Logan Lerman interview: 'Percy Jackson' star dives headfirst into 'Sea of Monsters'


For "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" star Logan Lerman, playing the title character in the films based on Rick Riordan's best-selling books provides not one or two, but a trio of benefits. One, fans get to see a larger-than-life fantastical film, of course, but as a bonus the legend continues to live long after the final credits have rolled.

"There are very interesting thing these films do -- they inspire kids to read," Lerman told me in a recent interview. "Plus it also introduces them to Greek mythology, which is pretty cool. It keeps Greek mythology alive in a fun way."

Opening in theaters nationwide on Wednesday in 2D and 3D, "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" -- the sequel to the 2010 hit "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" -- begins at Camp Half-Blood, a safe haven and training facility for Percy and other young demigods.

But their peaceful existence is threatened when the great protector of the forest that surrounds the camp is wounded and faces certain death -- unless Percy and his allies Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) and Percy's newly discovered half-brother, Tyson (Douglas Smith), can recover the Golden Fleece, which has the power to heal.

The problem is, the Golden Fleece is hidden within the Sea of Monsters, known to humans as the foreboding Bermuda Triangle -- and Percy and his friends aren't the only parties seeking it.

See the trailer for "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" below.

Directed by Thor Freudenthal ("Diary of a Wimpy Kid"), the movie adaptation of "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" sticks closer to the original source material than director Chris Columbus' "The Lightning Thief," Lerman said. That's not to say Lerman didn't like what Columbus did with "The Lightning Thief," it's just that "Sea of Monsters" is much different, tonally.

"I would definitely say that Thor really captures the tone of the book more accurately than Chris did, and I think fans will be excited about that," Lerman, 20, observed. "The 'Sea of Monsters' book is fast-paced, comedic and lighter, but still is just as big and fantastic as the first one, so I think fans will really enjoy that and really like the tone that Thor brings to the movie."

While Freudenthal relied heavily on the book to establish the story and atmosphere of "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters," Lerman said for his part, it was better to follow screenwriter Marc Guggenheim's script and Freudenthal's direction, rather than try to encompass a broader, literal interpretation of the character.

"In terms of this movie, I pretty much worked off the pages in the script," said Lerman, who starred in last year's acclaimed dramedy "The Perks of Being a Wallflower." "The book wasn't highly influential to me, but I still checked it out."

No matter the source of his influence, Lerman said the common denominator of the two literary mediums, as far as readers and actors are concerned, is imagination. And while the power of the mind's eye helped Lerman shape his character and the reaction to his surroundings in "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters," being too involved in a film project unfortunately spoils the fun of seeing the completed project, Lerman said.

"I can't get into it because I know what's coming next -- the element of surprise is taken away," Lerman said with a laugh. "A huge part of being a moviegoer is not knowing what is going to happen in the second and third acts."

Still, Lerman said, he was blown away by the visual effects of the film. After all, you can't have a Sea of Monsters without monsters, and other fantastical beings and otherworldly creatures.

"Even though we get prepped with pre-visual animation and conceptual art -- so I can see what a scene is going to look like before we even shoot it -- when you do see the effects completed, it's breathtaking," Lerman enthused. "With the 3D they've layered on this film and the completed visual effects, it's pretty amazing to see as a moviegoer."

Bring Me The News film critic Tim Lammers is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and annually votes on the Critics Choice Movie Awards. Locally, he also reviews films on “KARE 11 News at 11.” As a feature writer, Tim has interviewed well over 1,000 major actors and filmmakers throughout his career and his work is syndicated nationwide.

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