Stephen Chbosky

Belle and Book in Beauty and the Beast

If you were a teenager or adjacent to a teenager anytime since 1999, you are likely familiar with writer Stephen Chbosky and his tear-stained book found in the back of many a geometry classroom, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” It’s the epitome of teen angst, the coming-of-age story about an introverted boy named Charlie and the events that he goes through — some normally adolescent, some traumatic — during his freshman year of high school. You know, just a great time. The book was adapted into a film by Chbosky in 2012, so if you heard any wailing in the theater next door or saw some disheveled 15 year olds grasping each other by the concession stand, you know what’s up. Now Chbosky (who also wrote Rent) is heading to Disney, where he’ll pen Bill Condon‘s live-action Beauty and the Beast. Sure, it’s a tale as old as time, but in that moment, didn’t you swear that girl from the poor provincial town and the monster prince holding her captive in a mansion full of sentient objects were infinite? The studio’s new vision sees their 1991 Oscar-nominated animated classic directly adapted with music from the Broadway show added. Evan Spiliotopoulos, who penned the recent Hercules (the one with Dwayne Johnson) as well as a number of Disney direct-to-video animated movies, already wrote a draft of the remake, but it’s now up to Chbosky to complete a rewrite.

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While We

With yesterday’s news that Emma Watson is reteaming with her The Perks of Being a Wallflower filmmaker Stephen Chbosky for While We’re Young, yet another literary adaptation for the duo (this time of a book by Adena Halpern), there comes both excitement and the lingering sense of “wait, that title sure sounds familiar.” It should – because Noah Baumbach just so happens to be in the middle of crafting his own film titled While We’re Young. Red alert, people, red alert. The popular title is not to be confused with the One Direction song “Live While We’re Young” (don’t let that header image fool you), the teasing comment your sassy grandma yells out when you take too long to drive her to bingo, or the USGA’s “pace of play pledge” that they’ve styled around the saying (golfers, what can you do?). But the saddling of two very different films with the same title will inevitably lead to some confusion, so with that in mind, we’ve cooked up a handy guide to telling apart your dueling While We’re Young films. Here’s hoping no one else decides to jump on this moniker-addled bandwagon, we’ll just have to update this damn thing.

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watson2

Despite the fact that everyone with a soul loved the Harry Potter franchise, there was quite a bit of speculation following its completion as to whether or not the three young actors who made up the core of those films’ casts would be able to transcend their iconic roles and go on to have continued success in the acting world once they were over. Emma Watson didn’t take long to prove that she’d do just fine, however, and the big reason she was able to do that was the head-turning supporting role she was given in Stephen Chbosky’s 2012 film The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Given that Chbosky was primarily known as a writer, but was now going to be handling directing duties on Wallflower (which was an adaptation of his novel of the same name), there were more questions floating around regarding how successful that film was going to be than just whether or not moviegoers would be able to accept Watson as anything other than Hermione, but, in the end, Wallflower was one of the most pleasant surprises of 2012, and Watson’s performance ended up being one of the biggest highlights of a film that was full of them. And now there’s some news that Chbosky and Watson are going to be looking to rediscover some of that old chemistry, as a new project has them slated to work together again.

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commentary-wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the story of Charlie (Logan Lerman), a teenager struggling to fit in with those around him (including Emma Watson and Ezra Miller) while also dealing with traumatic memories from his past. It’s a rare film in that it manages to be very personal even as it speaks to so many people. The disc contains two commentaries, one with writer/director Stephen Chbosky and another with six cast members plus Chbosky. I watched the film twice, back to back, with each of the commentaries, and the combination of experiencing it (mostly) free of dialogue, where actors’ expressions and the film’s editing tells the story while the creative team explores what the film meant to them has altered the movie for me in a profound way. I liked but didn’t love it upon first viewing, but as someone who watches way too many movies I know that sometimes a re-watch under different circumstances or in a different frame of mind can have a dramatic effect on how you receive a film. The fact that it happened to me while watching with the commentary track on is a definite first for me though. Keep reading to see what I heard with this week’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower Commentary Commentary…

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Author Stephen Chbosky made an ambitious choice as his first feature film: his own acclaimed novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. From the pressure of living up to the reputation of your previous work to appeasing fans, that’s a daunting task. Considering the film’s critical acclaim and the successful opening, that publicity challenge Chbosky faced has been conquered. As for the actual “making-of” challenges, the book presents many narrative difficulties: the book’s told in an episodic structure; stuffed full of flashbacks and subplots; and the book has a twist which we don’t see too often in High School dramedies. Speaking with Chbosky, those are factors he was well-aware of, all of which he approached with delicacy. That delicacy has made for, as he told us after our interview, a film “he wouldn’t change a frame of.” Here’s what Chbosky had to say about adapting his own work, setting his actors free, and the power of David Bowie’s music:

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower Review

In attempting to write a review for Stephen Chbosky‘s cinematic adaptation of his own novel of the same name, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I ran into a problem (a problem big enough that I’d feel the need to use frequent “I” statements in said review, a big no-no in my book). It’s impossible for me to write a review of Perks that would, in any way, be able to masquerade as an objective take on the material (and, of course, no review is ever wholly objective, and you’d do well to remember that straight away), because Chbosky’s book made an indelible mark on me as a teenager, one that I’ve never been quite able to shake. Chbosky’s book was published on February 1, 1999. I got a copy of the book as a gift from my first boyfriend about two weeks later. For those of you not keeping track on my personal biography, I was fifteen in the winter of 1999, a sophomore in high school who, though lucky enough to have a ton of friends and great parents and good grades, still felt a bit awkward (being a bookworm and a movie buff and a modern art freak didn’t help — these weren’t cool things to be, yet). I’ll stop you there — yes, everyone felt awkward in high school, but the experience of being a teenager is a profoundly insular one, so most of us don’t know (often for quite some time) that everyone else felt […]

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After his break-out performance in We Need to Talk About Kevin, it looked as if Ezra Miller would be permanently doomed to creeper status, haunting the edges of our collective cinematic nightmares forever, so I was predictably cagey about his casting as Patrick in Stephen Chbosky‘s The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. Author Chbosky has adapted his own (beloved) novel for the film (which he also directs), and while so much of the film’s other casting – namely Logan Lerman as protagonist Charlie – seemed spot-on, Miller bothered. Patrick is one of the first people who makes Charlie feel accepted in high school – a profound feat once you’re aware of how much young Charlie has already endured and how much Patrick himself is going through – and Miller hasn’t previously seemed to be the type of actor who could pull off such a kind-hearted character. Wrong. In the first trailer for Perks, Miller steals the show as Patrick – he’s hilarious, zingy, vibrant, and about as far removed from his We Need to Talk About Kevin character as humanly possible. Everyone else looks totally radical, too (after all, the book is set in the ’90s), but Miller is the main attraction here. Check out the first trailer for The Perks Of Being A Wallflower after the break!

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published: 10.30.2014
B-
published: 10.29.2014
D+
published: 10.27.2014
C-
published: 10.24.2014
C-


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