VOD Spotlight: Brothers on and off the set of “Charlie St. Cloud”

By Elaine Bergstrom

Charlie St. Cloud, the story of a young man so overcome by grief and guilt over the tragic death of his kid brother that he retreats into a fantasy world where he believes he can still see him, is based on a novel by Ben Sherwood. Sherwood says the inspiration for his book came from two sources, “First, the sudden and unexpected loss of my father and the accompanying feelings of profound sadness and being frozen in place. … Second, the liberating, transformative power of love.”

Producer Marc Platt wanted to create a film that was not overly sentimental. He chose Zac Efron to play Charlie, having first noticed Efron’s talent in High School Musical and how his skills grew as he matured. “He was free of any pretense,” Platt says. “Zac emanates such humanity and compassion. … As we talked he related his family history and told me about his younger brother, whom he feels so close to.”

The role of Charlie’s younger brother, Sam, went to Charlie Tahan (I Am Legend), an actor with a long resumé for a 12-year-old. “When you see Charlie, you want to protect him,” says director Burr Steers. “This kid’s got an amazing, soulful face, and he’s just a good actor.”

Tahan also formed a quick bond with Efron, as they worked on their baseball pitches or sailing skills. But in their free time the pair would take in movies or hockey games, hanging out like brothers would. Of Zac’s acting in the film, Tahan says, “Zac is amazing; he’s the king.”

Spoken like a good brother would.

“Charlie St. Cloud” is now showing on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.


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