The Lucky One, starring Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling, gets released tomorrow, April 20th. In the film, I play Drake Green (aka “Aces”)…brother to Beth Clayton (Schilling), with whom Logan Thibault (Efron) falls in love. It’s love and war. Something dying to spark new life. Sparks.

Admittedly, having a major motion picture being released by Warner Brothers – knowing I’m being credited with a name like “Aces” and not “Bar Patron #18” – is, well, a big deal…and very encouraging. However, quelling my tendency to undermine personal “success,” I find myself torn between following my family’s lead to fall “head over heels” in celebration this week…OR…finding a large crevice in the side of a mountain in which I can go hide (at least until the movie release is over). Why? Not sure. Maybe it has something to do with dreams I’ve had of being completely cut out of the film.

I have one scene, and it’s at the very beginning (so don’t be late to the theater…lol). Since the movie has yet to be released, I won’t say much about my scene (lest the fine print of that 30 page contract I signed proves indicting), except that I’m leading a platoon decked out in full marine gear, head to toe. Check out my photo album titled The Lucky One on Facebook if you wanna see what I will look like.

True to the novel, I am the “fallen” brother…the one who carried the “lucky charm” picture before it ends up in the rubble…and in Logan’s hand. I’m also the father-figure uncle to my sister’s son, so her “grief” over me is a huge deal and an overall detriment to her moving forward in the “love story.” But even though all of this is a prominent part of Sparks’ novel, we never know how the film adaptation will treat certain elements or characters do we? Which is why Eeyore (Kendal) will most likely have a pit in my stomach until sometime Friday evening when my wife (after having dragged me to the theater by my collar) says, “I told ya so!”

Kidding aside…and despite the bad dreams…I do not believe for one second that Aces will end up on the cutting room floor (every actor’s fear). For those who’ve asked, I’ve simply described my role as being “small, but pivotal, to the storyline”…one that will hit home to many families across our great nation. After all, what tragedy in our blessed America could trump that of losing a loved one in this war? It’s a prominent reality on just about every street corner now…and I’m really hoping that the brother’s story – or at least Beth’s story regarding the loss of her brother to war – does not get diminished.

I hope this for two reasons –

First, the families who have lost a loved one to this war deserve for Hollywood to maximize every opportunity to speak healing over their grief…and that, without forcing a political agenda. Second, it would personally SUCK if the role of the “fallen brother” gets swept under the rug. Would’ve been better to call my character “Agnes” not “Aces.” More memorable, less anti-climactic. Because if I was called “Agnes” I would never have succumbed to that little marketing imp that says “post…tweet…go on, market yourself…get your name out there…that’s it…that’s what a good actor does.” But I was given the name “Aces”…and despite the temptation to “hold my cards close to my chest,” I laid them out…albeit 1 at a time…but still, I laid them out.

So understandably, my family and closest friends are making the release of this movie a huge deal on my behalf. It has excited many and inspired others to know I’m in a movie they can go see in theaters. For that, I’m very grateful and humbled…especially when asked for an autograph. Ha! New experience for me! But then, I had someone call me their “hero.” Hero? Gives me a whole new perspective on why the words “I’m no hero” sound so cliché. It’s the first thing I wanted to say.

Do I deserve to celebrate this role in a major motion picture? Heck yeah. My initial video audition for this movie was among a few thousand…which got short-listed to a few hundred…and got further short-listed to the Top 50 or so for a call-back in front of the director. Much thanks to my amazing Virginia agent team, Sylvia Hutson (with Michael Hutson) who helped me get there, I went to New Orleans in the fall of 2010 and in front of Scott Hicks (director) won that role from a lot of really talented actors.

But hero? Reluctant. Because I can’t seem to shake this sense of trepidation as The Lucky One approaches its release tomorrow. Dunno. Maybe it’s because it’s such a long time coming. That has nothing to do, however, with my most nagging questions……Will you like the movie? Will you think I did a good job in the role? Will you be walking out of the theater saying, “I didn’t see Kendal…did you see Kendal? I thought Kendal said he was in this film,” and finally…Will you still love me in the morning?

So in an effort to silence that inner-Eeyore, I’ve confessed my heart’s trepidation and am now going to make a prediction –

Friday evening, I will hear my wife say “I told ya so!” I will find myself the most blessed “lucky one” on the planet, despite how the public answers the above questions. I have a gracious, kind, loving Heavenly Father who will continue to be in charge of my career, a family and a host of friends who love me and support my dreams regardless… and a beautiful, best-friend wife who has already committed to answering YES to that last question for at least the next 180 years. Furthermore, The Lucky One will not be the last major motion picture I act in. The release of this movie will be “something dying to spark new life” for me. And though many of you are thinking that you’ll just wait to see the movie in Netflix or PPV, you’ll find yourself THIS WEEKEND heading to the theater to get your “Sparks” on…or your “Zac” on…or…should I say it?…..get your “Kendal” on. LOL. 😉  I know my wife, immediate and entire extended family will be. And yes, I suppose I will be, too…dragged by the collar.

As for being someone’s “hero,” I will graciously accept……simply because I hate cliché.

Love to all!