“I love Twinkies, and the reason I am saying this is because we are all supposed to think of reasons to live.”
These are the types of thoughts Charlie, a freshman adolescent in the literary hit The Perks of Being a Wallflower ponders throughout letters to an unknown source. Talented author Stephen Chbosky emphasized the life inside the mind of an awkward teen, yearning for the adventure he’s been hiding from for far too long.
Chbosky has (finally!) adapted his remarkable work onto the big screen, allowing all ages to understand Charlie at his finest with the help of 21-year-old actor Logan Lerman. “I was really satisfied with the script before I read the book,” Lerman reflected on the first time he experienced Perks. “I knew about the title, and I had a lot friends that were affected by it.”
In the book, Charlie struggles with the comfort of his identity, being less popular and shyer than most students his age. His confidence is nourished while becoming closer to new friends for the first time in his life.
“I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons.” –Charlie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
As for Lerman, his identity has developed quite a bit over a short amount of time, becoming much different from the young Charlie readers know so well. “I wasn’t as introverted,” Lerman said. “I had a bunch of awkward experiences, though. I had a big high school, and I’d walk home a lot.” And because Lerman’s home state of California was always so hot, it made walking to school a bit uncomfortable. “I’d be pouring with sweat running to class, and of course I’d see a girl that I’d like,” Lerman said. “I always looked like I just got done swimming.”
As Lerman’s schedule is becoming entirely booked with offers for his acting career, college and all of its additional awkward experiences will have to wait. “I’m nervous about all of the work, but I’m excited to be more curious,” Lerman says on eventually returning to school.
An Infinite Amount of Fun
“If somebody likes me, I want them to like the real me, not what they think I am.” –Charlie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
In both the film and novel, Charlie befriends Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller), creating infinite moments that any kid his age would welcome with open arms. Lerman experienced his own life beyond work and responsibilities, as the whole cast practically dominated a wing in the hotel of a mall in Pittsburgh, where the screening took place. “We didn’t have any cars, and we couldn’t go anywhere,” Lerman said. “So we grew really tight. We practically lived in the hallway, hanging out all of the time.”
And to Lerman, finding himself through friendship is something he too advocates, “I think there’s a universal message in the film — in people finding themselves and feeling comfortable with themselves,” Lerman said. “I think at least for my friends the big part of those years was creating that support system, that group of people to trust. For those who don’t find it as relatable…”they can see that it’s nice to confide in someone else,” Lerman said.
It’s time to stop staring at the dance floor from the side of the dark gymnasium, guys, and go see Lerman as Charlie in Perks of Being a Wallflower in theaters Friday!