TWIST recently got to chat with Johnny Simmons from The Perks of Being a Wallflower! Johnny spilled all about the movie's message, working with Emma Watson, and the late-night hotel jam sessions he had with his co-stars! Check out our conversation below, and be sure to go seeThe Perks of Being a Wallflower, in theaters September 21!
TWIST: Tell us about your role in The Perks of Being a Wallflower!
Johnny: I play the character of Brad who is the quarterback of the high school football team. He's got a lot of friends, fits in at school, and when we first meet him, he's got very good parents. He has the ideal high school experience by a lot of standards.
TWIST: How was your high school experience similar or different from that of your character?
Johnny: I have that in common with him. I had a very good high school experience. I played football my freshman year, I wrestled, I played hockey. I had a lot of great friends, some that are still my best friends to this day. I enjoyed high school. I had a good time.
TWIST: Your character has trouble with his identity sometimes. He doesn't really know who he is. Did you ever go through a time like that?
Johnny: Well I think that's what this whole movie is about, creating your own identity as opposed to what you're "supposed" to be identified as. As kids, we go along with whatever our parents say, and occasionally go out of those lines, but generally, the idea is to follow your parents' version of you. Then right around adolescence, middle school, high school, you start deciding who you are. There are usually two conflicting ideas. Some of the hardest years are those teenage years. I think that's a similar theme throughout all these characters. But yes, of course, I share that in common with all of them. I think that's why this movie is so incredible. The book has meant so much to so many people. I believe to a certain extent that we've all been through that. Even if you've had a great high school experience, you've had that conflicting idea of what you are and what your parents would want you to be, or what society wants you to be.
TWIST: What does it mean to you to be able to play a character from such an influential novel?
Johnny: It means a lot. I'm very grateful for the opportunity. Steve Chbosky [who wrote the novel and the screenplay and directed the movie] really opened up about what it's like to be a teenager. A lot of people shy away from the honesty of that. I think that's one thing that every kid will appreciate about this movie. A lot of people tend to sugarcoat what it's like to be in high school. Steve really opened up about his personal experiences and also opened up about what it was like for his friends and what they went through.
TWIST: What was the vibe like on set? Did you guys have any rituals?
Johnny: Well at one point, we all almost got kicked out of the hotel! Pretty much everybody played a musical instrument. That didn't exactly agree with the hotel's plan of business, especially because it was a bunch of people under the age of 25 playing music until two in the morning. But they came around to it eventually.
TWIST: That must have been fun!
Johnny: Yeah, that was one of the main rituals. Everybody just shared their musical talent, hung out and jammed.
TWIST: Very cool! What was it like to work with Emma Watson and Logan Lerman?
Johnny: It was great! Everybody was great on this movie because everybody shared a similar passion for doing justice to a book that meant so much to so many people. Emma got behind this movie, and after coming off the Harry Potter series said, 'This is the movie I want to make.' She went around to every person in Los Angeles and said, 'This is what I want to do next.' I think everybody would agree that without her, it wouldn't have happened. We were very lucky to have everybody on the set.
TWIST: Why should TWIST readers absolutely go see this movie?
Johnny: Going through middle school and going through high school, it's a tough deal. Nobody can deny that. It's one of the most interesting times in life. I think no matter what you're going through, no matter what age you are, this is a movie that really resonates with everybody. It's a book that really has already resonated with a lot of people. The movie will let you know that it's not the first time somebody has gone through all of that, and it's not the last time. It's got a lot of great messages.
TWIST: That's awesome! Thanks for chatting with us, Johnny!