Monday, July 26, 2010

Preview: Charlie St. Cloud

All things good come to those who wait, and teenage heartthrob Zac Efron has a lot of good to deliver to his fans in his latest movie, Charlie St. Cloud. The romantic drama follows the title character (played by Efron) after he survives an accident that allows him to see life in a new and unique way.

“It was interesting to step into Charlie’s shoes and play a guy who’s down on his luck, who feels numb and doesn’t think he has much to live for,” Zefron said. “I tend to play characters who are more energetic, full of life and dance a lot. But Charlie is very different. The role was a 180-degree change, and that was extremely exciting.”

Son of a single mother (Kim Basinger) and older brother of a boy named Sam (Charlie Tahan), Cloud is on his way to success with a scholarship from Stanford. When tragedy takes his brother Sam away, an unfulfilled promise to never leave his brother haunts Cloud and leads him to leave behind his dreams and becomes a caretaker at the cemetery where Sam is buried, the same cemetery where he plays baseball with his visions of Sam every evening before sunset.

When unexpected love comes his way, however, Cloud finds himself torn, especially since the woman he loves is about to leave town on a sailing voyage around the world. Is it a twist of fate that has brought her into his life now, when she only has a week until she leaves? Just as Sam helps Charlie to find the courage to let go of the past for good and pursue the girl he loves, he discovers the soul most worth saving is his own.

Efron reunites with director Burr Steers (17 Again) for this stunning drama based on Ben Sherwood’s critically acclaimed 2004 book “The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud.” The novelist crafted the novel after a deep loss of his own.

“The book came from two very personal places,” Sherwood said. “First, the sudden and unexpected loss of my father and the accompanying feelings of profound sadness and being frozen in place and not even realizing how much of an impact that grief can have on one’s life. Second, the liberating, transformative power of love—the way in which love can unlock so many things and give you the strength and motivation to move forward with your life.”

As producer Marc Platt looked for a performer to play the lost young man, Platt knew he “wanted to find someone with the humanity and charisma that this character possesses, but who wouldn’t be dour and sorrowful.”

Platt said Efron met the criteria needed for an actor to play such an emotionally complicated character, and noted that it was Efon’s maturity that first struck him as unique and worthy.

Zefron, who has a younger brother, himself, said he felt a connection to the story when he first read script.

“There was a familiarity, a lot that I could relate to and a lot that I recognized in Charlie,” Zefron said. “I thought Charlie’s relationship with Sam was real and honest, and I admired the qualities that I saw in him. I thought they were very heroic.”

Filmed on location in British Columbia, Charlie St. Cloud provides not only a heroic, captivating story, but a captivating setting as well. Much of the film takes place on the water, where Cloud races his sail boat. After his brother’s death, Cloud stops sailing, but the winds keep blowing, and change may bring about a new day when Cloud can sail once again.

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