Emma Watson: 'Perks of Being a Wallflower' Set Visit Report!
Check out these new stills from the highly anticipated film The Perks of Being a Wallflower!
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, written and directed by Stephen Chbosky, who also penned the famous novel, is about an introvert freshman (Lerman) who is taken under the wings of two seniors (Watson and Miller) who welcome him to the real world.
Last summer, JustJared.com had the privilege of checking out the film set in Pittsburgh, Penn. Click inside to read our account of the day and our interviews with the cast!
JustJared.com ‘Perks of Being a Wallflower’ Set Visit
When we stepped out onto the set of The Perks of Being a Wallflower on a warm summer morning at Peters Township High School on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, filming was already underway for the day. The cast and crew had been working on the flick for the past couple months and were nearing the end of the shoot. As we would later observe, the cast had formed extremely close bonds with each other while working on the film adaptation of one of the most beloved coming-of-age stories of recent years.
“The shooting schedule’s been kind of crazy and it’s such a great group of people and we’ve all got so close that we mainly just hang out at the Crowne Plaza [the hotel the cast and crew stayed in during the shoot],” Emma Watson told us. “I’m serious. And we play music and pretty much everyone as part of the cast is musically talented in some way so we spend most of our evenings playing music and just talking and just being silly.”
Emma is taking on the pivotal role of Sam in the film, the main love interest of the story’s lead character and the person who encourages him to be himself. While working on the Harry Potter films for most of her childhood until her adult years, she was looking for a film to break out into a new type of role.
“I’d been reading scripts after the fourth Harry Potter movie around the age of 15, 16 and just really didn’t read anything that I really just loved instantly and then… I read Perks of Being a Wallflower,” Emma said. “I was incredibly moved by it and just instantly knew that the movie had to be made and that I had to play Sam. I really wanted to play Sam and was just really drawn to her so and then when I met with Stephen [Chbosky], we just instantly clicked and it felt like I was meeting an old friend and then I met with Logan [Lerman] and I knew he was the perfect Charlie and it was just a really obvious, obvious choice for me.”
Just like when she worked on Harry Potter, Emma had the author of the source material on hand to answer any questions, but she was able to take it a step further with Stephen and create a new vision for the character. “I’m a little bit OCD in that I like to know. I realized this with Hermione, is that I was such a big fan of the books. I knew everything, I mean I’m like a Harry Potter diction read, I could tell you everything and anything and I wanted to be like that about this movie too,” Emma said. “[Stephen]’s right there for you to quiz, anytime I want to ask him anything and he can create new dialogue with me on the spot and we can adapt and that’s been the great thing about him too is that he’s realized that he is making something new.”
Logan Lerman, who is playing the film’s lead role Charlie, had a similar connection to the book as Emma. “I was very similar to Charlie in many ways growing up. And I just really responded to the material. It was just an instant understanding and I just knew that I had to play the part,” he said.
Growing up, Logan was a big Harry Potter fan, as were many other members of the cast, and thought it was great to work with Emma. “It’s really exciting to see her outside of the series and what she’s able to do. She’s not only pulling it off, but she’s blowing people away with her performance,” Logan said.
Ezra Miller might take the cake for the biggest Potter fan out of the cast though.
“Massive [fan]. Massive. [I] read Harry Potter like scripture or something. I—I—yeah. When I was a kid, I did—I had a ritual which in hindsight makes me look like an unhealthy, unattended kid, which was that—yeah,” Ezra said. “I must’ve listened to each of the Jim Dale voice recordings of the Harry Potter books maybe like a couple hundred times each. And that means like putting in the hours everyday, and that’s what I did after school, was just like listen to those books on repeat. You know, here’s what it—here’s what I essentially believe. Here’s what— something that’s very exciting about Emma—truly being such a magical artist— is that, that book strikes a core of human beings all around—all over this world. Those books do for a very specific reason—which is that like, we all feel innately that we are capable of very, very, very wonderful, magical things and that’s not validated in this culture—in this society—and thus the, you know, the ration of people who are actually acting upon these abilities that we have I feel like gets smaller and smaller and—but, you know, the reality is that we have those capabilities and that, you know, Emma—who plays Hermione Granger— has those capabilities as an artist. She is what we look at and say ‘magician.’ [laughs] You know? She is that. So yeah, Harry Potter was important for me but fortunately it’s been—it hasn’t even crossed my mind at any point working with Emma. No, not even for a second because she is quite her own entity.”
Ezra recently opened up about his sexuality in an interview with Out magazine and he delved into the details of his character’s sexuality for us.
“I like how, just like vivacious and unapologetic and proud he is. And I like more than anything that he is a real, sympathetic individual and that—despite the fact that the character is gay—that plays really no part in the formation of the human being,” Ezra said. “I think—I think there’s a—a certain unfortunate—well in the process of this particular—the story telling industry coming to regard gay/queer/bi/trans people on any level, there’s this threat—as there’s been with any demographic coming onto the screen of tokenization essentially—and that’s certainly been happening with gay characters in film—is that, yeah, they become token gay characters because now that’s—that’s expected in media. But Patrick—I just remember reading Patrick and realizing that, ‘oh no. This character has no basis in being gay’—that he’s a fully formed being and that is an aspect of him, as is an aspect of us all. Our sexuality—it’s not the defining quality. It’s just one element.”
Mae Whitman, who plays Mary Elizabeth, told us that if she were to make a fanzine like her character would, she most likely would end up doing it about Harry Potter, just like her other castmates!
“Is it taboo to say Harry Potter? [laughs] Considering the relationship I now have with Emma. Um, I mean that’s definitely one of the things I’m the biggest fan of. Or like Lord of the Rings or comic books. Really big nerd. So ya, I guess it would be either that or food. Just food in general. Two of the things I love the most are Harry Potter and food. It’s tough to choose, or maybe I could combine them somehow,” Mae said.
Mae and Emma both had a blast exploring the style of their characters. Mae even credits costume designer David C. Robinson for getting her to enjoy wearing heels!
“David’s a genius, like he’s literally a genius. And as far as wardrobe designer, he’s one of the best there is, he’s done so many amazing movies. And it’s such a fine art of like creating a character, but also letting the actor think they’re creating the character as well and being comfortable with that. And he really did an amazing job, I mean, I have not worn shoes that are under five inches, like literally. And at first, I’ve never, you will never catch me in heels unless it’s like an event and my publicist is forcing me to. But I think I’m gonna start trying them out, I kind of like them actually. But ya, I mean, the list is too long. I’ll be stealing every dress and everything that I can possible get my hands on,” Mae said.
Emma went so far with creating the look for Sam that she ended up wearing some of her own outfits for the film!
“The cool thing about Sam is that she walks that line between a little bit rocky, but then also she is kind of like a bit preppy and she also is kind of like humorous with her style a little bit as well and she kind of does a little bit of everything, she’s quite eclectic. That was one of Steve’s first notes, he’s like, “she has great style, great attitude, great taste.” So, I mean no pressure, when I walked into costume I was like alright guys this has got to be amazing. A lot of the clothes actually are my clothes that I brought in so I’m actually wearing one of my grandmother’s dresses, which I got altered from like the 80s and I don’t know it’s interesting. I think Sam’s style is interesting,” Emma said.
One of the funniest moments during our time on set came while we spoke to Nina Dobrev. Unbeknownst to us and the other journalists on set, Emma and Ezra decided to dance around in the background and try to make Nina laugh, but she didn’t break at all! Nina said that moments like that were some of her favorite while working on the project.
“Just right now what happened. [laughs] There have been so many moments. This has been like a really light, fun… well, actually, no. All the scenes that I’ve been doing have been dramatic and like sad and heavy. But the set and the people are really cool and we’ve had a lot of really great moments. I don’t know if that’s specifically shooting wise but just in general, this experience has been awesome,” Nina said.
Nina spent her summer going back and forth from working on The Perks of Being a Wallflower to the set of her show The Vampire Diaries. She told us that she’s not intimidated to be taking on a role for a project with a cult following after tackling her role on TVD. One thing that may confuse people though is that her character doesn’t have a name in the book, so they added one for the movie! Nina plays Candace, the sister to Charlie (Lerman).
“It’s funny, a couple of my friends called me and their like, “we read the book but Candace isn’t in it, like who are you? Like you‘re not in it” [laughs] And on The Vampire Diaries there’s a couple characters that weren’t in the book that were just invented for the TV show. So a lot of people had to connect the dots,” Nina said. “But, when you give someone a name, it’s almost easier to judge them. If that makes sense. And I think that’s part of why Stephen, in the books, wrote mom, dad, sister, brother. He wanted it to be left open for interpretation. He didn’t want judgment, he wanted a real opinion that was genuine and honest with it.”
We couldn’t leave set without chatting with Stephen Chbosky, the mastermind behind the book and the film. He left us with a final note about why kids and teenagers today in a world connected by Facebook and cell phones are going to want to watch a story about teens who connected in a totally different way.
“The elements that I think will bring them in is a love story, and a story about a family of friends, and families that are relatable to them, not these fictitious families where parents are complete idiots. You know, let’s face it, it really isn’t true. It’s fun in movies but it’s not true. What I think will bring them in is recognizing themselves and their friends, regardless of whatever devices in their hand or however they choose to communicate,” Steve said.
It was a long journey for Stephen to adapt his novel into a film and he calls it “as cliché as it sounds, it’s a dream come true.” When he wrote the book, he envisioned it as a movie, so we are glad to see that his dream of bringing it to the big screen has finally come true!
Make sure to check out The Perks of Being a Wallflower on September 21 in limited release and stay tuned to JustJared.com as we roll out more quotes from our interviews with the cast!