It’s relatively difficult to learn something about a person during a 20-minute phone interview. One would expect an even greater challenge when the interviewee is a 22 year-old actor who went from little-known child star to blockbuster headliner to serious leading man in only a matter of years. Logan Lerman, however, proved to be pretty straightforward (albeit a bit shy) when speaking about his latest feature (the World War II drama “Fury”), his interests outside the industry and his oh-so bright future. He’s an actor who’s down for anything.
Outside of it all, Lerman is a just a young man who chose to skip out on college for his best opportunity, something he spoke candidly and proudly about. “I made my choice really before applying. I just felt the pressure from my family to apply. Literally on the last day to send your applications out I sent out like two applications and I don’t even recall caring to read whether or not I was accepted. My passion was always film and I always wanted to learn on set and learn from the department heads.”
He discussed his extracurriculars too: his taste in music, in which he gave a shoutout to the now-defunct rock band The Virgins and their undervalued 2013 album “Strike Gently,” his obsession with TV and getting caught up in the “True Detective” hype as well as some of the personal things he brought on to the “Fury” set.
He spoke about two major things he brought onto set when making “Fury”: a Hemingway novel and a willingness to get beat up while prepping for the role of a soldier. “I would read ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ throughout the day. It’s the one book I had and I would just be reading it constantly on set in between takes.”
Lerman’s taste in literature also complemented his character and made its way into the script. “It was a book I had in mind. I believe I talked to David about it too and just wanted to say, ‘Yeah this is why the one thing he could bring with him was going to be a book.’ It was incorporated in the film. I’m not sure if it ended up in the final cut, but that and his watch were his two prized positions.”
About the physical challenged he faces on set, Lerman said, “It’s embarrassing when you got four other guys in your tank crew and some of them are two times your age and they are just kicking my ass physically. Just running laps on me. So, I’m not really a fat guy, but I’m out of shape man. It’s not good.”
It’s hard to image “Fury” ever happening without considering “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” a film that managed to push Lerman into a new, dangerous territory: the heartthrob territory. Nevertheless, he expressed his feelings about this label in a hilariously muted sort of way. “I have no idea man. I don’t know. I really don’t think about that at all. The only thing that’s really on my mind is wanting to make good movies and not be repetitive in terms of the characters that I play.”
While his filmography is clearly diverse, with a series of back and forths between studio and indie, Lerman maintains a level of indifference to the size, instead focusing on another factor when looking at prospective projects. “The films I like to make are ones that are honest to the director’s vision. I’ve definitely been a part of films that have been made to be marketed. They are almost products in a way. It’s a bunch of executives and people trying to make a product. Whether it’s a big film or a small film, or a studio film or an independent film, it’s really about having the freedom to explore and create something interesting and honest.”
Funnily enough, he refused to speak directly about the directors he’d like to work with. “I feel like such a dick because I’m not giving such a specific answer, but there’s so many. There’s a long list of filmmakers that I’m sure we can all agree are fantastic, that I’d die to work with. To name them though, I’d feel like an asshole — like Scorsese and shit like that.”
None of this comes off as disingenuous, indecisive or flat though. Lerman really seems overwhelmed by his possibilities and is passionate and serious about everything coming his way. Is he willing to work on a TV project? “It’s something I’m totally considering.” Is there a particular genre he wants to try out? “I don’t know. I hate to say it, but I’m not a fan of any particular genre. I love all genres of movies.” Again, he’s truly up for anything.
What he’s doing now, fresh off his “Fury” duties, is another story. “I’m just enjoying the time off and reading a lot. I read. I travel. I enjoy life a little bit. Gain some experience. Soak in the world and meet people. Do things and not sit at home and wait for the next job.”
There you have it.