Channing and Rachel’s Funny “Meet Cute” Moment
We talk romance, fun on set and more with the stars of The Vow.
Rachel enters our interview room in cute shorts. I dig down her waistband for the designer. They’re by Roxanda and topped off with a silk, fluffy pink blouse by Valentino. Black heels trimmed with beige finish off her outfit. Picture Chan (as his pals call him) in prim but casual black suit over a grey shirt.
How did these two hit it off at their first real meeting?
Kidzworld: Since you hadn’t worked together before, what surprised you about each other?
- Rachel: I’d always heard lovely things about Channing but it’s one thing to hear that and another to experience it and he went above and beyond all expectations because [to him] I’ve never met anyone like you. I mean that in the very best way. He’s the most open-hearted, generous, open-spirited person I know and he doesn’t do anything halfway either.
Even our meeting was unique. He came bounding into the room and almost knocked me down. He had three dogs following him. He shook my hand, tried on a dress, threw it down and ran out of the room [we’re all laughing].
- Channing: That’s just what I do when I meet somebody. “I look better in this than you do. Have you tried on that one?”
Rachel: He was trying to help me. I was in a fitting. He’s always trying to help.
- Channing: To be totally honest, I think that so much of Rachel comes out in her films. There are different things in each character that are so her. Some people are totally different [you would expect]. “Oh, my God, you’re nothing like I thought you were going to be!” She’s lovely and I think you can tell that. She’s a sweetie and she has that in most of her characters.
Kidzworld: Rachel, what was the biggest challenge for you playing Paige, a young wife who can’t remember her husband after a bad car accident?
- Rachel: Because Paige becomes so disconnected from Leo [Channing’s character], it was a challenge to keep things hopeful and also being true to the experiences and emotions that she would be going through which are quite erratic and she’s frustrated and anxious. That was difficult.
Kidzworld: You’ve both had big romantic movie hits. Why pick this one?
- Rachel: I was excited to work with Chan and I liked Michael [Sucsy the director’s] vision because he seemed to have a new take on the classic love story and this was inspired by true events. It seemed like a really worth-while story to tell. And I like the challenge of not making it so predictable. It seemed quite unique to me and certainly a character I hadn’t played. Also, unlike some so-called “chick flicks”, we’re seeing things through the guy’s eyes.
- Channing: I really just loved the idea of Leo in an extraordinary circumstance with his [wife] Paige and it doesn’t take a stereotypical Nicolas Sparks way to get back around to love. There’s no ah-ha moment where everything falls into place. It’s a more realistic way to get back to love. Rachel did some interesting study on people who lose their memories. A certain percentage just fall back into who they were which I thought was very interesting.
Kidzworld: Did you research brain trauma, Rachel? Did that help?
- Rachel: It did but it presented a challenge of making her sympathetic. These reactions are totally understandable but you’re also rooting for them. You want them to get back together. We talked about how irritable she could be. How far away can they get from each other and still be able to come back and leave a shred of hope.
Kidzworld: Rachel, you shot in your hometown, Toronto. Did you show Channing around?
- Rachel: Yeah, a little bit. We shot on one of the beaches and saw the sun come up.
- Channing: She took me ice skating. I’d never been ice skating. Let’s just call it break dancing on ice. There were a lot of hands on the ground for me. I couldn’t stop so I’d just roll. I also bought a bike up there.
- Rachel: You made fun of my bike helmet. He said “Whose Starship Trooper outfit is this?”
- Channing: That helmet was so big that whenever I saw her riding away the helmet was making her unbalanced on the bike. It was so funny.
Kidzworld: Did either of you meet and talk to the real-life couple this story is based on?
Channing: Michael shied me away from reading their book or going to get any details on who they were because we took some different liberties with their story. I think they were stronger than our characters. They stayed together and I don’t know how you do that in reality. I don’t know if I’d be able to do that. She just woke up and didn’t know him. I think that had a lot to do with their faith. They’re very religious. They are so positive and have two beautiful kids running around. I was nervous to meet the guy.
- Rachel: Same. This story was inspired by their story. Our characters were very different people with very different jobs and I think they’d only been married for two months before this happened. I met her and she’s amazing. She did wake up and say “Okay, you’re telling me this is my husband?”. She hadn’t lost her faith. That hadn’t gone away. She felt the same about her commitment to vows.
Kidzworld: Channing, this is a big year for you. You’re in everything. How do you feel about that? It’s the year of the Chan!
- Channing: [excited] I would love to have my own animal; the monkey, the rat and the Chan! That would be so dope! So cool. Look, I had no intention of five movies coming out. Two of them were supposed to come out last year so it was not supposed to happen like this but, it’s a very high class problem. I’m very proud of all the films. They’re all very different. If they were all the same, I’d be freakin’ out.
Kidzworld: Can you talk about doing 21 Jump Street? Isn’t that more of a comedy?
- Channing: Yeah. When Jonah [Hill] called I was like “Okay, man. I don’t do this [comedy] so you’re gonna have to take care of me on this”. He’s like “I got you!” “Okay, I’m in”. I put my faith in people that I admire, love and want to learn from. When I tell you it’s one of the most fun things I’ve ever done [I mean it].
It’s a completely different style of acting. Jonah will stop in the middle of a scene and take one line a whole lot of different ways and they’re funny every time. I’ve never done that.
[to Rachel] I’m not like “I LOVE you”. “Hold on “I love YOU”, “No. I love you” [laughter]. That is so weird to do but it works for comedy. Sometimes you just vomit out some nonsensical thing that makes no sense but it’s hilarious. It’s a weird way to make a movie. It was so much fun. Jonah is a genius.
By: Lynn Barker