Logan Lerman has been lucky enough to be cast in star-studded movies as a youngster, rubbing shoulders with scandal-makers and Oscar winners alike. He’s been eye to eye with the likes of Mel Gibson, Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, to name a few. Now, as a man, he goes toe to toe with DA MAN in sleek high fashion attire and tells us about his filmmaking ambitions and his music. By Oliver Singer and M. Berlian
With his first big blockbuster since the success of last year’s fantasy-adventure film Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Lerman is now starring as D’Artagnan in a much-anticipated re-make of The Three Musketeers alongside the likes of Orlando Bloom, Milla Jovovich and Oscar-winning actor Christoph Waltz.
Here, he tells us about his role in the re-make of Alexandre Dumas’ classic book, his family, his passions outside of acting and how he feels “at home” in Berlin.
DA MAN: Tell us about The Three Musketeers? As a re-make, what makes this version different?
Logan Lerman: It’s a version where the musketeers are portrayed as kind of like the James Bonds of their time. They are weaponry experts and have all of these gadgets and little details; fun little things they added.
DA MAN: D’Artagnan is a very different role for you—how did you approach it?
Logan Lerman: Yes, it was a different role for me. The character is cocky and impulsive, and different from any other character I’d played, but on top of that, it was just a really physically challenging movie to make. [It involved] months and months of training and detailed fight scenes that are constantly changing throughout the process; constantly staying on your toes and being ready to try something that scares you throughout the whole process. It was intense and nerve-racking, but in the end, you get such an adrenalin rush from doing it that, at the end of each day, you’re glad that whatever you did went well and no one got hurt.
DA MAN: You grew up near Hollywood, right?
Logan Lerman: Yes, I went to school right around here. My elementary school was right around here and then Beverly Hills high school, yes.
DA MAN: Did you finish high school?
Logan Lerman: I did. When I wasn’t working, I was in school.
DA MAN: When did you start acting?
Logan Lerman: Started when I was seven. I don’t remember it. I quit for a while at 10 or something. I didn’t have a good experience and just wanted to relax and go to school. Then I only got back into it once I began developing an interest in production and the whole filming process—about each department—having an awareness for what was happening on set. Since then, it’s been about trying to understand each individual position that goes into making a film.
DA MAN: Is that what drove you back toward it—the filmmaking process?
Logan Lerman: Yes, I started to pay more attention to the actual process and learn more about the process of film and making them. Or TV. When I was 12, I was working on this show, Jack and Bobby, and that was the start of my passion for the creative process of filmmaking. I mean, I got into the business early just by chance. I tried it out and it ended up working and I didn’t develop an actual interest in film until that show.
DA MAN: What were you enamored with most?
Logan Lerman: I had no concept of editing … I didn’t understand anything; about how a camera worked or how to make films and that’s when I opened my eyes and started learning more. It’s been my life ever since.
DA MAN: Being so interested in the film process as a whole, when you read scripts, are you looking at more than just your potential role in it?
Logan Lerman: Always. Yes, always. I ask a lot of questions when finding out about new projects, and seeing which ones I want to do. Sometimes, you take risks and you do a movie because you believe in the story. But, it’s also balanced in the fact that you trust the director, you trust the DP [director of photography], or the producing team or the studio that’s putting it out there—and that you think they’re going to do a good job with it. You have to look at each little leg and see that the project will stand on its own.
DA MAN: Do you have an interest in making your own films?
Logan Lerman: I write a lot and like to come up with ideas, but I really haven’t pursued it yet. I would really love to get behind the camera and start pursuing my own films, but I’m really just not there yet.
DA MAN: I hear you’re a musician as well. Do you feel that different artistic mediums feed each other?
Logan Lerman: Yes, they’re all connected to film, so I guess that’s where it all stems from. The passion for film and then seeing all the mediums that go into it. But I guess music was one of the first things I noticed early on. I noticed how it could affect the tone, or mood of the film.
DA MAN: Being interested in so many different elements of the filming process, is it ever difficult for you to focus on one thing at a time?
Logan Lerman: If I’m acting, no, I just do what’s in front of me. I mean, it’s understanding the intention beforehand and knowing the intention and having it be instinctual and natural. But also just staying in the tone of the mood depending on the arc of the story … But when I’m not acting, yes, I lose a bit of focus, walk around set, ask a lot of questions to people in each department. [I] ask them little things about their job—probably annoying some people—but it’s a great way to learn; just asking how things work or what they do or what something might mean and you can pick up so much from being on set.
DA MAN: When you’re not on set, how do you keep yourself fresh? What do you do to feed your artistic desires?
Logan Lerman: I see a lot of films. I’m constantly talking about future ideas or new ideas and pursuing them, writing them, creating loglines for stories. But in my free time I see a lot of films; I like to play music, I’d say that may be what keeps me most creatively stimulated.
DA MAN: As a student of film, what do you think about the recent obsession with 3-D?
Logan Lerman: I don’t think it’s a bad or good thing. It’s just a new medium. Not even a new medium, really. I appreciate it when it’s used well—when it’s used intentionally.
DA MAN: Does it affect your process as an actor, the way things are filmed in 3-D?
Logan Lerman: No. As a filmmaker, though, yes—just seeing how the rigs work, it’s a very different, more precise, way of filmmaking, especially with the digital cameras they use, because you can see the playback so clearly on 3-D monitors. You can get a great read on what’s happening.
DA MAN: Which filmmakers would you most like to work with?
Logan Lerman: David Fincher, the Coen Brothers, my favorite is Paul Thomas Anderson.
DA MAN: Are there any actors you’ve looked up to?
Logan Lerman: There’re a lot of actors I respect. Jim Carrey, Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman. They’re the ones everyone loves, and for good reason, they’re fantastic actors.
DA MAN: Many actors these days are looked at as more than actors: Political voices, social leaders, etc. What’s your take on that?
Logan Lerman: I think it’s ridiculous to be seen as anything more important than I am. I feel like I’m catering to someone’s vision as an actor. I can give my input, sure, but it’s all about creating a character within the boundaries of what the director wants. Actors, they do their jobs. They do their part in the filmmaking process, so I’d rather put the director on the pedestal than an actor, you know?
DA MAN: If there was one thing you could do outside of film, what would it be?
Logan Lerman: It would be music. It would be the music industry. I’ve always had a huge passion for it, just as much as movies, actually. I love playing. I play the piano, guitar; I can also play other instruments: bass, drums, different types of guitars … ukulele, but primarily guitar.
DA MAN: Has your family always been supportive of your artistic endeavors?
Logan Lerman: Cautiously supportive, yes. They didn’t look at it as being a real job. And neither did I really. It was just a hobby that paid well and, approaching the end of high school, the conversations with my family have always been ‘you’re going to college’ … ‘you’re going to give up the acting thing, pursue something respectable.’ But I think, up until the year I graduated, once they started feeling more comfortable—and I was working—they changed their tune. They felt more comfortable with the idea of my pursuing this career. That was about a year and a half ago. And hell, I would have loved to have gone to school to learn about filmmaking, but I saw so many opportunities to get on film sets and learn about film there. And it’s an opportunity to learn about film that few get: If you open your eyes and ask questions, one can really take advantage of it and make it the best educational experience that money could never have bought.
DA MAN: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
Logan Lerman: Yes, one brother, one sister—both older. They both went to [college]. My brother studied writing, actually. He and I have always shared a passion for film and I think he wants to be writing for film in the near future. My sister runs her own jewelry line, she’s two years out of school now.
DA MAN: Do you see each other a lot?
Logan Lerman: Oh, we all live together. Everyone under one roof. It’s really cool, right now everyone’s home, actually, which is rare—everyone goes away, but we all just got home. My brother was in Santa Barbara, my sister was in Arizona, and I’m gone seven months out of a year shooting, so when we’re all home together, it’s cool.
DA MAN: What places have your films taken you around the world? Have you been inspired to live anywhere aside from L.A.?
Logan Lerman: My job is amazing, because I’m fortunate to travel a lot. I’ve been able to gain interesting perspectives over the world—what it’s like living in those different parts of the world or different parts of the country. I’ve fallen in love with Germany and Berlin and the German lifestyle. I felt comfortable and at home. Vancouver and San Francisco. I’d love to explore New York. I’ve never been there for more than five days at a time, but I’d love to live there.
DA MAN: Is it a strange feeling for you, becoming an adult on screen?
Logan Lerman: I mean, as you get older, there are different types of roles and different points in people’s lives at certain ages so it’s interesting to tackle those things on screen as I’m living them. It’s an interesting job I have, I guess… having to keep it honest; living an honest life.
DA MAN: What’s your next project?
Logan Lerman: It’s called The Only Living Boy in New York. We don’t have a start date. It’s a cool project that I’m attached to, but it’s a great story. It’s a funny script about this young guy that sees his dad at a restaurant on a date with another woman—a younger co-worker—and in order to save his parents’ marriage, he starts to stalk the woman that his father’s seeing. Building up the courage to confront her, and tell her to stop seeing his father, he ends up having an affair with his father’s mistress … it’s a funny little movie.
DA MAN: Bridging the gap into adulthood perhaps?
Logan Lerman: Hah … It’s a rickety bridge.
Mitchell Nguyen McCormack
Stylist Jenny Ricker courtesy of The Wall Group