Going back to the early days of production, what were your first reactions to the script?
Sophie Carson: Five years ago, I was working with [director] Liz Allen in “Pretty Little Liars”. She handed me a script around Christmas and said “Merry Christmas”. It was “Purple Hearts”, or a draft of it. I read it, and I immediately fell in love with it and its story, not only because it was directed by a woman, directed by a woman – it was a beautiful love story, but it was a love story with really important socio-political messages. The heart of this one, which is what captivated me on first reading, is that it’s really a story about… It captures the zeitgeist of our generation so well.
We are in a divided world, a divided country, where everything we see is in color, red and blue or black and white. The story is about two hearts that come together through the power of love – two hearts that have learned to hate each other. If love can heal these two broken hearts, love is what the world needs more than ever. I jumped on board as Liz’s partner [and] producer, [and] as Cassie, and to write the soundtrack as well. It has been the most exciting five years. It’s surreal that I can finally talk about it and that it will soon belong to the world.
Nicolas Galitzine: I remember receiving it [and reading it] through, and that’s something I immediately wanted to do. The love story at the center was apparent, but I felt there was actually a movie that could be made that would be a much more unique and original take on the love story genre. These people seemed very real to me; they felt very nuanced.
As Sofia said, the United States has had a very fascinating time. Maybe “fascinating” is the wrong word – tumultuous, in many ways. It was an opportunity to explore that too, which I found very fascinating. The military world is extremely foreign to me in many ways, especially the US military. What makes these people want to do what they do? Can we present them as being more human than how many of us sometimes perceive them? It was important to me.
Then I loved who was on board — Liz Allen, our director… After communicating and talking about the project, I was very confident that we could work together and do something great. So, [with] Sofia being on board and feeling very positive about our chemistry readings and all that stuff, I really wanted to do this from the start.