James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan play the latest pair of star-crossed lovers created by novelist Nicholas Sparks in The Best of Me.

‘The Best Of Me’ Interview

The Best of Me tells the story of Dawson and Amanda, a pair of 40somethings who had fallen for one another two decades ago. Circumstances drove them apart, but when they’re pulled back together, the old feelings quickly come back and they have to grapple with the consequences of following their hearts. Both Marsden and Monaghan can relate to the idea of never truly forgetting your first love – though neither regrets the early relationship not working out.

“I think everyone can understand, look back and remember your first love. No one ever really forgets that person,” Marsden told uInterview exclusively. “It’s part of your life how you grow, learn about yourself and what you want. I think anybody whose ever wondered what it would be like if you stayed with that person, which is pretty much everyone, is going to understand what these two characters are going through in this film.”

Monaghan added, “You remember, you can relate to those butterflies that you feel for the first time. That racing heart and all those emotions that you attribute to that first experience. We were able to draw upon that.”

Since their characters in their 20s were played by different actors, it was important for Marsden and Monaghan to develop a rapport with them and to discuss the essence of the people they were portraying. Marsden and Luke Bracey focused more on who Dawson is, while Monaghan noted that collaborating on mannerisms for Amanda was part of her process with Liana Liberato.

“There were more discussions about who this guy was, where he comes from, how would he react in these situations. It was more getting on the same page of who the character and less about looking and sounding the same,” Marsden revealed.

“We really tried to figure out certain mannerisms or characteristics that we might be able to carry over into the different time periods,” Monaghan told uInterview. “Their chemistry was so fantastic. They both brought these characters to life so beautifully. It really inspired us in terms of what we needed to do to get back to the essence of our younger selves.”

Check Out uInterview’s Exclusive Interview With Nicholas Sparks

The Best of Me might be the Nicholas Sparks film that Marsden is starring in, but he played a supporting character in the massively popular The Notebook. Marsden admits he’s drawn to the old school love story narratives of Sparks’ books and movies. “It’s just his sort of unabashed boldness with treating human emotion and dealing with these sort of classic love stories,” Marsden admitted. “There is a sort of great [Frank] Capra-esque, old fashioned feeling to making a movie like this. I feel this is something not lost on Nicholas and you see that element in most of his movies.”

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