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For a guy who's operating on three hours of sleep, Logan Lerman seems surprisingly energetic. "Sorry if I'm a little out of it," he apologizes, over the phone. "I'm just running on adrenaline now." A day earlier, the actor finished shooting The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the movie adaptation of Stephen Chbosky's cult '90s epistolary young-adult novel. Even more than 10 years after its publication you'd be hard-pressed to find a teenager or twentysomething who hasn't read the book - Lerman included. "Of course I've read it!" he says of the unofficial literary rite of passage. "Pretty much everyone has. It'd be terrible if I hadn't."
Lerman stars as the Holden Caufield-inspired protagonist Charlie, an introvert who's exposed to sex, drugs, and depression after some older friends take him under their wing his freshman year of high school. Instead of talking to people about his worries, though, he puts his thoughts into letters addressed to an anonymous mentor figure. Given his character's isolated nature, Logan notes that prepping for the intense role wasn't exactly what you'd call fun. "I went to Pittsburgh before anyone else and locked myself in a room and never left, except to go to T.G.I. Friday's… alone, of course," he says with a laugh. "I've been torturing myself for the past few months in order to get inside Charlie's head."
The young cast (including Emma Watson and Nina Dobrev) shared a common love for the project. "It was one of the most creatively compelling experiences," Lerman says. "The cast is just so mind-blowingly talented." While Perks is a far cry from the former child actor's prior roles in movies like Percy Jackson & The Olympians and 3:10 to Yuma, Lerman's other upcoming film The Three Musketeers, also starring Orlando Bloom, Luke Evans, and Mila Jovovich, is an even bigger departure.
"I'd never done anything before that was so intensely stunt-driven," he says. "But at the same time, there's depth to the characters." In the period movie (out in October) Lerman plays "D'Artagnan, an impulsive local rebel who joins the Musketeers in order to save the French throne. "Because a lot of my scenes involved combat, we were constantly preparing for different fights," he says, of the shoot in Munich. "But on off days the cast would tour around the city, visit old castles, and basically be tourists."
It's hard to believe that at only 19, the L.A. native has already been acting for more than half of his life. Although Lerman admits he wants to direct in the future ("I admire Thomas Anderson, Spike Jonze, and David Fincher") he nows he's got a great thing going. "Even after this long, it's still kind of ridiculous that I can call this my job."