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
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