In 1979, Jack Weyland set a goal to write his first novel. A year later, Deseret Book published Charly, and the LDS fiction world has never been the same. For more than 20 years, the best-selling story of a quick-witted girl from New York and a cautious boy from Salt Lake has been cherished as a "beloved" classic, according to Doug Wright, KSL radio personality and host of KSL's The Movie Show.
At last, that novel comes to life on the big screen as a feature-length film. Produced by Focused Light films and Kaleidoscope Pictures, Jack Weyland's CHARLY is a modern adaptation of the enduring tale of love, of faith and of hope.
Shot on location in Salt Lake City and New York City, the cast features relative newcomers Heather Beers and Jeremy Elliott. Ms. Beers has held roles in USA Network's Cover Me, indie film Fortune Cookie and several national television commercials and regional theater productions. Mr. Elliott most recently starred in the feature film Out of Step (Vision Star Entertainment), as well as The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). His extensive television and theater credits include USA Network's Cover Me and Pacific Blue.
Marketed in partnership with Deseret Book, the film is set to release in Utah and Idaho theaters fall 2002, with an expanded national release beginning in Arizona and California. This fall, Deseret Book will also publish a special edition of Jack Weyland's original novel, Charly, which will feature new jacket cover and designs in correlation with the film.
"I have been closely involved in the transition of Charly from novel to movie," said Weyland. "It was a difficult job to take a book published in 1980 and make it contemporary, while at the same time preserving what thousands have loved about the book." He continued:
Janine Whetten-Gilbert, a colleague of mine in the English Department at BYU-Idaho, wrote the screenplay for the movie. She has infinitely more patience than I'd have had trying to please everyone, but finally she did it! Good job, Janine!
I'm grateful that Adam Anderegg, the director, and producers Micah Merrill and Lance Williams made this a labor of love. I am wholeheartedly enthusiastic about the screen version of Charly and encourage everyone who loved the book to go see it.
For more information, visit the official movie website at www.JackWeylandsCharly.com. Read on to hear more from Jack Weyland on his experience writing the book and his views on the film adaptation.
Question: Charly was wildly successful, especially for a first novel. Did you anticipate that kind of reception?
Jack Weyland: No, not a bit. I had no clue. Money was so tight then, our hot water heater was going out. The mattress on our bed was so shot that my wife's back was hurting, and she was sleeping on the floor. I was so new to the publishing business I wasn't even sure if I would get paid for writing Charly. Deseret Book asked me to come to Salt Lake for my first book signing, and that's when I found out they had already sold 8,000 copies of Charly and expected sales to continue. I called my wife and told her about the new contractshe had a headache when she answered the phone, but it was gone by the time the conversation was over. Needless to say, we got a new mattress and a water heater.
Q: What inspired you to write Charly?
JW: I was at a physics conference in New York City, and I could only stand to stay at the conference maybe two or three hours a day, then I'd sneak out and go to museums. I had always wanted to go to a Broadway play but I never had any money. I was at Times Square my last night out, and I ran into this booth that sold half-price tickets. It was a quarter to 8:00, but they still had a ticket for Neil Simon's Chapter 2 play. I ended up on the third row, in the center of a Broadway theater! I was blown away by the dialog, and I thought, "I can do this. It's true I have a Ph.D. in physics, but I'm going home and writing a Broadway play!" That play was Charly, but of course nobody wanted it. I thought that if you'd attended a play, that was enough qualification to write one. When I got nowhere, I turned it into a novel.
Q: Did anyone in your own life influence the novel's characters?
JW: Yes, Charly's sort of a composite of my wife, Sherry. Sherry's a New York native who converted to the LDS Church, and her parents have always been rather amused by her conversion. My wife has a great sense of humor, and she has that pure Christian love. I've learned so much from Sherrylike Charly, she sees every person as someone to be loved. I think in the book, you can tell at a moment's glance that Sam tends to compartmentalize people into being acceptable and unacceptable; I suppose that's a feeling I had about myself. For the storyline, I also drew from the experience of watching a good friend lose his wife just after having their first child. I was so impressed he could speak at his wife's funeral and testify that they would be together again some day. And after my father died of cancer, I guess I transferred some of my own grief and hope to the story, as well.
Q: How does it feel to have your first novel go to film?
JW: It's amazing. To see it, to see the result of so many people working toward the same vision that I had for the book, it gives the story new life. It is just an incredible experience.
Q: How did you feel before you saw a cut of the film?
JW: Fear. Just total fear. What if I didn't like it? I prepared myself by thinking, "It's okay because authors aren't supposed to like their movies."
Q: What were your first impressions after you saw the film?
JW: I was overwhelmed by the movie. Janine [the screenwriter] and her husband and I screened the film in a small room. The film ends, and I'm crying; Janine's crying; and her husband's crying. We were just so amazed that it's able to generate that kind of emotion, especially in me, because, wait a minute, I wrote this!
Q: What about the film most pleases you?
JW: It is a story for anybody, because lots of people have a crisis of faith; lots of people suffer the loss of a loved one; lots of people have to learn to be more like the Savior. I think this moves beyond a Mormon experience to be more universal.
Q: Did you get involved in casting any of the roles?
JW: No, because I am a person who is more auditory than visual. I hear characters' dialog; I don't see them. The visual stuff of filmmaking is better left to the experts.
Q: What is your opinion of the people who were cast?
JW: I was very impressed with the entire cast. In fact, the actors have already replaced the original mental pictures I had of the characters.
Q: What approach do you take when you begin writing a novel?
JW: I start by writing dialog for pages and pages. It's how I become acquainted with my charactersat first I don't even know what they look like, but I can hear their voices. I also get a lot of help from my editorsEleanor Knowles was very helpful with Charly. The book was not very good at first. In fact, one writer was talking to Eleanor and said, "It's too bad Charly isn't publishable." The editors just kept working with me, and I got better. Eleanor knows I'm greatly in debt to her.
Q: What are your favorite novels you've written?
JW: My favorites are, of course, Charly, A New Dawn, Jake, and Megan.
Q: Any plans for your next novel?
JW: I'm working on a piece that is something of a mirror image of Charly, with a young woman who goes to New York and meets a conceited, impossible young man. It's exciting for me to be delving into this next novel.
"Jack Weyland's Charly" is due to hit theaters Sept. 20, and all indicators say the show will make it, said one of the show's producers.
"'Charly' is one of those films that everyone can find something to identify with and make their own," said Lance Williams, a producer for the movie.
Williams, who has worked on films for a general audience, said he became interested in the Latter-day Saint market after seeing Richard Dutcher's "God's Army."
He said "God's Army" marked the first time a film aimed squarely at the LDS market was embraced commercially. Williams said he and Tip Boxell left the theater after watching Dutcher's film knowing their next project would be thematically Latter-day Saint.
"The question was what to do," Williams said. "We knew that it would be of the utmost importance to pick the right project. I was overwhelmed with the thought of Jack Weyland's first novel, 'Charly.' It was one of those feelings that washes over you with such power, you can't ignore it. Tip instantly concurred with the idea."
When the two set out to procure the rights from Weyland, they learned a small Utah County company called Kaleidoscope Pictures had already optioned the rights.
"Neither had made a feature film before, but both had strong backgrounds in the motion picture industry. The call was made and a meeting set to discuss their plans with 'Charly' and to explore a possible co-production," Williams said.
Kaleidescope Pictures agreed to merge the production, and the team started filming last autumn.
Williams said the best part of producing the movie was editing the film in the basement of Micah Merrill, who is another producer for the film, and Adam Anderegg, the director.
"It was done mostly during the winter and it was freezing cold," Williams said. "We all took turns catching colds, but the exhilaration we felt from seeing the story come alive was worth it."
Williams said his favorite scene in the movie is a series of shots of Sam and Charly on a Ferris Wheel, because his family owned amusement parks when he was a child and also because he likes what the image represents metaphorically.
"We've had a lot of men comment that they think 'Charly' will be a 'chick flick,' but don't let the romance angle fool you," Williams said. "'Charly' is a deeply stirring story of not only love, but faith, loss and redemption as well. What it lacks in explosions and car crashes, it makes up in substance."
According to the movie's Web site, Weyland wrote the book soon after his father died and put some of the emotions he was feeling into the book.
However, Weyland said one of his favorite parts of 'Charly' is the humor.
"My wife Sherry told me that when I was writing 'Charly,' I used to laugh in my sleep. Is that weird?" asked Weyland. "But, of course, the most important part of the story, the part that has made it a classic, is the message that love is eternal."
|Nicki Merry||Relief Society Friend and Visitor Center Patron|
|Brad Warwood||Sam's Brother|
|Michael Lisle Smith||Art Collector, AIM|
|Ron Hausman||Henry (Supporting Role)|
|Benjamin Barton||Art Connoisseur|
Director Adam Thomas Anderegg Producer Micah Merrill Producer Lance C. Williams Associate Producer Tip Boxell Executive Producer Herbert Christensen Screenplay Janine Whetton Gilbert (Based on the novel by Jack Weyland) Director of Photography Bengt Jan Jonsson Editor M. William Merrill Production Designer Kee Miller Sound Paul Maritsas and Jeff Kimball Wardrobe Shari Ohnam Makeup Greg Moon Composer Aaron Merrill Unit Production manager Russ Kendall
The names of the director (Adam Thomas Anderegg), producers (Merrill, Williams, Boxell and Christensen), composer (Aaron Merrill) and writers (Janine Gilbert, and of course Jack Weyland) have previously been announced by this website, the official movie website, and other sources. The other names are news to us. We are familiar with the individuals, but had not known they were the behind-the-scenes crew for "Charly."
Bengt Jan Jonsson, cinematographer for "Charly", is a graduate of BYU film school. He has lived in Los Angeles but currently lives in Salt Lake City while his wife attends law school at BYU. He was the cinematographer of "The Snow Child" (1997), a short film directed by Marc Marriott, and "Nowhere to Go" (1998), an independent feature film written and directed by John Caire. Second unit director of photography on the feature film "Happy, Texas" (1999). Second unit camera operator on "Drowning Mona" (2000). Studio electrician for 17 episodes of the TV series "Sjatte dagen" (2000-2001). Camera operator on The Last Tzaddik" (1998). Assistant to photographer on "Den Demokratiske terroristen" (1992).
M. William Merrill, editor for "Charly," is no doubt just an alternative name for "Micah W. Merrill," the movie's producer.
Kee Miller, production designer for "Charly," was previously the production designer behind the stunningly beautiful and evocative look of "Brigham City" (2001), as well as the PBS documentary "American Prophet: The Story of Joseph Smith" (1999). Miller is also a storyboard artist for the upcoming Harrison Ford/Steven Spielberg/George Lucas blockbuster "Indiana Jones IV."
Paul Maritsas, sound pro for "Charly", was also the Production Sound Mixer for Blair Treu's feature film "Little Secrets" (2002) and for the independent film "Just a Dream" (2001), directed by Danny Glover. He has previously worked in various sound crew positions on the short film "Baby" (2001), and the independent feature films "Partners in Crime" (2000) and "Friends & Lovers" (1999), among other projects.
Jeff Kimball, sound pro for "Charly", has worked alongside Paul Maritsas as the boom operator for Blair Treu's feature film "Little Secrets" (2002), as well as "Baby" (2001) and "Just a Dream" (2001).
Greg Moon, make-up artist for "Charly", has numerous credits, including "Nobody's Baby" (2001), "The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd" (2000), "Drive Me Crazy" (1999), "Christmas Mission" (1999), "The Arrival" (1996), the IMAX film "Ozarks: Legacy & Legend" (1995), the Feature Films For Families video "The ButterCream Gang" (1992) and the video "Saturday's Warrior" (1989). Moon was the key makeup artist for Blair Treu's "Little Secrets" (2002).
Aaron Merrill, composer, makes his feature film debut with "Charly." Merrill previously composed the musical score for the short film "The Touch" (1997), which was produced and directed by the "Charly" team of Adam Anderegg and Micah Merrill.
Russ Kendall, Unit Production Manager for "Charly", is best known a popular LDS singer/songwriter. He lives in Springville, Utah. "Charly" is his first major film credit. He previously worked as a set production assistant on Scott Featherstone's independent film "Same River Twice" (1996).
The name of costume designer "Shari Ohnam" should be spelled "Shari Ohman." Shari's previous credits as costume supervisor or costume designer include Lee Groberg's documentaries "American Gunmaker: The John M. Browning Story" (1991), "Trail of Hope: The Story of the Mormon Trail" (1997), "Enduring Legacy: The Story of Firearms" (1992) and "American Prophet: The Joseph Smith Story" (1999), and the 70mm Church-produced film "The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd" (2000).
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 4, 2002 Contact: Mary Jane Jones Media Relations, Excel Entertainment Group 801-358-7020; email@example.comFinally, CHARLY to be Released in Theaters on September 27
Here's a rundown of of the movies being released this fall. As always, the release dates are subject to change.
Heather Beers and Jeremy Elliott star in "Charly," adapted from Jack Weyland's best-selling LDS novel.
Photo Courtesy Excel Entertainment
CHARLY -- This drama adapts author Jack Weyland's best-selling LDS novel about a New York woman (Heather Beers) who becomes involved with a returned missionary (Jeremy Elliott, from "Out of Step").
HANDCART -- Locally produced feature, a fictionalized historical drama about the Mormon pioneers and their perilous journey from the Midwest to Utah. Directed by Kels Goodman ("Yankee 2 Kilo").
PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE -- Romantic comedy featuring the unlikely teaming of director Paul Thomas Anderson ("Boogie Nights") and star Adam Sandler. Emily Watson and Philip Seymour Hoffman co-star. [Webmaster: Featuring four Latter-day Saint actors -- the Stevens brothers -- playing four brothers from Utah who are Sandler's nemesis in the movie.]
THE CORE -- Ensemble science-fiction thriller starring [Latter-day Saint actor] Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank and Stanley Tucci as scientists making a last-ditch effort to save mankind by journeying to the center of the Earth.
THE SANTA CLAUSE 2 -- Tim Allen reprises his role as the title character in this sequel to the popular seasonal comedy. This time he has to rescue his son and find a Mrs. Clause if he's going to continue as Kris Kringle. [Written by Latter-day Saint screenwriters Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio.]
[Other movies in this rundown of upcoming movies: Asoka; Barbershop; One Hour Photo; Stealing Harvard; Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever; The Banger Sisters; Elling; The Four Feathers; Happy Times; Slap Her. . . She'S French; Trapped; I Am Trying to Break Your Heart; Mostly Martha; Sex With Strangers; Sweet Home Alabama; The Tuxedo; Jonah: A Veggietales Movie; Moonlight Mile; Red Dragon; Spirited Away; 24 Hour Party People; Welcome to Collinwood; Below; Brown Sugar; Knockaround Guys; Pokemon 4ever; Swept Away; The Transporter; Tuck Everlasting; White Oleander; Abandon; Children on Their Birthdays; Formula 51; The Ring; Ghost Ship; Jackass: The Movie; The Truth about Charlie; Frida; I Spy; 8 Mile; Auto Focus; Bloody Sunday; Bowling for Columbine; Drumline; 8 Women; A Guy Thing; Heaven; Igby Goes Down; Invincible; Secretary; They; Wakin' Up in Reno]
"ALL OF LIFE'S RIDDLES ARE ANSWERED IN THE MOVIES"
Since it's back-to-school time, let's begin our look at the fall movie season with a pop quiz:
Question 1: Which of these seemingly impossible screen pairings can be found in a movie this fall?
a) Funnyman Adam Sandler and "Magnolia" director Paul Thomas Anderson
b) Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry and the nickname "Bond girl"
c) Oscar-winning actress Kim Basinger and rapper Eminem
d) Liberal documentarian Michael Moore and NRA President Charlton Heston
e) All of the above
Question 2: Which of the following will be associated with a science-fiction movie this fall?
a) Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh
b) Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank
c) Robert Louis Stevenson
d) A Japanese
girl in the strangest cartoon you ever saw
e) All of the above
Question 3: Essay question -- What movie, called "a personal triumph" for its producer/star by no less an authority than Roger Ebert, is the early favorite in this year's Oscar race?
The answer to the essay question is "Frida," which received much acclaim last week at the Venice Film Festival...
...and "Auto Focus" (October or November), writer-director Paul Schrader's look at the kinky life and strange death of "Hogan's Heroes" star Bob Crane (Greg Kinnear). ["Auto Focus" features actress Kelly Packard in a small role] Mormon pioneers face hardships in "Handcart: The Movie" (Oct. 11)...
Love and Laughter
Adam Sandler may dent his dumb-guy image by playing a romantic lead -- and forcing himself to, you know, act -- in "Punch-Drunk Love." Even stranger, this romantic comedy is directed by mopey auteur Paul Thomas Anderson and co-stars the usually suffering Emily Watson ("Hilary & Jackie," "Angela's Ashes"). ["Punch-Drunk Love" co-stars the Stevens brothers] Sandler also gets animated in the PG-13 Hanukkah story "Adam Sandler's 8 Crazy Nights" (Nov. 27).
More romantic comedy: Reese Witherspoon stars in "Sweet Home Alabama" (Sept. 27) as a New York socialite who has to face her long-buried Southern heritage; romance complicates a German chef's recipe for living in "Mostly Martha" (Sept. 27); Jack Weyland's LDS-themed novel "Charly" (Sept. 27) becomes a movie...
Robert De Niro plays a cop whose son (James Franco) is wanted for murder in "City by the Sea" (opens today) [co-starring Eliza Dushku]...
And in case you miss summer-movie "Armageddon" scenarios, "The Core" (Nov. 1) offers up a doozy: The Earth's core has stopped spinning, and a crew -- including Aaron Eckhart and Hilary Swank -- must drill to the center of the Earth before the planet breaks apart.
...Another sequel: "The Santa Clause 2" (Nov. 1), with Tim Allen returning as the Jolly Old Elf -- in need of a bride [written by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio]... and with "Spirited Away" (Oct. 4), Japanese master Kayao Miyazaki's surreal tale of a girl forced to work her way out of the spirit realm. In "Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie" (Oct. 4), the faith-based crisper dwellers retell the Bible story of the guy and the whale. And "Pokemon 4Ever" (Oct. 11) arrives, for reasons no one can quite comprehend.
Really Real Life
Left-wing crank Michael Moore, bless him, takes on America's gun culture in "Bowling for Columbine" (October or November), a controversial documentary that includes Moore's ambush interview with Charlton Heston...
Oscar winners, trying again: ...and Kevin Spacey fights to avoid Texas' Death Row in "The Life of David Gale" (December) [featuring actress Katherine Willis in a small role]...
But two major productions will likely dominate the Christmas season. One is "Chicago" (January), a big-budget adaptation of the hit musical, starring Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere. The other is "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" (Dec. 18), Peter Jackson's vision of the middle portion of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic trilogy -- and, considering how good the first chapter was, fans can hardly wait.
Jack Weyland's CHARLY opens September 27th!
The book changed a generation...
The movie will change you...
Fall in love all over again!
This highly anticipated independent film, based on the best-selling novel, opens Friday, September 27th in theaters across Utah and southeastern Idaho. CHARLY then hits theaters in Boise, Phoenix, Mesa and Tucson on October 11th and nationwide after the holidays.
Click here to find a theater near you.
When author Jack Weyland first published his groundbreaking novel, CHARLY, he had no idea it would turn into the word-of-mouth phenomenon it did. First released in 1980, the book immediately became a bestseller, capturing the hearts and imaginations of a generation.
Twenty years later, this captivating story is being brought to the big screen. The film captures the spirit and energy of the book while adding new dimensions to the characters readers fell in love with two decades ago.
Be a part of the sensation! Forward this email to your friends and neighbors and make plans now to see Jack Weyland's CHARLY on opening weekend September 27th, 2002.
Enjoy the show
and fall in love all over again. . .
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Mary Jane Jones Media Relations, Excel Entertainment Group 801-358-7020; firstname.lastname@example.orgEight-Month Baby Girl Who Lacks Immune System to Benefit from Gala Premiere of Jack Weyland's CHARLY
SALT LAKE CITY -- Emily Heaps' parents were thrilled with the birth of their seemingly healthy little daughter. Her two older siblings were delighted to have a baby sister to bring back to their home in Lehi.
Then the Heapses discovered their baby was born with a rare form of a condition called SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency) -- or no immune system. It's been six months since a risky bone marrow transplant, and little 8-month-old Emily is still fighting for her life.
The premiere of the film "Charly" next week will raise money to benefit Emily.
Emily's parents are Matt and Jill Heaps of Lehi.
"Emily was born without any T cells and B cells," Jill explained. "Remember the bubble baby? That's what she has."
Medical personnel don't isolate such children anymore, but in effect the Heaps' house becomes a bubble as Jill cleans, dusts and vacuums every day for two to three hours and uses Lysol on everything and everybody who comes into the home.
"We can't go anywhere with Emily," Jill said. "We can go in the car and go for walks if it's not sunny." Extreme weather can cause the baby to have a severe reaction.
The Heapses take Emily to Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City weekly for blood tests and X-rays. Once a month she gets an immuno globulin shot to protect her immune system.
Once a week a woman comes into the home to care for Emily so Matt and Jill can play, hike and do normal things with their two older children, Jacqueline, 6, and Thomas, 4.
"We have so many people around us willing to help," Jill said.
The family has set up a special account to help pay the mounting medical bills -- that account will get a much-needed boost next weekend with the gala premiere and opening weekend of the new film, based on Jack Weyland's "Charly."
One of the film's producers, Micah Merrill, is a neighbor and friend of the Heaps family, and has been aware of Emily's medical situation from the beginning. At his suggestion, all the proceeds from the premiere on Thursday will go directly to Emily Heaps' medical fund.
"Charly" opens in theaters across Utah and southern Idaho on Sept. 27.
What causes a baby to be born with SCIDs?
"It's a recessive gene from both my husband and I," Jill said. "It's a one in a million chance that we got married and a one in four chance that we'd have children like this."
Karen Hoag contributed to this story and can be reached at 344-####.
LDS Cinema marches on, again.
A genre that scarcely existed two years ago, when Richard Dutcher's "God's Army" hit Utah screens and spread across the country, now is popping up everywhere.
Two more LDS-themed movies arrive in Utah in the next month: the romance "Charly" on Friday and the pioneer drama "Handcart: The Movie" on Oct. 11. The current issue of Newsweek has a short item, headlined "Mormons: They're a Laugh Riot," that mentions how the success of "The Singles Ward" has spawned eight more LDS-themed comedies -- including Nathan Smith Jones' in-the-works mockumentary of the genre, "The Work and the Story," which (if the film's Web site is not itself a spoof) also stars Dutcher...
PHOTO CAPTION: Heather Beers, Jeremy Elliott in "Charly," based on a popular LDS romantic novel. The movie opens in Utah theaters Friday.