In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, an introverted boy named Charlie survives the hardships of high school by finding his place in a group of misfits. The magic of Stephen Chbosky’s novel and movie is that the warmth and spirit of these friends leaps off the page, making you believe in their relationships and feel like you too are a part of their quirky group. Miraculously, the same thing happens in Chbosky’s movie — and we think that’s due to his intuitive casting process which gathered a group of actors who became fast friends on the set in Pittsburgh.
“We sort of all fell in love with each other immediately and we still are to this day,” Mae Whitman, who plays Mary Elizabeth, told VH1 Celebrity. “I mean we spent every night together hanging out in hotel rooms and playing music and being loud and crazy. It was really like an experience of a lifetime for me. It was really amazing.”
Ezra Miller (Patrick) also told us about those afterparties. “The best times for me were in these stuffy hotel rooms where all of us would amass nightly and just play music and kind of lose ourselves in sound and in our relationships with one another,” he recalled.
That kind of instant friendship seems to be rooted in the fact that these were all people Chbosky himself clicked with right away. “We had auditioned two people for [Charlie], and [Logan Lerman] was the second one. Five seconds into the audition, and I knew he was the kid,” he told us. “I knew these characters so well, and I knew them from the inside out, far more than what I thought they looked like. When I sat down with Emma in NY I knew I met a kindred spirit and I knew I had Sam. And when I did the callback with Ezra over Skype, even though it was over Skype, I just knew I’d found Patrick.
“There’s a magical moment that happens when you’re casting a movie and you know the characters, when each character comes in it just goes click,” he continued. “And that’s every character, that’s Mae Whitman that’s Johnny Simmons (Brad), that’s Erin Wilhemi who plays Alice, who has five lines but I’m in love with her performance.”
So when you watch Charlie, Sam, Patrick and their friends toasting at a party or exchanging Secret Santa presents in the movie, it’s not all acting there. These are real interactions among friends.
“It’s an incredibly rare thing I think to find a whole group of people outside of the high school experience,” Miller said of the cast. “After college, I feel like it becomes increasingly rare for a group of people to meet each other all coming from such different places and to completely recklessly abandon self and really find a family or a tribe. That’s beyond a lasting memory; it’s a lasting reality that I’m endlessly appreciative of.”
[Photo: Summit Entertainment]