Are you ready to be extra excited about fall movie season? MTV News is kicking off our annual Fall Movie Preview in a big way with the exclusive debut of a brand-new clip from one of the season’s most anticipated movies, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” In addition to the clip, which features a very heartfelt toast to our main protagonist Charlie (Logan Lerman) by kind, quirky and compassionate Patrick (Ezra Miller) we were very lucky to catch up with author/director Stephen Chbosky to talk about how much fun everyone had making the film and what a moving experience it was for everyone involved.
MTV News: How are you feeling with the film? It’s in the can, release date fast approaching?
Stephen Chbosky: I’m feeling great. I’m so excited to finally have it out there and I’m excited to go to Toronto. The only drawback right now is that I’m a little tired. My daughter was born literally 12 days ago, and I’m a little sleepy. Otherwise, I’m great.
MTV: In taking on this project, from writing the book, then the screenplay and then making your feature film directorial debut, did you have any hesitations? What were the conversations like with the studio in getting things off the ground?
Chbosky: I had no hesitations; I just had to wait to be ready. The book was so personal to me and I needed the time to get the distance, to work on my craft and learn from others. And then once I was ready, there was no hesitations I knew I was going to make this movie and I didn’t develop the script I just wrote it on my own on spec and then from the script I got the producers, from the producers we got Emma [Watson] and then we auditioned Logan and then we went to Summit. By the time we reached the studio, there was no hesitation, they were really excited about the project and they gave us the green light.
MTV: Speaking of that cast, all of them are tremendous.
Chbosky: That cast, not just the kids, the kids are fantastic, but the adults, too. What Kate [Walsh] and Dylan [McDermott] did is fantastic, Joan Cusack and Paul Rudd and Melanie Lynskey — they are unforgettable. It’s blessed. I’m telling you we had five weeks to cast this movie, five weeks, and our casting directors did a great job and our associate producer and myself we did a lot of homework. We watched everything that the agencies gave us, and that’s where Mae Whitman came from and other folks, like Johnny Simmons.
MTV: What were the original meetings like with the castmembers?
Chbosky: I met them through the audition process — Emma was an offer. I knew she was Sam. That was easy. Logan auditioned and every other person including the adults, every other person auditioned. The only thing I was looking for, I was looking for a terrific cast. I was looking for great actors, but most importantly, what I was looking for was great people, because I knew with something this personal to me, I wanted the drama onscreen and I wanted a family atmosphere on set and I wanted these kids to have the summer of their lives, because first, it’s good manners, and second, it’s going to lead to a better movie and then ultimately, it did. So just feel, you know?
MTV: What were the first days like on set? When did you start to see the actors gel?
Chbosky: In the way movie schedules work now, there wasn’t a lot of rehearsal period. The auditions become the rehearsal, and I just tried to create an atmosphere, maybe not so much on set because that was all about the work, but off set, where — for example, I’ll never forget the first day I brought Emma, Logan and Ezra and myself together. We had a beautiful dinner over the city, then I took them for the first time to the tunnel, I took them through playing this song called “Happiness” by Riceboy Sleeps and that was our bonding experience. Ezra and Emma bonded by learning all the dance moves to Rocky Horror for the homecoming dance. And then, as we introduced each castmember came to Pittsburgh to start doing their work, the kids just found each other and they made the Crowne Plaza hotel — which was literally 150 yards from the mall where I used to shop as a kid — they made it like a dorm, and they got in a lot of trouble.
MTV: Let’s talk about Ezra and how perfect he is as Patrick.
Chbosky: Ezra’s a force of nature. He is so free and he is generous and he is so nice, and we, God did we luck out because I had Emma and Logan really early on, I knew I had Sam and Charlie covered. Patrick was the wild card, we auditioned a lot of people, some really good people, but ultimately, he was the only choice for that part. And he brought so much life and freedom to the role, just I count my lucky stars. I cannot believe it.
MTV: Are there special moments you kept to add to bonus features for the DVD?
Chbosky: There are deleted scenes, but ultimately it’s funny, what you saw, the final version, I wouldn’t touch a frame of it. If I was given like another million dollars and all the time in post-production and they said “You can do reshoots,” I wouldn’t do anything. That’s the movie I wanted to make. There were some things that I learned as a novelist, now that I’ve directed a movie, things I would never shoot but as a novelist, I wasn’t ready to let go, yet. Like, I shot it, but Charlie has this poem that he reads at Secret Santa and I filmed it. Logan did a beautiful job, but ultimately once I go to Secret Santa, I just felt that we had to keep the momentum and the party going, and it wasn’t appropriate to stop and read a poem. There were other moments with his family, the Sinclair family, which Kate Walsh performed beautifully, but once I got in there, I realized that the movie is really about, it’s centrally about Charlie and his friendships, so I just had to service that, but I’m very proud to put those on the Blu-ray and DVD because I want people to see Nina [Dobrev] and Kate’s work.