Zac Efron’s ‘Charlie St. Cloud’ is Better Than in The Book

Charlie Tahan, Zac Efron in Universal Pictures

Zac Efron improves on the character of Charlie St. Cloud from the original book version in his Friday (7/30)-release film, “Charlie St. Cloud.”  And that comes from a man who should know, Ben Sherwood, who wrote the book “The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud.”

“The character in the novel is kind of a sad sack, frankly,” says Sherwood.  “He’s a darker and more damaged character.  The genius of this casting move, of having Zac play the role, is that he fills Charlie with a credible sense of promise, hopefulness and dynamism.”  Not to mention those biceps!

This is the kind of role Efron was looking for – a stretch into dramatic territory after his successes in musicals and comedy.  His character, wracked with guilt over a car accident in which his younger brother is killed, discovers he can see and communicate – and play catch — with his ghost.  Sherwood says he wrote it when he was in a fog of grief over the loss of his father, that “It’s deeply personal, but not autobiographical.”  And no, he’s never seen a ghost.

By the time Hollywood came calling, Sherwood was working in his former post as executive producer of “Good Morning America.”  So, “to be perfectly honest, I was very distracted, and I think that was probably an excellent way to manage the anxiety of the development process.”  He only learned of Efron’s casting after, appropriately enough, receiving a congratulations phone text while he and his wife were sitting in a movie theater.

Lately, Sherwood has been focusing on the imminent re-launch of his “The Survivors Club” website with a major media company he won’t name as yet.  Spun off Sherwood’s non-fiction book of last year, the site is designed to assist people who are going through adversity, whether health struggles, unemployment, loss of a loved one, or disaster.  So the whole “Charlie St. Cloud” premiere and release experience, he says, “feels very surreal to me.”

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This entry was posted in The Hollywood Exclusive by Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and tagged , , , on by .

About Stacy Jenel Smith

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley when it was a kids' Shangri La in the 60s and we had Fabulous Eddie's miniature golf and trampolines on Ventura Boulevard. My big brother frequented The Third Eye psychedelic shop back in the day, but he wound up turning out anyway. Dad was an NBC video man who worked on "Laugh-In," Dean Martin's show, and specials by everyone from Sinatra to Fred Astaire. Mom was a first class home maker and PTA and GCA volunteer. They're still doing great. Anxious to get going in life, I quit college and jumped into journalism when I was still a teenager, and was writing for the New York Times syndicate and People magazine before turning 20. But that was a long time, many adventures, lots of traveling around the world and thousands of interviews ago. I go back to the very last days of hot type and getting to talk to Henry Fonda and Bette Davis, and Sammy Davis at the old Brown Derby...What a ride. That's in no small part thanks to my amazing writing partner, Marilyn Beck, one of the grand old-school Hollywood columnist stars -- a true star -- who knows how to do it right. I'm lucky, for sure. Now is fun, too. I love going out to events with my 17-year-old daughter (Jonas Brothers!). Seeing everything fresh through her eyes renews my excitement about the game. In-between I went back and finished school -- University of Redlands -- married, divorced, and at long last found my true love. My favorite things outside of the show business realm are being with my family, my faith and spiritual growth, learning new things (from doing Qigong to uploading stuff on Facebook), and running. See you on the trail.

2 thoughts on “Zac Efron’s ‘Charlie St. Cloud’ is Better Than in The Book

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