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Exclusive! 'Big Miracle' Star Dermot Mulroney On His "Epic" Love

Exclusive! 'Big Miracle' Star Dermot Mulroney On His "Epic" Love

You recognize Dermot Mulroney as the dreamboat groom in My Best Friend's Wedding and the picture-perfect arm candy in The Wedding Date, but the 48-year-old actor is more than just a rom-com icon. This week at the box office, he's simultaneously fighting off hungry wolves in the wilderness in The Grey and saving three stranded whales in Big Miracle, out this Friday.

For all you ladies who love a romantic and rugged guy, don't bust out your celeb-stalking materials just yet – Mulroney is happily married to Tharita Catulle and has three children: son Clyde, 12 (from his previous marriage to Catherine Keener), Mabel, 3, and a younger child (the notoriously tight-lipped actor hasn't revealed his/her name or gender).

Lucky for us, Mulroney wasn't as reserved when talking about Big Miracle, which depicts the true story of how different people from very different walks of life came together in 1988 to rescue three stranded gray whales in Barrow, Alaska. The movie stars Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski and Kristen Bell, but Mulroney has the best and most true-to-life storyline by far – he plays a Colonel who, while trying to save these whales, meets and falls in love with a White House assistant who later becomes his wife. 

Here, the handsome and gentlemanly Mulroney fills us in on the real love story his part is based on, what his own father taught him about love and why we'll be seeing him opposite Zooey Deschanel in the very near future:

I watched Big Miracle, and I thought it was so funny and heartwarming, but I left that theater freezing! What was it like shooting in Anchorage, Alaska?
I know, it does leave you with a warm heart and maybe some cold toes. The bulk of my filming was done at the army base which I think I heard is the largest one in the U.S. A lot of Anchorage is people and things that are devoted to the military. I portray Colonel Tom Carroll (his name is Colonel Scott Boyer in the film), he's a really well-known, highly respected man and pilot in a state where they are really important. So, I was honored to be in Alaska and doubly honored to be portraying someone who still left a lasting legacy for the military family there. It's a hell of a story, I loved being a part of it. Drew Barrymore Is "Daydreaming" About Her (Jewish?) Wedding

It does have some politics in it, and yet it's very family-friendly. Are you going to bring your kids to see it?
Oh absolutely, I think really young kids would love it because there's whales in it, and my pre-teen, 12-year-old can't wait to see it! Beyond that, honestly I think this movie has a real chance to go beyond just a heart-warming, family movie. My sense is, and I'll be surprised if I'm wrong, this movie is going to stick around – it's going to be one of those movies that people continue to watch twenty years from now. It's a movie that won't lose its "thing," whatever it's got. It has a lot to offer a viewer, and families will watch it again and again.

Your character gets married—what did you think when you read that in the script?
Well, the script is based on true events, but really getting to know my storyline, I got to meet the widow of the man I portray (he died in a plane wreck after the time that this story takes place). I got to know Bonnie Carroll, who Vinessa Shaw portrays in the film, and she's the most extraordinary woman. She had so much love and honor for her husband, and she has such clear memories of what happened. She kindly showed me the love letters they exchanged after they met and other writings of his. It's amazing that she would open her heart and share like that. In a quiet way between she and I, we want to dedicate my performance to Tom, who like I said, people still know about and talk about in Anchorage. He was just one of those people who had an impact on people's lives in the community and then, of course, in the military as well.

Is that at all similar to how you met your wife in real life?
In the film, the Carrolls met precisely during that time and Bonnie said to me, "The moment I heard his voice I knew that was the man I would love for the rest of my life." The love story between those two was that epic. So, there's no exaggeration, which is kind of mind-boggling. It was really a true, deep, instant romance between those two, and I can confirm that because I've seen the letters that they exchanged right after they met. My own storyline is different, but just as epic in my mind, but it's not the kind of thing I think you'd make a movie about. Exclusive! Ryan Gosling: "I Think I'm A Pretty Weird-Looking Guy"

You've been in so many romantic comedies, action films & dramas. Which genre is your favorite?
I've been one of those lucky actors who's had the opportunity to do a wide variety of movies, so I wasn't always pigeon-holed. For me, that's better than just being a romantic comedy actor. Every once in awhile someone gives me a really interesting role, whether it was in Undertow or About Schmidt, and I was able to keep my character actor work alive, which has always made it really exciting. I went from working on Big Miracle to The Grey, an intensely challenging, weather intense movie that Liam Neeson stars in. I went from a heart-warming, family type movie to a grueling, outdoor survival thriller. As long as I can bounce back and forth in between films, I'll never have to pick my favorite genre.

Right, and we also heard that you're going to be on New Girl, which is a show we love!
I am loving that show, and when they gave me a call and asked me to join that cast for a couple episodes, I couldn't believe it! I was thrilled. I'm right in there in scenes with that whole cast, and of course, Zooey Deschanel, who's just crushing it. Hard. She's such a scream to work with. In that way too, I'm really lucky—not only do I get to mix up types of movies, but I get to mix up different work on comedy films, TV episodes, studio movies and Independent films, so I feel really fortunate. New Girl was such fun to work on, so I hope you like it when you see it! I'm tuning in to that show myself, so we'll see how it goes. 4 Reasons Why Zooey Deschanel's Separation Shocks Us

You're a husband and a dad of three in real life, and yet we all still consider you this smokin' hot romantic lead! How does that make you feel?
Oh, I think that's quite all right! I'm totally in favor of it and nobody in my household has any problem with it either. Somebody's gotta do it—it's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it. Right? Isn't that how you say that? 

Finally, what's the best love advice you've ever received?
My father gives great advice, but he's always been a very quiet man when it comes to the subject of love. I would say, rather than I've been given good advice, that I've been shown a great example from my parents who were married 52 years. Maybe I didn't need to hear it in words if I saw it in action. That's probably the best dad advice I've received.

Tell us: what was your favorite Dermot Mulroney movie?

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