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Logan Lerman: The Vanishing of Sidney Hall

Percy Jackson Grows Up

Feb 26, 2018

By: Lynn Barker

In The Vanishing of Sidney Hall, 26-year-old actor/producer Logan Lerman whom you might have seen in the Percy Jackson films or in The Perks of Being a Wallflower opposite Emma Watson, gets to play the same character at ages 18, 24 and 30. He admits that playing an innocent, idealistic teen was the most challenging of the three ages. He says he kept the “fat suit” he wore to age up the character and wears it to auditions when parts require a more “full-figured” actor.

Melody and Sidney in happy timesMelody and Sidney in happy timesCourtesy of A24 Films

Logan’s character Sidney Hall writes a landmark novel somewhat like “The Catcher in the Rye” at age 18 and becomes famous so fast that it basically ruins his life. Logan’s story is a more gradual progression. He began acting as a kid and graduated to teen roles. Now the actor has added producer to his credits and admits he is happy wearing many hats in the film biz.

Check out what this talented and cute actor had to say about the book that influenced him most, creating a character at three different ages and his plans and hopes for the future.

Warning: The Vanishing of Sidney Hall is rated “R” for language and some sexual references.

Q: Your character is shown at three stages in life. Which was the most challenging for you?

  • Logan: There were three very distinct stages in this guy’s life and different things going on. I would say going back to the purity of the idealistic teenager might have been a bit more challenging at this point in my life; the 18-year-old segment when he is definitely more idealistic and youthful. To explore that part might have been slightly more challenging for me.

A teen Sidney with girlfriend Melody (Elle Fanning)A teen Sidney with girlfriend Melody (Elle Fanning)Courtesy of A24 Films

Q: You’ve said that you wanted to be the head of a studio at some point. This guy comes up with this book as a teen and, by the time he’s 30, he’s kind of reached his peak. What is your ambition in life when you reach 30?

  • Logan: My goals are set week-by-week and day-by-day battles but I would say I feel lucky to be in a position where I’m considered for projects. Hopefully, years down the line and I can continue producing and acting and being a part of productions in any capacity really. I just want to continue finding stories that I think are worth devoting my time and energy to and guiding them into production and championing writers.

The older Sidney tries to writeThe older Sidney tries to writeCourtesy of A24 Films

Q: Michelle Monaghan, as your mom, really socks it to you. She hits you for real at one point.

  • Logan: (laughs) Yeah, she really hit me hard. Some actors pull their punches. But this was appropriate. That’s what the scene required and we all want to find the truth and interesting moments and we’re ready to do what it takes. Michelle is and so am I. It’s easy at the end of the day when you are working with somebody you really respect and like. She can hit me anytime. We were just trying to find truth in the moment.

Q: Did you add prosthetics or gain weight to play Sidney at an older age?

  • Logan: When we first started making the film, we had all these grand ideas ‘We can start the film and shoot for a few weeks or a month then take a month off and lose all this weight or gain weight and cut hair or grow hair out and go back and take another month off’. Of course that didn’t work out. It was unrealistic with everyone’s schedules. So, we had to figure out how to make it work. There were some tricks; a little fat suit which I still have and wear. (laughter)

Q: Really? Why would you wear that?

  • Logan: That’s a good question. When you’re an actor and you’re going into meetings with filmmakers, often they like to see the character I think. They don’t want to meet you as you. So, sometimes, if I don’t have the weight on at that particular time, it’s nice to put on the little body suit that we made. So, we did stuff like that then we did a lot of screen tests trying to make the transitions, you know, fake beard and wigs. We went through a long process of trial and error.

Logan as Percy JacksonLogan as Percy Jackson

Q: Also, your body language really sold it. It’s like recreating a character each time period.

  • Logan: Thank you. You try to figure out what’s happening during that period of time and what was happening when you last saw the character. I wish I could show you photos of the first attempts because they were so bad and we made them much better. We got really lucky that some great (make-up) artists came and decided to work for free in between their jobs on Avengers films and stuff like that. But I think everybody in the industry in this art form is excited about original stories so when a script like this comes around, I think everybody wants (to do it).

Q: Sidney Hall burns his own books even though they are successful. Have you ever regretted a success?

  • Logan: Well I’ve learned way more from the failures. In a way those are precious and sometimes more valuable to my growth than the times when it’s worked out and I’m like ‘I have no idea why this worked’. You want the experience more than anything. I can tell you about films that are considered good work and sometimes the experiences have been unenjoyable or I’ve felt like weren’t well-managed productions and they might be some of the better work I’ve done and I value that as much as some of the others.

Logan with Emma Watson in The Perks of Being a WildflowerLogan with Emma Watson in The Perks of Being a Wildflower

Q: Is it the same for actors as writers?

  • Logan: Sidney who is a novelist who created a thing and it’s his and the responsibility tied to that is something I can’t relate to. A film is collaborative. I didn’t write the script. I’m just trying to realize (the writer and director’s) vision so if it doesn’t work out I’m slightly separated from it. With Sidney, it’s his words. It’s his name on the page and he has to take ownership and responsibility for the many things that come with the success of it. (Films) are everybody’s who has worked on them.

Q: Good point. Sidney writes a book that influences readers. What book has been the most influential in your life?

  • Logan: There are a lot of books that had great impact on me but the last couple of years I don’t read for pleasure as much. I’m reading things in screenplay format and novels that nobody has the rights to so I can option them but the one book that made me a better filmmaker which was important that I revisited for that reason is Sidney Lumet’s “Making Movies”. A prolific filmmaker like Lumet has made some fantastic films and some not so fantastic films. You can learn from his mistakes and his successes.

The Vanishing of Sidney Hall PosterThe Vanishing of Sidney Hall PosterCourtesy of A24 Films

The Vanishing of Sidney Hall (rated R) is in theaters March 2nd

Have Your Say

Do you hope to be making your own films someday, as actor/producer like Logan or in another capacity? Are you writing stories or a novel as a teen? Tell us below with a comment.