - Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus
Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus © Touchstone

Pretty much, from the first day we met, it was good. I came in and I didn’t know how big a star she really was. I’d seen the show she’s on (Hannah Montana) but I had no idea how big Miley Cyrus was. I guess that was good because I didn’t get nervous about it. We came in and we read and it was really good and she was amazing to work with.

How do you know when you’re in love versus a crush?

I think when you meet her parents, or she meets your parents, it gets a little bit more serious.

I hear you had to become certified in scuba diving for this.

We had three days to get certified, and we spent every day in a 20-foot tank in North Carolina, basically for the whole day. At the same time we’d have two or three hours in the classroom every day to learn all the rules. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be. It sounds easy – you know, just put a mask on and you go under water. But there’s a lot more to it than that.

The Last Song - Liam Hemsworth
Liam Hemsworth © Touchstone

You also had to learn to play volleyball.

When I auditioned they asked me if I could play volleyball and I said, ‘No, but I could learn.’ The volleyball coach was a really good player; I think he played in the Olympics. We played twice a week, two hours at a time, and that was the longest two hours of my life. Hallock Beals (who plays Will’s friend Scott Thomas)  and I were basically saying nothing for that two hours except for yup, okay, uh huh, and the coach would just tell us how bad we were. It was excruciating!

Volleyball takes a lot of skills, I guess, to play that game and I didn’t have them at all. And I turned to Julie Anne (Robinson, the director) and said, ‘I think we’re going to need a double because I can’t do it’.

It’s hard to find someone as big as me. But, I got better. We had days where it was just us and we were playing pretty good against extras who hadn’t played before (he laughs), so we looked pretty good against them. But we had a day where we had 300 extras there watching us play against professional volleyball players, and they made us look stupid.

I’d throw a spike down expecting it to hit the sand and I’d turn around to high five my buddy and looked back and the ball’s coming back!