Zac Efron Finds Inner-‘Dog Whisperer’ For ‘Lucky One’

'I see people with their dogs walking in front of them with their leashes and think, 'I could help you,' ' co-star Taylor Schilling tells MTV News.
By Kara Warner

Zac Efron
Photo: MTV News

Forget for a moment everything you've seen and heard about the swoon factor surrounding Zac Efron's new romantic drama "The Lucky One." Yes, the film is based on a Nicholas Sparks novel. Yes, there are several scenes and moments within the film targeted at your heartstrings and tear ducts.

However, in talking to the stars about the preparation for the film, we discovered things were anything but romantic.

In the film, Efron plays Marine Logan Thibault, a lost soul who finds a photo of a young woman amid the rubble of war-torn Iraq that ends up saving his life. Once he returns Stateside, he goes on a journey to find that girl, Beth (Taylor Schilling), a single mom and owner/operator of a dog training and boarding facility.

In order to properly capture the experience of serving in the military, Efron told MTV News recently that he spent a lot of time with servicemen in order to get into the appropriate physical and mental conditions required of soldiers, as well as considerable hours spent with professional dog trainers.

"There was a lot [of training]," he said. "We had to train with the dogs, I did a lot of training physically to prepare for the role and training with the Marines and Navy SEALS. It was all very, very fun but a lot in-depth. The more training you do, the more it becomes second nature, and it was a great experience. I've never had more fun preparing for a role."

When asked if any of the training techniques he and Schilling learned stuck with them beyond production, Efron and Schilling revealed that they both have a new appreciation for well-trained dogs.

"Those dog trainers were amazing," Schilling said.

"Now I can't handle my friends' dogs that are disobedient," Efron said. "After we had the best dogs."

"Me too!" Schilling exclaimed. "After we had the best dog trainers, I see people with their dogs walking in front of them with their leashes and think, 'I could help you if you'd just ask me.' "

"You feel like the Dog Whisperer for, like, a second," Efron joked.

"They tried to help me learn how to run with the five dogs, but it never happened," Schilling admitted. "I fell down a lot, but we made it through."

Check out everything we've got on "The Lucky One."

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