Chris Colfer's amazing new movie, Struck by Lightning, officially hits theaters today -- and we could not be more excited for the film's release! The film, based on the novel -- both written by Chris -- is the story of Carson Phillips, an aspiring writer, who blackmails the most popular kids in his high school to submit to his literary magazine. Along with his best friend, played by Rebel Wilson, Carson (who's also played by Chris) faces everything from a difficult family situation to the disappointment of not getting into the college of his choice -- while never losing his sarcastic wit! [Editor's note: This was one of the only movies this year that made me laugh and cry all at the same time!] In honor of the film's release, we caught up with Chris to talk all things 'Struck by Lightning' -- and how much of the film is based on his real-life high school experiences!
Plus, check out MissLiterati.com's book review of 'Struck By Lightning'!
J-14: How did this whole project come to be for you?
Chris Colfer: Well, it started out as a bit of a passion project in high school and then luckily I had a little success with Glee. And I thought, 'Wow, I actually have a platform and an opportunity to maybe get this done.'
J-14: So, you write this book -- and then decide to turn it into a screen play! Was it difficult to adapt the novel into a movie?
Chris: I think writing the novel was much more difficult because any time you write any kind of book, it's very, very challenging. It actually wasn't that difficult writing the screenplay. It actually flowed very nicely. I didn't really struggle with it too much. But luckily I had had that screenplay, which was almost an outline for the novel -- the novel was taking that screenplay and stretching it out as much as possible and creating character dynamics and relationships that weren't in the screenplay or the movie. [And during filming] I was constantly re-writing the script. Every time I would flub a line or get it wrong, the script supervisor would come over and be like, 'Hey, you got this wrong.' And I'd be like, 'Nope! I re-wrote it!' [Laughs]
J-14: Too funny! Okay, be honest: how much of Carson is really high-school aged Chris?
Chris: I would say the whole story is inspired loosely on experiences that I had in high school. I think Carson is someone that I always wish I was -- I always wish I could vocalize my opinions as freely as he did, but I was always too afraid.
J-14: Were you on your high school's literary magazine like Carson was?
Chris: I was! I was president of the Writer's Club in my high school and the big thing that we did every year was the literary magazine. And getting people to submit writing to the literary magazine was horrible. The things that I would do to try to convince people to submit short stories and poetry was just ridiculous. I mean, at one point, I was photocopying their homework assignments. [Laughs]
J-14: Oh my gosh! Sounds like something Carson would do! So, as funny as this film is, it also deals with some serious subjects that teens face -- like bullying and blackmail. What would your advice be for teens struggling with bullying at school?
Chris: Probably the same advice that I give myself now: that it just doesn't matter. People are always going to have their opinions and people are always going to try to bring you down, especially if you have a little bit of an advantage over them in some area. I think the best thing to do is to kind of do what Carson does and to remember that high school ends and that people are always going to have an opinion.
J-14: And just for fun: tell us one thing that no one knows about you?
Chris: Hmm...a lot of people don't believe me, but I'm really into jiu-jitsu! A lot of people think I'm really sarcastic, but I actually really am into ninja stuff. I own a lot of ninja weapons and am semi-trained in a lot of them. And everyone always assumes that I'm joking, but I'm not. And there are videos online to prove it. I'm also a really great baker -- I love baking cookies!
Photo Courtesy of Tribeca Film