Logan Lerman showed he could play the quiet, sensitive high school student in 2012's The Perks of Being a Wallflower. But he's back to being a high school demigod in Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.
Due out Aug. 16, this sequel to 2010's Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief has Lerman reprising his title role as the half-human, half-god son of the sea god Poseidon.
"It's fun to go back to your old shoes once again and play around,'' says Lerman of his part in the converted 3-D film. "And it's always fun to have a sword in your hand, especially when you're doing scenes which involve fighting monsters. I'm still a kid. I love doing that stuff."
Lerman is actually not that much of a kid. Now 21, he has changed noticeably since making the original Percy Jackson at 17.
"He's lost a little bit of the baby face," says director Thor Freudenthal. "He's gotten more angular."
Jackson sports a more adult hairstyle and wardrobe in the new film. And Lerman admits it helps to be more experienced to take on the challenges presented in the second book from Rick Riordan's best-selling adventure series.
"I'm a little more comfortable with the sword," says Lerman. "We need it since there are bigger monsters. If you're going to make a sequel you gotta scale it up a little bit."
The story takes Jackson to the mythical land known as Sea of Monsters to retrieve a golden fleece that is essential to saving an ailing magical tree that protects his home, Camp Half-Blood. He departs with his Olympian sidekicks Annabeth Chase (daughter of the goddess Athena, played by Alexandra Daddario) and Jackson's protective goat-like satyr Grover (Brandon T. Jackson).
New characters come along on the adventure, including Clarisse La Rue (daughter of war god Ares, played by Leven Rambin), and Tyson the Cyclops (Douglas Smith), who, to Jackson's dismay, is revealed to be his half-brother. Turns out Tyson was also fathered by Poseidon, this time with a sea nymph mother.
"Those Greek gods really got around," says Freudenthal. "They were kind of dysfunctional partying drunkards: living first, thinking later."
Two of those gods make their series debut in Sea of Monsters: the messenger god Hermes (Nathan Fillion) and Dionysus, the god of wine (Stanley Tucci).
The daunting foes include a myriad of monsters, from the football-field-sized sea creature Charybdis to the Manticore, which Freudenthal describes as a half-lion, half-scorpion that wreaks "considerable harm." Jackson's final battle takes place with Kronos, the overlord of the gods and the central villain in the book series. (bow to them trying to fix everything they fucked up in the first movie tho)
There are further foes and adventures in Riordan's five-book series. While there is no official talk of a third Percy Jackson movie installment, should it come, Lerman and trusty sword Riptide are ready.
"It's a nice change of pace from doing some drama," says Lerman. "If called again, I would grab my sword and run right into battle."