(NEW YORK) — Words on Bathroom Walls, based on the popular YA novel by Julia Walton, follows a teenage boy who gets diagnosed with schizophrenia. When he enters a new school, he tries to keep his diagnosis a secret but that gets harder when he meets and falls for a fellow classmate.

Charlie Plummer, who stars as Adam, tells ABC Audio he felt pressure to get his portrayal right, and to show Adam as a well-rounded teenager whose illness doesn’t define him.

“They’re still young guys. They still have dreams. They still have crushes on people,” he says of people like Adam. “[Y]es, of course, this is so draining and takes so much out of their life and is a chapter of their life. But at the same time, there’s so much else to see and [so much else] going on. And that was something that I really wanted captured.”

Taylor Russell, who plays Adam’s love interest, Maya, says she was drawn to the relationship between the two characters, who both have parts of themselves they’re trying to hide.

“One of the drawing points for me was…that they both felt so isolated in their lives and that they had to be something else in order to be accepted and that they could relate to that with one another in the end,” she says.

Russell adds that she hopes the film can take away some of the stigma from mental illness and make people feel less alone.

“Ultimately, either learning about schizophrenia more, seeing themselves in the story or seeing their loved ones represented in the story, just any way of connection, I think is, would be beautiful,” she says. “And hopefully this film can do that.”

Words on Bathroom Walls arrives in theaters Friday, August 21.

By Andrea Tuccillo
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