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'Perks of Being a Wallflower' director says film changed his life

September 20, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" tells the story of Charlie, a shy and sad high school freshman whose life might get better after some upperclassmen invite him into their world.

"When I was making the movie, my secret hope was that I'd make a move that would make people not feel alone, whether there was, like, a teenage kid or their parents, that they would feel validated and respected for what they go through," said the film's writer-director, Stephen Chbosky.

"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" has some dark, even devastating moments. Chbosky's story is semi-autobiographical. It even takes place right where he grew up: Pittsburgh, Penn.

"I shot in my hometown. And to be able to go to the theater where I first saw 'Rocky Horror Picture Show,' or there's a little scene on Christmas Eve where the aunt is talking to little Charlie, and if you turn the camera slightly to the left, that's my house. And my parents got $1,500 of location fees and they're so happy," said Chbosky with a laugh.

Chbosky was happy to get "Harry Potter" star Emma Watson in a lead role, along with rising stars Ezra Miller and Logan Lerman, who plays Charlie.

"He was the second person to audition for Charlie," Chbosky said. "And after Logan's reading, there was no need for anybody else, you know? Within five seconds, you just know."

"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" has generated some strong audience support.

"It's really strange that you can point to a moment in your life and think, 'My life will never be the same,'" he said. "But it's when we got a standing ovation from 1,200 people at the Toronto Film Festival. From that moment on, suddenly, like, two days later on Monday, 'Hey, Steve, you want to look at this book?' 'Oh sure, okay.' And then, here we go."

"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" also features Paul Rudd, Dylan McDermott and Kate Walsh. It's in theatres Friday.


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