Although the potential for recognition this awards season is definitely there for the deeply moving teen dramedy "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," star Logan Lerman feels in many ways, he's already a winner by simply having the chance to experience the project.
"I honestly don't have any expectations. I was satisfied with the filmmaking process, and when it was done I said, 'That's it. It's perfect," Logan told me, humbly, in a recent interview. "I ended up seeing the movie and really enjoyed it, but as far as the awards attention, it's all very flattering and nothing I was really expecting."
Perhaps the bellwether of good things to come happened last week with the Film Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best First Feature for writer-director Stephen Chbosky, who adapted the film from his best-selling novel of the same name. Lerman said it's only right that Chbosky's vision is being recognized, because it's what brought everybody together.
"I really hope people recognize Steve's incredible script," Lerman enthused. "Every element of it went into the process of making the movie and what it turned out to be. I would definitely praise his material. It was beautifully written."
Now playing in theaters nationwide, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" stars Lerman as Charlie, an introverted teenager gingerly entering freshman year in high school. Emotionally fragile since childhood, Charlie believes the prospects are bleak until he forms an unlikely friendship with Patrick (Ezra Miller) and his half-sister, Sam (Emma Watson) -- a pair of free-spirited seniors who change the wallflower's life in ways he could never have imagined.
To make sure that he and Chbosky were on the same page, quite literally, Lerman said read the filmmaker's book version of "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" prior to filming. He reveled in the chance to work with a talent who was writing and directing a project based on his own novel -- something that doesn't happen in Hollywood too often.
"It was like having a little cheat sheet there -- he was the No. 1 asset to have around and I took advantage of it," Lerman beamed. "I read the book before shooting because it was important for this type for film. It's not like a really loose interpretation of it. We were trying to keep it really similar to it so the fans who appreciate his book would be really satisfied, so we worked hard at doing that."
One of the key aspects of "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" is the relatability factor it has with its audiences, especially as Charlie enters high school without a friend to call his own. And while most audience members hopefully won't have suffered the trauma Charlie has at this point in his life, they'll definitely relate to how vital friendship is to the high school experience.
"I think everybody's been there -- everybody's been in that position," said Lerman, who will turn 21 next month. "It's definitely nostalgic, but it's also about the importance of those relationships you make at that point in your life, where you find people that you can trust and confide in."
Lerman said the reason Charlie's friendship resonates on screen is because of the real bond he formed with his castmates -- especially Watson and Miller.
"I haven't worked with many young casts," said Lerman, who apart from "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" has had roles in such adult-themed films as "The Patriot," "3:10 to Yuma" and "The Three Musketeers." "This is the first time I really ever bonded with the people that I've worked with. We all became very close friends and are close, still. We talk all the time."
Plus, on a creative level, Lerman said. Watson and Miller are people he's long admired.
"They're actors I've really wanted to work with," Lerman said. "They put us in a hotel for a few months and we spent every second together, which gave us the chance to really create something as a unit -- something that felt right and original. It was creatively stimulating."
And speaking of creative inspiration, Lerman also had the rare opportunity with his castmates to do a bit of role-playing, burlesque-style, at a late-night screening of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" in one of the wilder scenes in "Wallflower."
"It was so much fun, although I admit I was nervous with my insecure self, having to go out in front of an audience wearing only a gold thong," Lerman said with a laugh. "It was a little uncomfortable, but a lot of fun."