Which Came First? “The Last Song” marks the first time Nicholas Sparks has written a screenplay before he completed the novel. The book, which is Sparks’ longest novel ever, debuted as #1 on both the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists.
What’s in a Name? Since Sparks was writing the screenplay with Miley Cyrus in mind, he allowed her to choose the name “Ronnie” for her character.
The Boy From Oz All-American boy Will Blakelee is played by an Aussie heartthrob. Liam Hemsworth is already well known in his native Australia as the star of the television series “The Elephant Princess” and “Neighbors,” as well as part of a trio of acting siblings that includes his older brothers Chris and Luke.
A Fine Kettle of Fish The aquarium scene between Ronnie and Will was filmed at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, which houses more aquatic creatures than any other aquarium in the world in tanks containing 8 million gallons of water. Liam Hemsworth was certified in scuba diving especially for the shoot and that really is him – and Miley – in the shark tank.
Back to School Liam Hemsworth’s scuba lessons weren’t the only learning experiences on this film. Miley Cyrus and Greg Kinnear, who both play gifted concert pianists, had never tickled the ivories before. Bobby Coleman and Greg Kinnear studied the art of stain glass window making with a local expert for their “father and son” project, and a former Olympic volleyball player was brought in to coach the actors for their beach scenes.
No Augtographs, Please The crucial scene in which newly-hatched loggerhead turtles make their way into the ocean was originally slated to be done with CGI, but at the last minute, the filmmakers decided to use live turtles. The 24 hatchlings that made their film debut in “The Last Song” arrived on set courtesy of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and were allowed to make their way out to sea. The two-inch long hatchlings will eventually reach three feet in length and weight up to 300 pounds.
“When I Look at You” The song that became central to this story was already scheduled to be released when the filmmakers realized it had all the heartfelt emotion they were looking for. “The Last Song” producer Adam Shankman directed the music video for the song.
Child Star Twelve-year-old Bobby Coleman started acting when he was only five, appearing opposite Oscar nominee Diane Lane in “Must Love Dogs.” In his young career he’s worked with a who’s who of Hollywood luminaries, including Oscar winner Frances McDormand, Jennifer Anniston, Ray Liotta, Michael Keaton, Catherine Keener, Minnie Driver, Joan Cusack and John Cusack.
Is That Who I Think It Is? Miley Cyrus surprised the patrons of the Tybee Island restaurant Stingray’s by dropping by from time to time to serenade them to the accompaniment of her own acoustic guitar.
Home Sweet Home “The Last Song” is set in Nicholas Sparks’ home state of North Carolina, but for the shoot, Tybee Island, near Savannah, Georgia stands in. Tybee means “salt” in the language of the indigenous Euchee people, and there is a large salt marsh on the western side of the island. Two centuries ago, Tybee was a popular hideout for pirates on the run. Today, it is a thriving resort with a picturesque lighthouse that was the tallest structure in America when it was built in 1732.
A House to Remember The filmmakers were able to secure a colonial estate built by one of the first English settlers in Georgia to use as the Blakelee mansion.
How Hot Was It? During some of the volleyball scenes, the sand was so hot, the players had to tape protective coverings to the bottoms of their feet.
The Ultimate Souvenir Greg Kinnear was so impressed by the beauty and workmanship of the stained glass window made for the film, he commissioned one for his own home from the same craftsman.
Old Friends “The Last Song” producer Adam Shankman directed the 2002 film “A Walk to Remember,” based on the Nicholas Sparks bestseller and starring Shane West and Mandy Moore.
Famly Fun Kelly Preston is a friend of the Cyrus family and she joined the cast when Miley Cyrus personally asked her to play Ronnie’s mother. Her daughter Ella was thrilled Kelly agreed to appear in the film, because she’s an avid fan of Cyrus.
Alma Mater More than 25 years ago, Nicholas Sparks and his “The Last Song” co-writer Jeff van Wie were college roommates at the University of Notre Dame where they both were on the track team. They’ve remained friends since then, but van Wie had no idea that Sparks was a successful novelist until spying a fellow traveler at the airport reading one of his old friend’s books.
Related Link: The Last Song Movie Full Production Notes