Interview: Josh Duhamel

Josh Duhamel is becoming quite an action hero. He's got the Transformers movie coming out next summer, and to tide us over he's on the run in Turistas. Duhamel plays the most cautious member of a group of kids traveling in Brazil. When their paradise becomes a deadly trap, he springs into action leading them out of the jungle hell.

"Originally, when I first read the script, it was Guatemala," said Duhamel. "And I was like, 'Okay, Guatemala, let's go do it.' And then they said Brazil, and I said, 'That's even better!' So yeah, it's everything that you see. I had never been there, and you have this preconceived sort of impression of Brazil, and the music and the booties and the food and Carnivale and the beaches and everything, and it's all of that. And what I was most pleased with, with the movie when I saw it was, especially in the beginning, I thought we did a good job of sort of capturing the essence of Brazil and all of those things. And I think that that contrasts with what happens later in the movie, with some of the graphic stuff that happens after they get sort of get taken up to the house and everything."

Running from evil Brazilian organ thieves is quite a workout, and Duhamel got into shape. "The working out was more or less because I knew what I was getting into as far as the physical demands that this movie was going to have, because just reading it was like, 'Okay, now we're running through the jungle, we're swimming, we're climbing, we're jumping off a waterfall.' I wanted to be able to last the whole movie and not be completely exhausted by the time we were done, which sort of worked. But by the time we were done, I was so beat and ready to go home that I don't know how much preparation I could have done. But yeah, there was definitely some training, especially a lot of underwater swimming and stuff before we left."

Of course, if everybody had just listened to his character in the first place, they wouldn’t be in any trouble. "I definitely have some of the typical kind of paranoid issues that a lot of, I think American tourists especially, have going abroad. But growing up in North Dakota, you don't get a chance to see all these things, and you hear all these stories, and I don't think this movie is going to help that any. People are going to be like, 'No, no, no...' You'd be extra careful. But yeah, I guess part of me would probably be, maybe not as severe as he is in the beginning. He is kind of the most cautious of the group. But I guess I wanted to kind of play him like that in the beginning because in the end, I wanted him to kind of be the reluctant kind of hero, somebody who when you're faced against something like this, if you're faced with the worst possible scenario on a trip that goes so wrong, how would you react to it? Would you curl up in a fetal position, or would you fight back and try to save your sister or whoever? And he had it in him, and I don't know if he knew he had it in him until it all sort of happened. So it's not exactly a character piece, but that's sort of what my character went through, I guess."

Ultimately, none of this prepared him for Michael Bay. "I mean, that was tough in its own way, too, because he demands a lot, too. Both these guys are similar in that way. They demand a lot from you, and you gotta come ready to play. That was different in the sense that it was a lot of heat, and we had a lot of equipment and stuff on, and carrying big, heavy guns, and running through the sand. But you know, similar, but not that same."

Right now, Duhamel is back working on his show, Las Vegas. "The next two that are coming up are really good. The two that we've shot I think may be two of our best episodes that we've done. They decided to make it into a two-hour, because it was originally a two-part. It was going to be one week, then the next week was the second part. And then they decided to make it a two-hour thing. And it's good. It's different than anything we've done. It's much more intense and dramatic than anything we've done."

Turistas opens December 1, Las Vegas airs Fridays on NBC and Transformers opens July 2007.