'Beautiful Disaster': Dylan Sprouse leans into fighter, 'bad boy' energy with Virginia Gardner

"I was getting battered around, but that's what I signed up for," Sprouse said

It has been more than a decade since Dylan Sprouse was on our TVs as a Disney Channel star, but now he's stepped into a more physically demanding and romantic role in Beautiful Disaster with Virginia Gardner (on Prime Video).

The movie is based on the book by Jamie McGuire. Gardner plays Abby Abernathy, a college freshman who's eager to start her own life as an independent adult. That's when she meets "bad boy" Travis Maddox, an underground fighter. Abby and Travis don't get along initially, with Abby thinking Travis is an "egomaniac." But like ever steamy romance story, that tension goes to a far sexier place.

Things start to change when they two engage in a bet. If Travis wins his next fight, Abby has to live with him for a month. If he looses, he has to be celibate for three months. As the pair spend more time together, secrets from their personal lives bring them closer than anticipated.

Dylan Sprouse and Virginia Gardner in Beautiful Disaster (Voltage Pictures)
Dylan Sprouse and Virginia Gardner in Beautiful Disaster (Voltage Pictures)

Dylan Sprouse moves outside of his 'comfort zone' for physically demanding role

For Sprouse, being able to take on a role that had a significant physical component was important to the actor.

"I read the script and I thought it was just a hilarious, fun time," Sprouse told Yahoo Canada. "It was also an opportunity to really physically challenge myself, which is something that I've wanted to try and do."

"This was a role that was a little outside of my comfort zone in that way, a lot of action scenes and a lot of physical training. ... So that was really my main prerogative."

But watch what you wish for, because Sprouse even took a real hit to the face in filming this movie.

"I did get hit in the face. There was actually a moment in the last fight where I get like whipped by a chain by the opponent," Sprouse explained. "It was a plastic chain so it was all fine, but he did warn me, he's like, 'hey look, I have to whip you with this chain and it's not metal, but the only way to make it look real is to really swing it at you and it's going to feel like metal.'"

"I was like, 'OK?' And then we went right into it. So there were a few moments there where I was getting battered around, but that's what I signed up for."

Virginia Gardner in Beautiful Disaster (Voltage Pictures)
Virginia Gardner in Beautiful Disaster (Voltage Pictures)

An 'original take' on a woman in a romance movie

Conversely, Gardner highlighted that it was Abby's strength and "fierce independence" that the actor really appreciated about the character.

"Just in general, the film is so much more than a romance movie, it's so funny and there's so much action involved, and sexiness as well," Gardner said. "There was just a lot going on that made me feel really attracted to this project."

"With Abby in particular, I just think it's not really a character that we've seen too much in the romance space. A woman of that nature that kind of has that strength and that almost aggressiveness to her. So it was really fun to sort of create this, at least what I hope feels [like an] original take on that character."

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 29: Actor Dylan Sprouse and actress Virginia Gardner attend the
MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 29: Actor Dylan Sprouse and actress Virginia Gardner attend the "Maravilloso Desastre" (Beautiful Disaster) premiere at the Callao cinema on March 29, 2023 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)

As you may expect, much of this movie hinges on the audience actually believing in the romantic tension brewing between Abby and Travis, a task that was put on Sprouse and Gardner to bring to the screen.

The pair actually knew each other before stepping onto the Beautiful Disaster set. As Gardner recalled, they met at a Halloween party many years ago. Funnily enough, up until this interview together, Gardner thought Sprouse was dressed as a green Teletubby at that party, but he was actually as wood elf.

"We were always kind of friendly in general and we have the same sense of humour," Sprouse said. "So it was pretty easy to nail the chemistry down in that regard."

What we know about 'Beautiful Wedding' follow up movie to 'Beautiful Disaster'

While Beautiful Disaster has just landed, we already know that a second film is coming our way shortly, titled Beautiful Wedding.

"We've already shot the sequel, so we know what's going to happen in our characters futures, at least for now," Gardner confirmed. "But I think it's going to be really funny."

"I hope that people love it and there's a wedding involved. But that's kind of all we're allowed to say right now."

All interviews were conducted prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike