Sex, drugs & mix tapes
It seems like they were a really tightly-knit group. So the friendship spilt over into real life?
Definitely. They are all lovely. You have to understand that when I was casting the movie, I was casting people, and it was very important to me that the people that were telling the story were kind and supportive and were nurturing of each other - and of me! Because I didn’t want divas, that’s not how I deal with things.
Not only were they good people, but each of them - for different reasons - had something to prove with this movie you know, and that’s exciting. If you’ve got people on board that are hungry to prove something, there’s nothing better, there really isn’t. I look at it this way, like the way I look at rock bands. For the first couple of albums, they’re on fire. They have so much to say and do, and that’s how it is for them.
Well we definitely couldn’t have thought of better people to play Charlie, Sam and Patrick – they are all individually so like how we imagined the characters in the book. If you were ever going to take one of their characters any further, whose would it be?
Well I’d like to write about all the characters but it would have to be Sam AND Charlie. You know, in different stages of their life, like working in an office or whatever. There are always certain people that stick out for you and ultimately the love story between Sam and Charlie is something that will always be there for me. I think it’s the enduring story, them together.
Do you think it’s something you might ever go back to?
I don’t know, I might. I love the kids and it would be lovely to make another film with them. Maybe we should just get them all back together in ten years and tell another tale!
We’d love that and at least Charlie will have left high school long behind by then. He doesn’t have the best time to start with, but what were you like in high school?
Well I had my public self and my private self, which were two very different people. I mean I had friends and I was an athlete – I played soccer – and I did musicals and that kind of thing right through school too life was OK and externally I was great. But internally I had a lot of questions and a lot of demons, and so some of those came out with Perks.
So is it Charlie you identify with most or did you put different parts of yourself into the different characters?
I relate to them all but of all the characters, Charlie is definitely the one closest to my heart. It’s kind of a combination between Charlie and then externally, the smart-ass part of Patrick.
We slightly fell in love with Patrick, he’s definitely one of our favourite characters. If you had a time machine and could go back and give your half-Charlie, half-Patrick teenage self some advice, what would you say?
The advice I would give would probably be to tell yourself and the people that you trust who you really are and you’ll be accepted for exactly that. I think kids are very like chameleons, partly because they’re trying to find their own identity and partly because they don’t know if they can or should admit all these things that are going on inside of them. But generally I think you won’t be happy until you admit things to yourself and to the people you’re close to.
That’s kind of the message of the book too isn’t it?
I could say things like ‘you are not alone’ and ‘you’ll get through’, and talk about some of the issues in the book and how people get through, but that’s exactly it. That's what Perks is all about!
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is out on DVD now. It's awesome and you should probably get it. And the book.