‘The Longest Ride’: Exclusive Interview With Nicholas Sparks #LongestRide

The Longest Ride Nicholas Sparks

While on set for ‘The Longest Ride‘ , I had the opportunity to interview the man responsible for making people believe in love again. Nicholas Spark! I mean, come on! Love novels = Nicolas Sparks. If that isn’t a math equation we can all relate to…

So, here’s the thing. We started off the interview asking Nicholas about his relationship with his wife and how they keep their romance alive?

 We’re fortunate our kids are a little older now, so they’re 23 to 12, so it’s easier, probably. But even when they were younger, you just have to make time. You just have to make time.

You have to schedule time for each other as a couple. And that’s very important. SO there are portions of the day when I see my wife as an extension of, let’s say, the family. There are portions of the time when I see her like as the mom of the kids.

But there should also be time where I see her as my wife and the woman I love, feel very passionate about. And hopefully, she sees me in those three different ways too, you know.

Just part of the family, we’re at church or whatever. Or I’m the dad, right, coaching soccer. And other times, I’m the man she likes.

And what about specific romantic things that they used to do for one another??

My wife knows what I like. And so, she takes that into account. I guess that’s PG enough, right? How’s that? We’ll go here. I didn’t go Fifty Shades of Grey, though, did I?

Next up — my personal question. My favorite scenes from ‘The Longest Ride’ actually were between Ira and Ruth. Ira gets into a car accident in the book and relives his life through memories he has while waiting to be rescued. While he is coming in and out of consciousness, he speaks with his dead wife, Ruth. The scenes were very moving for me – I cried during some of these parts and I had to ask Nicholas whether or not Ruth was actually THERE or if she was just a figment of his imagination. I didn’t know if he had written her as a spirit who was there to guide his gently into the afterlife, or if she was just a memory… like all the other thoughts he was having. Here’s my specific question:

I wanted to ask about the car because she always cheated. She never told Ira anything new.

So, when I first started reading it, I was like, “This was all in his head. The visualization of his wife is not real.” But the more and more I went through it, I felt that maybe it was something more spiritual.

And I just wanted to know, when you wrote through that whole scenario, how did you feel?

Here’s Nicholas’ answer:

It was very clear to me that he was slipping in and out of consciousness, and he was just remembering his life. And if you’re alone and trapped, you know, his version was he talked. He talks to his wife. She’s very much a part of his life.

Of course, now, this is different than the film. The film, there are some modifications. And so, there is no roof in the car. Movies are different and I’m fine with that. So, what happens, essentially, is that Luke and Sophia find Ira much earlier. And they race him to the hospital.

But oh, Sophia has these letters, and begins to read one and here comes the life of Ira and Ruth–delivers them to Ira. And he can’t read. His eyes are really bad, a marvelous scene played by Alan Alda.

And he basically says, “Can you read them for me?” And so, the story of them comes alive through this letter which is very Nicholas Sparksian, so I’m very okay with that.

THE LONGEST RIDE with Scott Eastwood

Nicholas Sparks most certainly knows how to pen a book! We wanted to know how his process starts. Does he comes up with the characters first? Or a plot? Or a scene? WHAT?

Well, I cannot speak for any other writer or creator of any kind. I can only speak for myself.

Inspiration is probably not what you imagine it is. It’s teeny, teeny, tiny in the beginning. It is barely a germ. It’s a theme. It’s an image. It’s a voice. It’s a general idea of a something.

So, the initial inspiration was, let’s do a double love story, two love stories. And that’s all I had. All right, now what? And then, you kind of build in. And you say, “Okay, what kind of characters?” And then, slowly but surely, they come alive.

All comes alive in my mind. So, I kind of had the idea before I started writing, it’s Luke [played by Scott Eastwood] to be a bull rider, sorority girl, these two collect art, blah, blah, blah, 19th story, ’30s to the ’60s. First character I created with a voice was Ira, then Ruth.

And because I am semi-obsessed with Scott Eastwood (see my shrine of photos here plus read his exclusive interview), we just had to know — what was it like for Nicholas to work with Scott on his first major film??

You know, at the end, all the actors that have ever played really kind of select themselves for the role. Scott looked the part. He was comfortable with the idea of horses and bulls and all that’s stuff.

I mean, his dad, right, he’s been around it. Very enthusiastic. But mainly, he had the demeanor that we wanted. It was kind of a quieter demeanor with light humor. But he’s really enthusiastic at the same time.

Nicholas Sparks has a LOT of his books turned into movies. I mean – amazing!! Some of them film at the same time. How does he manage all of that?!

It varies. My amount of involvement varies from film to film. This one, I’m a producer, so pretty extensively involved throughout the process.

I’ve also written screenplays, very involved, obviously, early on, less involved once the filming begins. Always, I’m involved in the marketing and the end. Everything after the cameras stop rolling, I’m very involved in.

So, some of those choices, like whether I write, whether I produce, whether I just step back and sell it, comes down to a function of my time. It’s just what’s on the agenda, what are we trying to do, that kind of thing.

And just for fun – we wanted to know if Nicholas ever rode a bull. HA!

No, and it depends on the bull. A PBR bull, you kidding? We’re getting out of the gate, I’d be in the air. And he wouldn’t have to throw me. I’d be diving off it.

I mean, those are real bulls. So, I have no desire. These people, I love them. One of the great things about this film–and I know you’re writing for girls or whatever, mothers and stuff–but the partnership that Fox had with the PBR to develop this film was like nothing you’ve ever seen.

And it was necessary because people who make movies are good at making movies. And every time you see an animal in a movie, that animal is tame or trained, so they go to their spot, and so you know where to put the camera.

You don’t know where that bull is going, so how do you get Scott on the bull? How do you get the angle right? Well, guess who knows how to do that? The PBR, among other things.

So, then Fox can do things that the PBR can’t with the level of quality of the camera. It’s the most realistic stuff. These are real cowboys. They’re from the PBR.

These are the real bulls from the PBR. I mean, you can look up the bull in the PBR. The thing is ranked number three in the world right now. It’s unbelievable.

Aspiring writers!! Ever want to know how many words Nicholas writes a day?? I have the answer!!

2,000 words a day, about six hours.  Most words I’ve ever written in a day, 13,000.

AMAZING! I had such a fantastic time being on set for ‘The Longest Ride’. Truly was an incredible experience. And I even had two books autographed by Nicholas so I could give them to my mom and cousin for Christmas. Hid those for months!!!!

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* Fox invited me to visit the set of ‘The Longest Ride’ and interview the cast and crew. All opinions are my own.  

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