To wrap up the trilogy of Charlie St. Cloud posts, here are my recaps from the mommy blogger roundtable. For my review on the film, CLICK HERE. To hear how I found myself across the table from Hottie McHotterson, CLICK HERE. And, to learn insightful, mind-blowing facts about the stars of the movie…keep reading.
ZAC EFRON (CHARLIE ST. CLOUD):
Any nervous energy I felt about meeting Zac Efron quickly dissipated when he walked into the room smiling, laughing and giving props to the mommy bloggers. His down-to-earth demeanor helped put us all at ease, and swoon, just a little.
ON THIS ROLE: When asked about the on-screen relationship between Charlie and his brother Sam, Zac opened up on his own IRL brother and father. He is very close with his younger brother, so was able to pull from that, and go to the emotional places he had to go in this movie.
Zac sees his character of Charlie to be a sort of father figure to Sam since their dad has passed away. “He teaches (Sam) the rules on how he lives his life. If you put your heart and soul into something and you really commit and give it 100% then you can be the best at anything you want to do. And you can make it in this world.” He went on to say that his own dad instilled those same principles in him and made him believe that he could do whatever he wanted to do with his life. That support and encouragement was a powerful force for him when he was growing up.
ON KIM BASSINGER: Zac gave a sheepish grin when asked what it was like to have Kim Bassinger play the cameo role of his mother and said that it was a little weird because, “she’s too pretty.” (And then all the mommy bloggers said, “Say what? Mom’s can’t be pretty? You better back up, son.” Okay, I made that up. Actually we all giggled loudly and gratuitously). But in all seriousness, he said she was wonderful to work with, very warm and open. After takes, instead of heading to the craft service table or his trailer, the two of them would stay on set talking together.
ON RAY LIOTTA: According to Zac, and not surprising to those of us who have seen Good Fellas, Ray knows, “everything to say that’s cool. He has a swagger that he doesn’t even know he possesses.” With Ray every take was different, so Zac was never sure what was going to happen next.
FAVORITE SCENE OF THE MOVIE: A scene early in the film when he and his brother Sam are playing catch in the street. It reminded him of playing catch with his dad.
WHO HE WANTS TO WORK WITH: Since he’s a big fan of last summer’s hit The Hangover, director Todd Phillips is on the top of his list. I can totally see Zac alongside Bradley Cooper for some Vegas-Bound High Jinks, particularly after his recent shenanigans in New York City.
WHAT’S NEXT: Zac is currently working on developing a few scripts with his new production company, Ninjas Running Wild. Rather than waiting for a script to come to him, he wants to proactively search for good material. He says it’s a more fulfilling method of working on a film. When asked about the name of the company he said he wanted something memorable but wouldn’t disclose how they came up with it. Hmmm…very sneaky!
CHARLIE TAHAN (SAM ST. CLOUD):
I had the privilege of sitting with this unaffected young star for fifteen minutes before the main roundtable began so I was able to get to know a lot about him. As you can tell by the brevity of his answers, he’s a typical 7th grader with a ton of other things he would rather have been doing than hanging with an old mommy blogger like me. But nevertheless, he was adorable and delightful.
HIS FIRST ROLE: A Werther’s Caramel commercial when he was five.
WHAT WE HAVE IN COMMON: We both love Toy Story 3.
FAVORITE PART OF WORKING ON A MOVIE SET: The people and the free food.
FAVORITE CRAFT SERVICE TREAT: Crunchie Bars—sponge toffee candy bar
FAVORITE SUBJECT IN SCHOOL: Language Arts.
HOPES TO WORK WITH: Jack Nicholson & Will Ferell.
BEST ADVICE: “Just be yourself.”
FAVORITE SCENE OF MOVIE: Trash can lid surfing in the rain.
WHAT’S NEXT: He hopes to do a comedy…maybe with Will Ferell?
AMANDA CREW (TESS CARROLL):
Amanda is a stunning, sarcastic, self-proclaimed klutz who has managed to (so far) keep her priorities straight amidst the shimmering lights of Hollywood and her attitude towards the industry grounded. She found out on her birthday last year that she was in the running for the part of Tess and needed to do a “chemistry test with Zac.” Um, hello. That’s quite a birthday present.
ON HER CHARACTER: Amanda loved that Tess, a strong, ambitious young woman, with many layers, is a good role model for girls. Tess knows what she wants and goes for it. She credits this role as helping her grow into a more independent, brave woman herself. And for giving her countless bruises since she had never done much sailing prior to this film and had to learn on set. In fact, many of her real-life bruises are visible in a few of the scenes.
ON LOVE: When asked about the decisions her character makes regarding love, Amanda replied, “You can plan your whole life to do something but, as everyone experiences, different stuff comes in and shifts you off course and you have to re-evaluate things sometimes. When you feel that connection with someone it’s crazy. Love is scary. [Tess] didn’t run away from it.”
ON CHILD ACTING: Amanda’s mom waited until she was fifteen or sixteen to find her an agent, so she could have a little maturity under her belt, for which Amanda is very grateful. Her advice to other kids: “Make sure this is what you want to do and if it’s your passion, don’t let anything stand in your way. Take classes and do what you want to do.”
WHAT’S NEXT: Amanda’s next film is an Independent dark film called Repeaters in which she plays a drug addict.
Trust me peeps, keep an eye on this gal!
BEN SHERWOOD (AUTHOR/PRODUCER):
Though I adored my encounter with the three stars of this movie, particularly my chest/back rub action with Zac, the most fascinating, and actually my favorite interview was with Ben Sherwood, the author of The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud, from which the movie was adapted. As gracious and unassuming as you can imagine, he walked into the room, promptly shook all of our hands and proceeded to open up his heart to us about his book and the subsequent movie. It was a candid interview in which he shared precious stories about the recent birth of his second son, ironically named Charlie (not after Charlie St. Cloud, but after Charles Gibson who Ben used to work with at Good Morning America), and about losing his father at the age of seventeen.
BEST ONE LINER: When asked what he thought of Zac Efron in the title role, he replied. “I love Zac. I HEART Zac.”
He went on to say that Zac is a “young man who is filled with so much promise and potential–the definition of who Charlie is.” And after watching the film, I have to agree with Ben. Rockin’ the hard abs and good looks are one thing, but to possess that intangible star quality, that X Factor that Simon Cowell will soon be telling us all about, is quite another.
BEST INSIGHT INTO THE MOVIE: We asked Ben about the significance of Charlie and Sam playing baseball in the woods. He poignantly told us about his fond memories of playing catch with his dad. That memory of them tossing a baseball together is the thing he holds on to ever since his dad’s sudden death when he was seventeen. He remembers even the smallest detail of how his dad held the glove a certain way because it wasn’t fully broken in. Now, Ben’s older son loves everything about baseball and bought his new brother a tiny Dodger ball and bat.
WHAT’S NEXT: Ben’s first novel, The Man Who Ate the 747, is currently being turned into a Broadway Musical. You know I’ll be seeing that.
P.S. Thanks to NBC Universal for including TodaysMama in on this press junket and thanks to Rachael for sending me on her behalf! Nope, still haven’t showered.