“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
Those words come from The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the 1999 debut book from writer/director Stephen Chbosky. The epistolary novel consists of letters written by a bright-but-troubled teen named Charlie who describes his experiences with first love, friendship, and finding his own place in the world. Featuring candid insight into topics ranging from homosexuality to abortion to drugs to sexual abuse, Perks could have easily come across as an overwrought work that condescended to its readers. Instead, it was due to the frank, often funny and always human insights that Chbosky poured into every page that the tome became a landland moment in Young Adult literature — one that has been embraced by readers of all ages and backgrounds across the globe.
In 2012, Chbosky accomplished the rare feat of an author bringing their own work to the screen when and wrote and directed the film adaptation of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller, the movie is as smart and touching as its source material (arguably even more so) and has earned a cult audience of its own. The success of the film made him a hot commodity in Hollywood, and he followed it up with the screenplay for the live-action remake of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and by directing the movie version of another YA favorite, Wonder. In 2019 he returned to the printed page with his gripping best-seller Imaginary Friend, which found Chbosky exploring the horror genre.
Stephen Chbosky’s latest directorial effort once again returns him to Broadway (he wrote the screenplay for Chris Columbus‘ 2005 film version of Jonathan Larson‘s megahit musical Rent) with the film version of Dear Evan Hansen, featuring original star Ben Platt reprising his Tony-winning role.
The new episode of The Movies That Made Me features Chbosky in a can’t miss conversation with hosts Josh Olson and Joe Dante in which he discusses not only his fascinating career but the many works that have left an indelible mark on his body of work. Deeply passionate about his work, Stephen Chbosky makes for one of the podcast’s best guests yet, and we think you’ll be captivated by what he has to say, whether you or a longtime fan or new to his visionary projects.
Movies Unlimited’s website presents a complete overview of the titles mentioned in this episode. Don’t be a wallflower, check this one out!