“I’m not good at this,” said actress Taylor Schilling, scooting onto her knees. “This is my first press junket.”
In town to promote “The Lucky One,” the romantic drama co-starring Zac Efron that opens in theaters Friday, Schilling was scheduled for a number of interviews. Before ours began, we agreed that the sterile hotel conference room we’d been assigned seemed more suitable for an autopsy or an IRS audit, so we moved into the lobby.
“I’d rather just sit and talk,” she said. “I hope that doesn’t sound too cheesy.”
(Not at all! Schilling couldn’t have been more charming.)
In the movie, based on the Nicholas Sparks book, Schilling’s character is bold and headstrong, fiercely loyal to her son and grandmother and passionate about the animals she cares for in her job as a dog groomer and trainer.
“I really connected to Beth,” she said. “I was really struck by how dynamic she is. She’s a full-time working single mom trying to do the best she can, even if that means putting her own wants and needs in the back burner.”
Blythe Danner stars as Beth’s droll, wise grandmother.
“When I found out she’s playing my grandmother that was the second most thrilling day,” Schilling said, noting the first was, of course, when she got the part. “I feel honored to have her in my life.”
And the smoochy scenes with Zac? Not a bad gig, Schilling allowed.
“He’s pretty cute. He’s got such great eyes,” she said. “When I first met Zac at our screen test he made me feel so comfortable. It was like he was a friend already.”
Schilling portrayed the steely industrialist Dagny Taggart in last year’s “Atlas Shrugged: Part I,” but the movie based on Ayn Rand’s libertarian opus wasn’t exactly what you’d call a mainstream hit. She’s hoping this role will open more doors.
“I’m a pretty lucky girl,” she said.
- The Buzz/Jennifer Brettemail@example.com