After our first tease of the new CLOUDS (coming to Disney+ this Friday) we had a feeling it would be the perfect inspiring story we all need during these uncertain times. MouseInfo had the opportunity recently to hear directly from the cast and crew about this emotional journey brought to the screen.

What is it?

When I first heard of CLOUDS, based on a song, I assumed it was a musical. But when a friend referred to Zach Sobiech’s story as “Fault in our Stars, but sadder because it’s true”, I was nervous about what I had just agreed to write about!

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Thankfully, I was wrong on both counts. While it is indeed based on a song and a true story, CLOUDS is far from a musical and far from a sob fest. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll definitely want your tissues nearby, but there’s a nice blend of humor and inspiration throughout the film which is directed by Justin Baldoni and based on the book “Clouds: A Memoir” by Zach’s mother, Laura Sobiech.

“He was such a positive and just happy guy, and being able to portray those funny, quirky relationships, even in the face of such adversity, was really fun and healing,” reflects Fin Argus, who plays Zach Sobiech. “He stayed goofy, he stayed happy, even through such a tough, tough time.”

The Origins

Director Justin Baldon first met Zach Sobiech while shooting his documentary “My Last Days” for Soul Pancake in 2013. Zach expressed interest in wanting to do more and bring awareness to the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund to help research children’s cancer.

“I was FaceTiming with him and Amy [Adamle, Zach’s girlfriend] just before he passed away, Justin shares, “and I made a promise to him that I would do whatever I could to further his story.”

Shortly after Zach passed away, his mom, Laura Sobiech, wrote her memoir, and Justin reached out about taking Zach’s story to the next level. “That was about six years ago. It’s been a journey.”

It Was an Honor

During a virtual press conference, the cast shared their memories of being a part of the film. One sentiment echoed through the cast was the honor it was to share Zach’s story.

Fin Argus (Zach Sobiech) shared a personal story of a family member fighting cancer when Clouds hit #1 on iTunes in 2013. Because he was already tuned in to Zach’s story, just getting the audition was a true honor. “Ikind of felt like meeting an old friend. It was really special to be able to play that and just audition, and the fact that I had the honor of being able to play Zach was a huge gift.”

Neve Campbell (Laura Sobiech) read Laura’s book the day before the two met. Neve was enamored with Laura’s strength and courage to guide her family through unimaginable circumstances. Drawing on her own experience as a mother of two sons, it wasn’t a stretch for Neve to put herself in Laura’s shoes. “It was a beautiful experience to get to meet her. It was a beautiful experience to get to play her. And like Fin said, I’m just really grateful to have gotten a role and to have been able to honor the family as best we could.”

While Rob Sobiech mused that he would have preferred “The Rock” to portray him in the movie, Tom Everett Scott brought his A+ Dad Game and goofiness to the role. “When you met these people, you just met how loving and warm that they are. Rob was there for me. So I was just really honored to play someone so sweet and special”

In addition to Sabrina Carpenter portraying Sammy Brown on the screen, the two were able to bond over music. A musician in her own right, Sabrina will send songs she’s written to Sammy for her honest feedback. Sabrina shared that Sammy has become one of her “favorite people on the planet”, and agrees with her castmates that sharing this story was a true honor. “We felt like we were a part of something that was bigger than all of us.”

Madison Iseman reflects on meeting Amy Adamle for the first time. After the bigger meeting, Amy gave Madison and Fin a ride back to their hotel, and the two were able to ask questions you don’t get to ask when you’re with a bigger group. The intimate setting allowed Amy to open up and share how much she and Zach truly loved each other. “Amy is just the kindest, strongest woman in the world. She’s amazing in every way, so I’m lucky to play her and to call her a friend.”

Sabrina adds, “There was almost like for me a big distinction between before “Clouds” and after “Clouds,” BC/AC.  But actually, it really is a story that resonates with you.  It sticks with you for a really long time.”

A Missing Link

During production, Justin was interested in including a song to a scene, but couldn’t quite find something that fit. Fin pored over Zach’s journals and love letters, shared by Laura and Amy respectively, to draw inspiration for the new song. He recalls, “It turned itself into this brand new love song written from Zach to Amy. Zach and I had this connection where we wrote together. It’s half his lyrics, half mine, but the spirit of it, it’s from Zach.”

A ONE-derful Connection

And for those of you Oneders out there, in addition to our very own Guy Patterson, Tom Everett Scott playing Zach’s dad, Rob Sobiech, there are a few nods to THAT THING YOU DO! throughout the movie. As one of TTYD’s biggest fans, this was a really fun sort of Easter Egg to enjoy.

See it for Yourself

CLOUDS debuts on Disney+ October 16, 2020.