Josh Duhamel is best known for lighter fare like Nicholas Sparks’ Safe Haven and the Transformers franchise. So, the actor was eager to take on a passion project in the form of the drama, Scenic Route.
“It was absolute beast of a script. Kyle Killen is a really, really good writer. It was the kind of script that I’d been looking for—it was like a mountain of both dialogue and physical behavior and everything else that is scary, but I was dying to do something like this that I hadn’t done before,” he said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “It turned out to be one of the best experiences I ever had. The amount of rehearsal that we had ahead of time and all of the stuff that we went through shooting it, it was just a—it’s the reason I got into this business, to be able to do a movie like this.”
The film follows two former friends (Duhamel and Dan Fogler) on a road trip in the desert. The shoot proved to be a bonding experience for the two actors. “That was another scary aspect of this movie: ‘Holy crap, it’s just him and me through this whole movie. They’re either gonna love this or they’re gonna hate it.’ So it was really imperative that we treated it like a play in the first third, first half of the movie,” Duhamel explained. “You couldn’t come to set and figure it out there—we had weeks of rehearsal ahead of time. It was all the work that went into it that I think allowed Dan and I to connect. He’s a really interesting dude and we spent a lot of time [together]. We drove up to the Death Valley together, we spent weeks beforehand and our rooms were right next to each other in this old mining town down in Death Valley.”
The role was a challenging one for Duhamel, despite his past acting experience.
“The closest I’ve ever been [to acting onstage]is I take this workshop every year from Larry Moss, who I’ve worked with for years, and usually he gives you scenes from Tennessee Williams or Eugene O’Neill or something, a long scene that you put up in front of a theater full of students,” he said. “I asked him if I could put one of these scenes up as a way to start rehearsing for this because I didn’t even know where to begin. I mostly take them just because they scare the crap out of me. That is about as close as I’ve been to doing it, but it’s something that I would love to do.”
Scenic Route is currently playing in theaters.