Logan Lerman recalls going through the grinder of grueling 'Fury' shoot
Lerman has been carving an interesting path for himself ever since he started in this business as a young boy. He debuted alongside Mel Gibson in 2000's "The Patriot," though most probably sat up and took notice in TV's "Jack & Bobby" or James Mangold's "3:10 to Yuma" remake. He's dabbled in franchise ("Percy Jackson") and sparked on the indie scene ("The Perks of Being a Wallflower"). This year he's in a pair of epic productions from Ayer and Darren Aronofsky ("Noah").
In "Fury," his character is very much the eyes through which the audience experiences the world of the film and he's a great anchor throughout. In "Noah," meanwhile, he's paired with Russell Crowe again after working with him in "3:10." He's continuing to make his mark and work through projects that interest him, and I'm sure we'll be hearing about him for a lifetime.
Read through our back and forth below as we discuss the physically grueling challenges of making the movie, growing up in the business and ambitions beyond acting.
"Fury" is now playing at a theater near you.
HitFix: When you look at a movie like this, it seems like the sort of thing that really puts the actors through the grinder. So I just want to ask what the physical experience was like on this one.
Logan Lerman: It was intense. It was extremely difficult. I can't say it was a good time but it was a creatively fulfilling time. I think at the end of the day we all felt like we left everything on the table.
Yeah, David Ayer is sort of known for putting his actors through some sort of physically demanding stuff.
Yeah, yeah. He's got a reputation.
How did he strike you as a director?
He likes to play psychological games with his actors and really work them and put them through an experience that he cleverly crafts himself. It's quite a different experience working with a director like him.
How did you respond to it? Was it hard for you, I guess, is the question. Would you like to work that way again given the results?
I knew what the movie was and I told him I would commit a hundred percent to his process and I'm his for the whole year. So I'm down to do anything he wanted me to do, anyplace he wanted me to go. And I was ready to do it. I was committed. And so I knew what I was getting myself into. It was meant to be challenging. It wasn't meant — if I was living in Norman's shoes for the year then, you know, I was expecting it to be uncomfortable.
How about developing the camaraderie between you guys in the tank. Obviously your character develops a bit of a relationship with Brad's character throughout.
But how do you maintain that or keep that established when the cameras aren't rolling?
You know, actually there was a lot of tension between our characters. There's a lot of conflict and we actually did not talk. When we started working we did not talk at all. We kept our distance from each other. We'd go through times where we wouldn't speak to each other for a week, you know? We would only do our work together, and then we'd butt heads.
Was that by design? Is that something David wanted or is that something you guys kind of...
We just did. I mean when I was on the set yeah, I just chose not to communicate with [Brad].
Yeah. And it's interesting they shot this on 35. You might expect digital. But it achieved a gorgeous look. What did you think about that when you finally saw a cut?
I remember the conversation in pre-production, you know, whether or not we should shoot this on film or do it digitally. And of course, a lot of people push for the digital side of filmmaking because it's cheaper and it's easier. There's more of it. It's just a little card and it's easier to do. So I really vocalized my opinion and said, "Hey, we should do this on film." And so did the DP and, like, [producer] John Lesher and people like that, really fought for this to be on film. And I thought it was a fundamental choice that would make or break the movie, really. So I was really glad that they did it on film. I don't think it would work digitally.
So you have pretty strong feelings about film versus digital in general?
No not for everything. It's just this time period, you know, for a World War II film, it works for the aesthetic to be on film. I don't think a World War II movie like this would work if it was shot in a digital format.
And you've been working in this business since you were a little kid.
It's been a long time.
I'm curious how have things developed or evolved for you in terms of what you want to do versus what you don't want to do.
For me I'm fortunate to be in a position where I can be a little bit picky, and part of what I want to do, really — I mean, the main goal is just to consistently work with good filmmakers and challenge myself with different, difficult roles, and roles that aren't repetitive. Right now I'm reading a lot and being very specific in terms of finding the material that I want to do and finding the filmmakers I want to work with.
And since you mention it, you're in Darren Aronofsky's "Noah" this year as well.
Oh, yeah. Yeah.
Tell me about that experience. That's another one that seemed like might have been a bit of a physical chore.
That was a difficult movie for different reasons. It wasn't really physically demanding, actually. It wasn't too bad. It was just a little cold at times. But I think my challenge of making that film was working with an accent and working with a language that I wasn't comfortable with, which was interesting. And I had a great time working with Aronofsky, who is, you know, one of the great filmmakers out there. It was a great experience.
How do Darren and David compare for you after working with them back to back?
They were very different. They were very different. But they're similar in the sense that they are decisive filmmakers who have a great knowledge of their world that they're working in, you know? And they're able to be great leaders.
What's next for you do you know?
You know, I'm just figuring it out right now. I took most of the year off and I think I know what I'm going to be doing. I've been working on something but I'm not positive if it's happening yet so I can't really say.
You've got to keep it down low.
Yeah, you know, I'm cautiously optimistic until the contracts are signed and stuff like that.
Sure. Well do you want to keep it with acting or do you want to stretch out at any point? Do you want to write? Do you want to direct?
I don't know. I mean I have those ambitions but I'm not sure when or if I'll do them, if I'll actually execute them. Who knows? At the moment I'm very passionate about acting and we'll see.
Great. Well good work on this one and good luck as it goes out into the theaters.
Thank you very much. Nice talking to you.
You too. Bye.