The Toronto Sun: February 2016

'The Choice' star Teresa Palmer in love with Nicholas Sparks

The Toronto Sun   |   Written by Jim Slotek

Teresa Palmer has a raspy voice today. And there’s no comfort in the fact that, (a) raspy can be considered sexy, or (b) I’d had the same pernicious bug, was told it might last “four to six weeks,” and it did.

But the Aussie actress (Point Break, I Am Number Four) is in a surprisingly good mood to talk about her role in The Choice, the latest romance-novel-turned-movie from Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook).

In it, she plays Gabby, a medical intern in Wilmington, N.C., who’s engaged to marry a VIP doctor (Tom Welling), but is distracted by her playboy neighbour, a lowly veterinarian (Benjamin Walker).

Palmer chatted with Postmedia Network about loving Nicholas Sparks and fulfilling her dream role.

So you’re the Nicholas Sparks nut who made the cast and crew watch The Notebook?
(Laughs). Yes I am. I am obsessed with that book and that movie.

You know he’s not to all tastes, right? Some people consider him kind of soppy.
Are you a soppy guy?

Kind of. But not Nicholas Sparks soppy. My favourite romance is 500 Days of Summer.
A very good movie.

Because it rests on the notion that people can be fantastic together but not belong together. That seems more realistic to me.
Okay… but! What I love about Nicholas Sparks is he really embraces humanity. Because if you think about it, in the movie, the situation that she’s in is really messy, trying to choose between two men.

And then, the third act of the movie, I think really accurately represents what marriage is like, where you stop trying as hard, you become a little more desensitized, you start taking each other for granted.

I, as a married woman, could relate to the aspect of their life where he’s late and they’re not always showing up for each other. That’s life.

You realize you just said “lahf.” Are you still speaking Carolinian?
Well, I am from the SOUTH of Australia (Adelaide). It’s weird. My son’s like, ‘Mummy, I’d like a glayss of wot-uh.’ He was made here, born here and lives in America. But he talks like me. I tell him, ‘Don’t ever lose that.’

How proud are you that you got this particular Nicholas Sparks role instead of The Longest Ride?
Extremely proud. How did you know I auditioned for that?

I read the press notes.
(Laughs) I should too, I guess.

I do these weird things to prepare, like check the Internet.
The Internet, what is that?

It’s this new thing.
Well, I actually auditioned for Safe Haven AND I auditioned for The Longest Ride. I actually expected to get a Nicholas Sparks movie because I was so obsessed with The Notebook. And when I didn’t get those films I was like, ‘Wait a second. I’m SUPPOSED to do a Nicholas Sparks movie.’

Maybe you wanted it too much.
I know, right? But I’m so glad that this was the one I got to do, because – outside of The Notebook – it’s my favourite of his books. I am so similar to Gabby in my own life.

Do you twirl? (Gabby twirls when she’s happy)
I twirl. I dance a lot. It was like I wasn’t playing anything other than a huge part of who I am. It just felt really authentic for me to do this.

Is there a chemistry kit for people like you and Ben Walker? Were you hired first or him?
He was. In fact, there was another girl who was lined up for the role.

Here we go again.
I didn’t even know about this movie until the other actress fell out. And then I get a phone-call an hour later. And they said, ‘You need to read the script and then you’re Skype-ing with (director) Ross Katz.’ I was like, ‘What?’

And then I fall in love and I’m sobbing at the end of the script. And I go onto Skype and I’ve been crying and I’m like, ‘I need to do this movie! I’m SUPPOSED to do this film!’

And he told me about Ben, this great guy. And I met him and he has such an open energy and generosity of spirit. He’s funny and I’m a sucker for funny men. After the first hour, I was like, ‘Sold! We got this!’

And now you’ve fulfilled your dream. There’s nothing left.
Oh my God. There’s SO much more left!

(Palmer has seven more films in the can, including Triple Nine, coming out in February, in which she plays the “wahf” of cop Casey Affleck, Hacksaw Ridge with Mel Gibson, the sexual psychodrama Berlin Syndrome and the James Wan-produced horror film Lights Out).