in some ways The perks of Being a WallflowerThe legacy of is like the tunnel that supports its cinematic rendition: a warmly lit, strangely mystical portal. Nestled in the Pittsburgh suburbs, the freeway underpass opens the coming-of-age movie, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this week, and serves as the backdrop for its most heavenly sequence. in his last moments Logan Lerman‘s Charlie hurtles down the same tunnel, arms in the air, musing that his youth will inevitably fade one day, but for now, “We are infinite.”
A decade later came the cult classic that Stephen Chbosky Adapted and directed from his own debut 1999 novel, feels less like an old photograph and more…You know. “It’s always there for me,” he says vanity fair. “Not a week goes by that I don’t speak to a young person or receive a letter, phone call or email from someone who has been deeply touched.”
And although its world-weary protagonist, Charlie, warns that there are “people who, when they turn 17, forget what it’s like to be 16,” Chbosky, now 52, is not one of them. “I’m one of those guys who hasn’t forgotten what it was like to be young,” he says wistfully. “And over the years, I remember even more.”
However, he is the first to admit that he will “become a father” (his first child was born the same year as perks release) has shifted his perspective on the more troubling themes of the story, including suicide and childhood sexual abuse. “I’m grateful I did the film before I had kids,” says Chbosky. “I find some of the harder things that kids go through to be a lot more painful to watch as a parent of kids than I did as a young person. I would have taken a few punches if I had made it later because it would have been too difficult to see people you love go through difficult things.” He adds, “In life we can’t control that, but in art it is.”
Undoubtedly beyond Chbosky’s power is the alleged wrongdoing of Ezra Miller, who brought in eccentric high school student Patrick (alongside a post-Harry Potter Emma Watson as his soulful stepsister Sam), from page to screen. In 2022, seeing Miller perform as an outwardly charismatic, inwardly tormented teenager is witnessing a turning point in becoming a star –Zack Snyder was convinced to cast Miller The Lightning out perks— but it’s also inevitably complicated given the actor’s alleged misdeeds and tarnished public image in recent years.
Chbosky, who previously spoke about Miller vf‘s latest coverage of it, hasn’t had much contact with the now 29-year-old since perks. “I guarantee you know a lot more about Ezra Miller personally than I do these days,” he insists. But the filmmaker can’t help but speak of the embattled star with the same earnest reverence he bestows on his characters. “I hope Ezra finds the light they shone so brightly when we were making the film, because the kid I met was a remarkably magical person,” says Chbosky. “And I always like to believe that that person is always there and I hope they can find the help they need.”
In a wide-ranging conversation, Chbosky addresses vf how The perks of Being a Wallflower— an intimate, modestly-grossing indie despite its rave critical reception — has enjoyed a pop-culture legacy far longer than the fleeting teenage season that chronicled it.
vanity fair: What was your biggest fear of adapting your own work?
Stephen Chbosky: I don’t know if I was afraid to adapt it, but I felt a tremendous responsibility. When I wrote the book in New York in my twenties, it was just for me, but when I published it and heard from all the young people, I realized that it was way too much for me and that it meant a lot to me, a lot of really great ones People. I felt as committed to making a wonderful film for her as I did for myself, but it wasn’t fear. It was more of a joy.
I just felt like I wanted to protect and support that. Considering I’ve had so many offers over the years to sell the book to Hollywood and I’ve turned it down over and over and over again, I just wanted to wait until I had the tools to complete the story to tell correctly. And when I look back at the amazing cast while making the film, I think the film gods smiled at me and that some things were really worth the wait.
https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2022/09/the-perks-of-being-a-wallflower-tenth-anniversary-stephen-chbosky-interview ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ Comes of Age