Some fans of Nicholas Sparks’ books, or maybe just Zac Efron, might be surprised to see a familiar face in the recent blockbuster “The Lucky One,” as an alumna shines on screen. Louisiana native Courtney Clark graduated from LSU in 2007 with a degree in theatre performance and a minor in dance. Now, she’s working her way through Hollywood.
LSU caught up with Clark and got the scoop on her latest role:
When did you move to California?
I moved to California a little over 1 year ago in January 2011.
What have been some of your favorite projects to work on?
Well The Lucky One has been very exciting because of all the buzz surrounding it. The Director, Scott Hicks was a dream, really an “actor’s director”. We improved a lot and discussed scenes as a team (Zac, Scott and I).
Legendary was another great one. I took my time I needed before the scenes and made a lifelong friend… Devon Graye! But honestly every project I take something away from; whether it be friends, stories or lessons.
What about most challenging projects?
At the time of each project I really find them all to be challenging. Beauty and the Briefcase…it was acting with so many distractions around you, which sounds silly but can be really hard. Legendary was difficult developing a character in such a short amount of time. In The Lucky One, finding a relationship with my war torn younger brother and being a protective big sister was the most difficult aspect. Not to mention having to become emotional at the drop of a hat.
Before filming the scene in The Lucky One where Zac’s character, Logan, leaves me a video; I knew this was do or die time for me. The crew had set up a wide shot where you wouldn’t see much of my face, but when the time came to shoot I was so “there” emotionally, I asked if they could move all the equipment in for my close-up. They were kind enough to do so, and the shot you see in the movie was done in one take. It felt like a big victory for me when I left set that day.
Explain the audition for The Lucky One. Were you nervous?
I’ve learned nerves are a good thing, but also that whenever you are in an audition, its your time. Casting directors need you just as badly, so show them why you are the best choice! Originally I auditioned for one of Taylor’s friends that wants to take her out (a role that was eventually cut from the film), but the casting director made mention of Zac and I looking similar (same eyes and coloring). I hadn’t received a script yet, so I had NO idea what she was referring to until she handed me the sides. I screen tested with several kids and husbands and knew I HAD to get this role!
What did the experience of working with well-known actors teach you?
Never ever judge anyone! You may see things in a magazine or buy into gossip, but most isn’t true. Most are truly just like you and I. Zac and I shared a lot of stories and he grew up just like any of us. Same with Hilary Duff. Both of those actors are some of the kindest people I have ever met. Working with hard-working, established actors also teaches you the amount of dedication you must have, and how on top of your game you need to be in any field.
What is your dream role, or a person you’d like to work with?
Sweet girls are fun, but I love the gritty stuff. I really like roles where a character is dealing with something difficult we all can relate to but tears us apart. I also love comedy. Being goofy in a movie is such a dream to me.
As far as a person to work with: I love me some Reese Witherspoon! She is one classy lady. She knows how to have fun and transform into a role, but when you see her in interviews she isn’t afraid to be intelligent.
Do you have any upcoming projects?
I have a few opportunities coming up now, but everything is still in the works. Right now, I’m savoring each moment and helping publicize the The Lucky One!
What have you learned from Louisiana or LSU that helps you in your career?
Don’t lose your southern charm! People can find that really endearing out here, but you have to be somewhat of a Steel Magnolia: sweet but ready to fight for what you believe or want. Nobody cares more about your career than you do. Never be afraid to find contacts or get in touch with people from LSU. Most of the time they will try to help you in any way they can. And never forget where you came from, because the people back home are rooting for you the loudest!