‘Words On Bathroom Walls’ makes it okay to talk about schizophrenia

TACOMA, Wash. — Charlie Plummer is already establishing himself as an actor, a model, and a young man with his own unique casual fashion sense. He says he’s not missing the red carpet as much as you would think.

“Quarantine has helped me so much because before quarantine all I really liked to wear were sweatpants and t-shirts,” he says. “And now that’s all I have to wear. The best thing is just keeping it casual”

In Words On Bathroom Walls, Charlie’s life is pretty casual until something scary happens in his high school science class. He suffers a psychotic episode that leads to a diagnosis of schizophrenia, a chronic mental disorder allowing for visual and auditory hallucinations.

Plummer has been open about having panic attacks and anxiety in real life. He says shooting this indie film in just a few intense weeks was a real challenge.

“Putting yourself in a chaotic headspace, even though it will never be a fraction of what I imagine the real experience to be, it still can be a lot of times,” he says. “And you know I have my own relationship with my own mental health and so yeah I think it all kind of connects.”

Most teen movies deal with awkward crushes and fitting in at school, but Words On Bathroom Walls adds something new to the mix. Plummer’s Adam tries to navigate high school while keeping his schizophrenia a secret. To prepare for the role he met psychologists dealing with young men who’d just been diagnosed and not just to learn what it feels like to have a psychotic episode.

“I also wanted to understand the ‘every day’ of it and how it affects the rest of your health, your mental health and how you feel about yourself and your self-esteem,” he says. “ Everything.”

Vancouver, BC native Taylor Russell plays Maya, a potential love interest trying to figure him out.

“What I learned about schizophrenia is that so many people in this world deal with it and have families that do,” she says. “I think it’s time we see stories that are reflective of people’s everyday lives.”

Words On Bathroom Walls is a poignant sometimes funny movie that suggests the ultimate act of love is trusting someone with your deepest secrets.

Words On Bathroom Walls is rated PG-13.To see it you will have to visit movie theaters in Lacey, Olympia, Chehalis or Aberdeen. There is no scheduled release date for video on demand.

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