The last time I saw Johnny Simmons and Mae Whitman in the same place at the same time, it was on the Toronto set of “Scott Pilgrim Versus The World.” I have a sneaking suspicion I’m going to see members of that cast colliding over and over in the future, and that it’s going to remain a very dear memory for them.
This time, we were in Toronto to discuss the new movie “The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” and they had three of the young actors who make up the ensemble grouped together for the chat, including Whitman and Simmons. I didn’t meet Ezra Miller in Cannes when “We Need To Talk About Kevin” was playing there, and I’ll admit that after I saw that film, I thought Hollywood was going to typecast him because of how completely effective he was in the part.
Instead, I think this film will introduce him to a much broader audience, and I think it’s going to have a long shelf life. While I may not have known the book, I’ve come to realize that there’s a big audience out there who read and really enjoyed the book, and it’s important to them. This isn’t just another teen movie to them. The book’s characters are significant because they recognize themselves in them.
In talking to Ezra Miller about his part, he expressed how important it was to him that he get the role because of what it said to him when he read the book. Miller’s work speaks for a large population of teens who are grappling with being honest to themselves but also navigating the perilous waters of high school society, and I think he’s so tremendously charming in the role that it will change the sorts of roles people see him for in the future. That’s good news for him, and I think he’s an exciting talent worth watching.
That’s true of all of these kids, though. Whitman’s still on “Parenthood” each week, part of one of the best drama ensembles on TV, and she’s rumored to be making an appearance in the new run of “Arrested Development” episodes. Johnny Simmons was hilarious in “21 Jump Street” this year. I have a feeling we’ll be checking in with them over in the years ahead, and this is going to be one of the films that will be a highlight for all of them.
“The Perks Of Being A Wallflower” is in theaters now.