Stuart Townsend revealed how he researched Ken Wilber to play the philosopher and author in the film adaption of Grace and Grit in his new uInterview.

The movie is based on Wilber’s book of the same name, which chronicles the story of his relationship with a woman with terminal cancer.

Townsend admitted that he hadn’t known much about Wilber before being cast in the romantic film. “I’d read one book,” Townsend told uInterview’s Erik Meers, “his integral life theory and I found it quite intellectual, quite heady. And so when I got offered this you know I just read the script and I just thought, ‘Oh my this is such a beautiful love story. And nine days later we shot. So in those nine days I disappeared. I went to the supermarket bought a load of food and locked myself at home literally for nine days I didn’t go out. And I read Grace and Grit, and I loved the script, but when I read the book, which really fleshes the script out it just blew me away and I suddenly felt really honored to even be telling, you know, even be part of this.”

“I did a lot of research on Ken,” he said, “watching YouTube videos just sort of seeing how he talks and his intonations, but it was difficult because there’s no real video or pictorial, very little of him when he was that age when the events when this relationship took place. And I was also watching someone giving talks, which is different … So I realized at a certain point I have to let Ken go I’m never going to do a pitch-perfect Ken. I have to make this up, and that’s part of being an actor. So at the end of the day, it was more about staying true to the actual script and really listen to [director] Sebastian [Siegel] who was very close to Ken.”

Townsend stars opposite Mena Suvari, who plays Wilber’s wife.

“Sebastian shot quite chronologically. So when we met, Mena and I, we didn’t have any rehearsal time, so we met as Ken and Treya met. And you know I think our journey as actors grew as we told the story. So by the end of the movie, we shot the last scene … I’ve never had a scene like that as an actor.”

So, what does Townsend hope audiences take away from the movie?

“That love is eternal,” he said, “and that love is not some simple, you know, walk off into the sunset everything is going to be great. Real love is about getting your heartbroken and broken, but continuing on because you’ll go through hell with that person.”

Grit And Grace is available on-demand now.

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