Chariot's Shane West Reveals His Personal Philosophies On Life - Exclusive

Sometimes, a role can challenge an actor so much that it rattles or changes their very philosophy on life. For Shane West, this role was undoubtedly Rory in Adam Sigal's "Chariot." Where he was previously known for making people swoon in "A Walk to Remember," West now delivers viewers mind-altering perspectives in the psychological thriller.

As Rory, West works closely with John Malkovich's Dr. Karn, who upholds the Earth's reincarnation system, though the specifics of the system remain unknown despite the doctor mentioning off-hand that he didn't invent it. He simply ensures that it continues smoothly onward, with no one interrupting the cycle or remembering their previous lives.

Naturally, there's a kink in the system, and his name is Harrison Hardy. Portrayed by Thomas Mann, the film's leading man struggles with a dream of an attic that he can never quite see into, and his life only grows harder to manage when he meets Rosa Salazar's Maria, who is ultimately revealed as Harrison's love from a prior life. Together, they begin to understand one another and the world in which they live, but Rory must help Dr. Karn put an end to Harrison's remembrance. 

In an exclusive interview with The List, West talked about how "Chariot's" various sets helped bring the film to life and how the film challenged his own personal philosophies on life.

How 'Chariot' shook up Shane West's beliefs

As both a human and an actor, Shane West is sturdy in his stances on life. However, "Chariot" is a film that makes one really think — perhaps the best kind of film — and this effect worked even on the actors themselves. As West told The List, "I remember when I was growing up that I hated that idea [of reincarnation]. We all don't really know. ... We can pretend we do, we can have faith that we do, but from at least a scientific experiment, it's hard to know," he continued. Ultimately, for West, the prospect of forgetting loved ones hurt more as he aged, and his perspective has changed.

"It's not as sad as it sounds, because you won't know. When it was brought to me that way, and you move along in life, [in] that sense, it seems pretty realistic," West continued. "When you have so many feelings like you've been there before, maybe you've had this conversation before or I swear to God, I met that guy, or I met that girl before. I met that person before, I've been in this city before, whatever it might be, there's something to that." 

Ultimately, West concluded, "I don't know what that is, but there is certainly something to it, and maybe it's this." Truly, no one knows, which is why films like "Chariot" that make us think are well worth the watch.

"Chariot" is now playing in select theaters. The film is also available on demand and for digital rental or purchase.