Tag Archives: The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud

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

Charlie Tahan, Zac Efron in Universal Pictures "Charlie St. Cloud"

Charlie Tahan, Zac Efron in Universal Pictures "Charlie St. Cloud"

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.”