The youngest of three children, Michelle Lynn Monaghan was born on March 23, 1976, in Winthrop, Iowa. In 1999, she quit college and moved to New York to work full-time as a fashion model. She traveled the world doing stints on the runways in Milan, Singapore, Tokyo, and Hong Kong until her TV debut in 2000, where she went on to appear in several supporting roles until 2005 when she starred opposite Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. (Although my favorite role has been her opposite of Patrick Dempsey in Maid of Honor). That was until we sat down with her to discuss her character Amanda Collier in The Best of Me.
Based on the bestselling novel by acclaimed author Nicholas Sparks, The Best of Me tells the story of Dawson and Amanda, two former high school sweethearts who find themselves reunited after 20 years apart, when they return to their small town for the funeral of a beloved friend. Their bittersweet reunion reignites the love they’ve never forgotten, but soon they discover the forces that drove them apart twenty years ago live on, posing even more serious threats today. Spanning decades, this epic love story captures the enduring power of our first true love, and the wrenching choices we face when confronted with elusive second chances.
What was your favorite scene in the movie?
You know what? James and I’ve had some really fun great scenes. Look at him. He’s standing under the ice cream truck right now. He’s so cute. I mean, look at him. Don’t you just want to scoop him back? Sorry….We’ve had a lot of great scenes. We’ve had some in this Stingray that we’ve been driving around. And that’s just been really nice because we’ve just been driving outside with the top down. And it’s a great old car.
But, truly, I’ve really enjoyed shooting every day with him because he’s just so easygoing. And he’s a great actor. And he’s just a total pleasure.
And of course we had to know – How was the 11-minute-long sex scene?
Oh, my Gosh. You know what? I get paid to do a job. And I’m very, very professional. I’m very professional. So, yes, um-hmm.
What are some of the challenges of playing Amanda? And maybe what are some of the things you learned just along the way?
Well, I think, it’s interesting. We were talking today, actually. Your 20s and your 30s are all about sort of self-discovery really. And you’re kind of figuring out what you want to do with your life. And I think that sort of when you kind of hit your mid to late 30s and your 40s, it’s kind of all about self-reflection really and kind of taking stock in our lives and sort of going,
“Okay. Well, did I sort of achieve what I wanted to sort of professionally or romantically or in terms of family,” any of these things?And I think we start to question and ask ourselves how we want to live the next 40 years of our lives.And so, I think it’s just in terms of just how I relate to it in terms of what would I do in this particular chance? And am I happy in this aspect of my life? Am I fulfilled in this way? And I think that’s why people are really honestly going to relate to it because you can sort of see the choices and the history in yourself.
How did you relate to Amanda?
Well, just having a family and just the simple fact, that I’ve been happily married for 15 years. But, I’ve had prior relationships to that. And whether you’re happily married or not, I still think it’s human nature to say, “Oh, my gosh, what if I’d stayed in that relationship,” because there were so many close calls. Do you know what I mean?
And I don’t regret any one of them because I’ve learned what I wanted from each of them, as we all have. You learn what you don’t want. You learn what you need, this and that. And thank goodness, I got them all in this little package at home. But, you still can’t help but think, “What if?” And so, in that respect, I could really certainly relate to that.