For my first few days at the Sundance Film Festival, I was nothing but a press-badge holding bug waiting to be squished. A film-happy bug on some pretty cool party lists, sure, but a bug nonetheless. On Park City's crowded, paparazzi and bodyguard-filled Main Street, only one type of person truly matters: the celebrity.
This is one of the many reasons why I had a blast spending a few hours of my Sunday (January 25) with Charlie Carver -- occasional star of MTV's own "Teen Wolf" -- who is in town for his very first Sundance promoting the James Franco-led film, "I Am Michael." Let's just say, in a nutshell, that Charlie's Sundance experience has been much, much different than mine.
"It’s been great," Carver said, when I asked him about his first 24 hours in town. "A mix of a lot of press -- which is a lot of photos with these amazing photographers, who have booze -- and portraits and then cast shots. I also saw a screening of ‘I Am Michael’ yesterday, in a small little room, before the premiere next Thursday. There’s a lot of energy in Park City right now, having never been before -- it’s a lot bigger than I expected."
It is big, and based on the fan reactions to Carver, it's only going to get bigger. When I first met up with the star, we headed straight for the IMDB.com picture studio on Main Street. The actor was very apologetic when he was unable to pose for photos with his admirers: his "I Am Michael" lunch with Franco and Zachary Quinto had run long, you see.
And it's a wonder that he was even able to get from press shoot to press shoot to begin with, given his wild-sounding time with the King of Instagram himself ("he loves taking selfies," Carver confirmed) the night before.
"We’ve got a karaoke video somewhere that will probably never see the light of day," Carver said with a laugh. "We were singing a mash-up of Whitney Houston and a little 4 Non Blondes. That’s always a solid karaoke choice."
But Carver was in top form all day, smiling as he walked up and down Main Street from interview to interview, and graciously posing with screaming fans -- who at one point had to be pulled back by security, despite already being behind a barricade -- whenever he possibly could.
"The ‘Teen Wolf’ fans are so great," Carver said, though he also added that he doesn't necessarily miss the workouts he had to do to support all of that shirtlessness. "That’s the majority of the young fans who are here, and excited to take photos and stuff. It’s fun. It’s super fun. I don’t think it gets scary, but you can get surprised. The love for the show is ferociously strong."
After wrapping up Carver's IMDB interview and taking some time to pose with his fans, we headed to a gifting suite. For those not in the know, Park City's Main Street is chock full of stores that pretty much only have free, high-end swag set aside for celebrities. He was there looking for a beanie he thought he'd lost earlier in the day, which sadly got lost in all the shuffle:
Since Carver's next interview had just been pushed back, we tried to find a place to sit and chat in peace, but the proliferation of Carver-followers had slowly grown as we walked up Main Street. We ended up ducking into a back alley of shops and parking it on a secluded bench, but a few stragglers still managed to find us, and sat patiently with their iPhones and selfie sticks while we talked about altitude sickness, our shared love for the show "Broad City," and Carver's twin brother/frequent collaborator, Max.
"Yeah!" Carver exclaimed, when I asked if he missed his dearly departed (on "Teen Wolf," spoilers) bro. "He might come in here later in the week for the premiere, but he’s busy right now. It’s nice -- what’s exciting about this for me is getting to do something on my own that is getting really good attention, and is something that I believe in. I love my bro, but not always being with him is good for us."
Also, Carver had three other, surrogate "big bros" to help him through his Sundance experience -- Franco, Quinto, and his "I Am Michael" director, Justin Kelly.
"I’ve always looked up to James, and Zach, so it’s been such a learning experience being around them here... just taking in a lot of information about how they handle [fame]," he said. "They don’t put a lot of weight on what kind of power that fame gives you. They’re just authentic, great people."
And as for the advice Franco gave him about how to handle his first Sundance as an up-and-coming celeb, Carver says he stuck to the small stuff.
"The chief advice has been, ‘Oh, it’s your first time, just enjoy it. Take it all in,' Carver said. "It’s great to be here promoting something, and having a schedule... There’s a lot going on. If you have a sense of direction, the festival takes hold and you’re just along for the ride."
It definitely seems like it -- after our fifteen minutes were up, Carver posed with the selfie-stick fans, and headed down to the Acura tent to prepare for his next interview. This is how things are going to be for him for the next few days -- minus the dinners and karaoke jams, of course -- which is why the actor said he's chomping at the bit to have some free time to actually hit those slopes... on skis, not a snowboard. Definitely not a snowboard.
"I don’t want a bruised tailbone before the premiere," he said. "If I snowboard, I will eat it. I know you’re less likely to get injured [snowboarding], but that doesn’t change the fact that I would get injured. I’m not a bad skier, though. I’m pretty happy with my skills."
"I Am Michael" is currently playing at the Sundance Film Festival.