The success of The Vampire Diaries has allowed Nina Dobrev to be picky when it comes to her film work during the show's annual hiatus, the actress told Movie Fanatic exclusively. She chose wisely with taking the role of Candace in the page-to-screen effort for Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower, co-starring Emma Watson, Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller.
“It just has to be the right thing. You just kind of know. It’s really difficult to put into words. I’m sure Emma [Watson] feels similarly,” Dobrev said.
“But, when you read something and you fall in love with it, you can’t imagine not being in it. I’m constantly looking for that. You’re right, I am busy. So I’m not just going to do something to just do it. And sometimes it doesn’t work. There have been plenty of times where I have been incredibly passionate about something and it hasn’t worked out for me because of the scheduling of the show.”
Dobrev found numerous themes in Chbosky’s story that spoke to her as passionately as the millions who have devoured the bestselling book.
“It’s really powerful. For different reasons, different characters spoke to me. I didn’t have as many similarities with Candace. She was abused, got pregnant and then had an abortion but it didn’t actually come out in the movie,” Dobrev said.
But what is congruent between the movie and the book is that her character is a straight-A student. “She’s an overachiever and I can relate to that. I’m constantly trying to better myself and juggling a million things. I strive for perfection all the time in every area of my life and so does Candace. I’m kind of a control freak,” Dobrev added and laughed.
The actress appreciated the journey for Candace, as established by author Chbosky. “When something like that [getting abused] happens and the control is taken away from you, if you’re a victim, a lot of people either go into denial or they make up excuses and blame themselves,” she said. Dobrev is eager for the audience’s take on her struggle within the stellar collective character growth in The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
“You kind of get muddled and you can’t see anything objectively. I like that the audience when watching this movie can stand back and witness this. You have a clearer view from the outside and you can see the bigger picture. Hopefully people will take something from that.”
Dobrev’s film is one of the rarest of entities: It captures the angst of teenage years with a lens so real, it speaks to numerous generations.
What was the one high school-set film that spoke to Dobrev? “Honestly, I was in high school when Mean Girls came out so it’s not as profound and dramatic. It didn’t have that kind of an effect on me but that was the movie that came out and was funny,” she admitted. “It was a breakthrough movie for its time.”
In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Lerman plays Dobrev’s onscreen brother and she reported that he simply blows it out of the water. “I’ve known him for a while actually. We’d never worked together before. We got close many times,” Dobrev said. She almost got cast in his big break blockbuster film.
“It was almost he and I for Percy Jackson,” Dobrev admitted and laughed. “I’ve seen him as so many different characters, so many different sides of him. I’d never seen this side of Logan, in such a nuanced, subtle, beautiful portrayal and performance. When you put Stephen and Logan next to one another, I think that Logan just absorbs Stephen’s energy and really delivered.”
Dobrev found filming The Perks of Being a Wallflower as equal a joy as those who have treasured the book. “I think it’s a true portrayal of what going through high school and growing up is like. A lot of people feel like it’s the end of the world and everything’s so dramatic at the time. There’s a line that Sam says, I can’t quote it directly right now, but basically that college is so great -- just wait, it gets so much better,” Dobrev said.
“She says something like that and it’s true. And it trains you for life because life’s just going to get harder and harder. But everyone’s gone to high school. Everyone’s had those experiences but this is one of the few times we see a true portrayal of what high school’s like and what growing up is like.”
The Vampire Diaries star heads off to further film the world of Damon and Stephan Salvatore after our chat, ever aware of her enormous career opportunity that is this particular moment in time. “We just got back a month and a half ago so I’m right in the middle of filming next season of Vampire Diaries. I’m looking for the next one, waiting for something to really grab me,” Dobrev said of her next film effort.
It’s not hard to tell as well that Dobrev loves the entire The Vampire Diaries experience. “I feel like the show just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” Dobrev said.
“We get the perks of having a great, successful show that people love, but then we also get to be shooting in Atlanta and have our own normal lives. It doesn’t happen often that you get to do what you love but you still get to be a real normal person. It’s like the closest thing that an actor will have to a regular job.”