Merritt is gracing the September 2018 cover of Mood Magazine, where she talks about her movie Unbroken: Path to Redemption. She was photographed by Edwin L Ortega and although overly airbrushed she looked really beautiful. We added 6 high quality photos to the Gallery! You can also read her interview below:
Tell us about your character Cynthia Applewhite on the upcoming movie.
Cynthia Applewhite was an incredible woman and an integral part of Louie Zamperini’s life. She was the driving force behind Louie. Supporting him with his Olympic dreams and trying her best to stand by him through his decline. Louie was an alcoholic and struggled with PTSD, which wasn’t widely recognized or treated at the time. Cynthia’s courage and strength were admirable especially in a time when woman didn’t always show an outward strength. She was resilient and stood up for herself and her family.
It’s your first lead role on a major film, what made you want to take on the role as Cynthia Applewhite?
Learning about Cynthia and the essential role she played in Louie’s life was so fascinating! Having the opportunity to portray her was both nerve racking and exciting. It was my first time playing a real- life person and there’s a high expectation to that. You want to do the person justice. I feel very fortunate to have had the chance to learn about her and to play a woman who was so spirited and vital in this unbelievable story.
What did you love about being on the set?
I love that the movie is a period piece! The story takes place in the 1940’s so all of the sets, wardrobe, hair and makeup reflect that. Being immersed in that time period was magical! I’m a huge fan of the 1940’s.
The movie is based on the best-selling book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, have you read the book or watched the film directed by Angelina Jolie?
I was familiar with Zamperini’s story through Laura Hillenbrand’s book Unbroken. It is such an amazing book, when I saw the script for Unbroken Path To Redemption I was excited to find out more about his life post war. I’ve seen the first film as well which was beautifully done. I think it’s hard to compare the two films as they tell two very different stories.
What was it like working with Samuel Hunt who stars as Louie Zamperini?
Awesome! Sam and I get along really well. We were able to shoot the beginning of the movie in sequence so as Louie and Cynthia were meeting and getting to know each other, Sam and I were also
getting to know each other. This was a nice set up and in turn made moments more genuine.
The film portrays Louie Zamperini’s struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and his conversion to Christianity. How significant is this sequel?
Louie’s struggle with PTSD and his conversion to Christianity are pivotal points in the film. Returning from war and the POW camp in Japan had significant effects of Louie. Being reintroduced to society and trying to cope with what happened ultimately led him to the Billy Graham crusades. That changed his life.
After working on the film did you get a better understanding of what people with PTSD go through?
I have a better understanding of PTSD through the research I’ve done for the film but I don’t think anyone can really understand what it is like unless you’ve personally experienced it. The degree of trauma and the effects vary on such a large scale it’s hard to fully comprehend. I hope the film shines a light on PTSD and gives people suffering with the condition hope.
From watching the trailer we can tell Unbroken: Path to Redemption is going to be a powerful movie. How do you think it will do at the box office?
Louie Zamperini lived the most extraordinary life. The events alone make for a powerful movie but it’s the relationships within the story that I think will have the biggest impact. It’s a love story, which everyone can relate too! A real love story that shows the highs and lows of a marriage. It’s also a true story that’s incredibly inspiring!
The filming for Unbroken: Path to Redemption has been done for a while. What have you been doing since then?
I’ve been doing a number of things! I really enjoy traveling on my time off and have had a busy year exploring different places. Recently there’s been a lot of press around Unbroken, which is very exciting! There’s also an upcoming film I’m doing but can’t confirm anything quite yet. Stay tuned!