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Posted 05 Dec 2001   For week ended November 23, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 01Dec01

By Kent Larsen

Weyland's 'Charly' on Film in March

REXBURG, IDAHO -- What may have been the first popular LDS youth novel will appear on screens in Utah and Eastern Idaho starting in March. "Charly," the 1980 love story by BYU-Idaho physics professor Jack Weyland, has sold mor ethan 250,000 copies since its publication. It has also been both beloved by many and dismissed by critics of popular Mormon culture.

Weyland's own story of writing the novel is one of heartbreak and hard work. He says that the story of how the novel was written starts when he went for a walk one day and ended up seeking a Neil Simon Broadway play. Seeing the play made him decide to convert a short story he had writen, titled "Charly," into a play.

But as a play the story didn't go anywhere. After many rejections, Weyland then decided to turn the play into a novel. Published in 1980, it became almost ubiquitous in LDS bookstores and on the shelves of young Latter-day Saints in Utah and Idaho. The novel struk a chord with young women, who loved its story of a young woman, "Charly" teaching a young man, "Sam," to appreciate life in a more open way.

But Weyland credits the book's success to the fact that he wrote it during the summer after his father died, "I transferred some of the grief I was feeling into the book," he said. "It just rings so true."

In spite of the book's success, it wasn't until seven years ago that anyone tried to turn it into a film. Adam Anderegg asked scriptwriter Janine Gilbert, now a BYU-Idaho English instructor, to write the screenplay, her first. Weyland, who himself has written five screenplays, says it was a challenge, "I think this is her story perhaps more than mine," Weyland said. "She suffered writing the screenplay over and over again. Janine is the most patient person I have ever known as far as screenplay."

Now, bolstered by the success of "God's Army," Anderegg has started filming in Utah. Producer Micah Merrill says Anderegg is trying to make a film faithfull to the book, "We're trying not to lose what makes this story so important to lots of readers," Merrill said. "We've got a wonderful cast. It just looks incredible. They want to put their heart in it, and I think that's going to show up on the screen." The film stars Heather Beers (Cover Me) as Charly and Jeremy Elliot (The Testament) as Sam.

For his part, Weyland hopes that this is just the beginning and that he can be involved in the filming of his work in the future, "I've always wanted to do this," he said, laughing. " 'People, people, work with me here!' I just don't know what happens after I say that."


Professor's love story becomes film
Boise ID Statesman (AP) 17Nov01 A2
The Associated Press
Physics instructor at BYU-Idaho writes books on the side


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