Left: Fin Argus, playing Zach Sobiech in "Clouds." Right: The real Zach Sobiech plays a concert in Minnesota.
On October 16, Disney+ released the original movie “Clouds,” an inspiring film based on the true story of teenage songwriter Zach Sobiech who rose to fame before passing away from osteosarcoma, a deadly bone cancer, in 2013. But how many of the events in the movie are true to life? We gathered some of the most frequently asked questions and their answers about the "Clouds" film and the real people behind it.
Did Zach really write his college essay?
Yes! The real Zach really wrote a college essay, and script writer Kara Holden used parts of it to inspire the essay that is featured in the movie.
Did the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund Prom Party and Concert really happen?
Sort of. The prom party and concert in the movie is a combination of three separate real-life events. In real life, Zach played a concert at the Varsity Theater, a real music venue in Minneapolis. His family also threw him a party a few months before his death. Finally, Zach was able to take Amy to prom in May 2013, just weeks before he passed away. The concert we see in the movie is a combination of all three of those events. Director Justin Baldoni said the purpose of this scene was to show that Zach got to see how many people he touched with his music before he died.
For more from director Justin Baldoni, read our blog post “Director Justin Baldoni on “Clouds” movie and the “Zach Effect.”
Did the cast meet the real people before filming?
Yes. Laura and Rob Sobiech met Neve Campbell and Tom Everett Scott before shooting, and were on set during some key filming days. Sabrina Carpenter met Sammy Brown in Sammy’s apartment in New York, and Fin Argus and Madison Iseman took a trip to the real Zach’s hometown to meet Amy Adamle, Sammy Brown and the Sobiech family. “None of us really knew what to expect, but it went so well and it’s something I will never forget,” Amy said of meeting the cast members. “We took them around to places we were with Zach, and we got to hang out with them in the Sobiechs’ basement and Zach’s room, places where we spent a lot of time together and that are so special to us.”
Did Zach’s family really go to Lourdes?
Yes. Zach’s family took a trip to Europe before he passed away, and they visited the baths at Lourdes, France. The real Laura Sobiech said that nobody was expecting a miracle, but the trip was a strong bonding experience for her family. “I had really struggled with the idea of doing anything like that, because if God wasn’t going to give us a miracle in Minnesota, why would he give us one in Lourdes?” Laura said. “But we came away with this weird inexplicable peace that you can’t really put your finger on. We all came out of it feeling that way… we knew something happened there.”
Did Sammy really have a crush on Zach?
Yes. The real Sammy Brown has shared that she and Zach grew up together, and there was a moment in real life where Zach found out that she had a crush on him. However, Sammy and Amy made a decision early on that they wouldn’t let their feelings get in the way of their own friendship, or their relationships with Zach. Today, the real Sammy and Amy remain close friends.
Read more about what it was like for Sammy and Amy to meet their on-screen counterparts in our blog post, Zach Sobiech’s friends and then-girlfriend talk “Clouds” movie.
Did Zach and Sammy really write “Fix Me Up”?
Yes. The real Zach and Sammy wrote “Fix Me Up” much like it happens in the movie – by passing a notebook back and forth. We asked Sammy to tell us the stories behind the songs she and Zach wrote together – read her answers here.
Did Zach and Amy break up in real life?
No, Zach and Amy never broke up in real life. “We understood why it had to be that way in the movie, but that scene was hard for us to watch, because the real Zach wouldn’t have acted like that,” said Laura. “That scene never happened in real life, but I understand why it had to happen in the movie to sort of give Zach’s character motivation and push the story forward,” said Amy.
Did the scene at the end of the film with Zach and Grace really happen?
Yes. Laura said, “He really did sit up for her, and it was the first time he sat up in days. And he really did hand her the remote. It was beautiful and heartbreaking, like everything else.”
Is the real Sammy still making music?
Yes! In fact, Sammy’s original song, Purple Pink, is featured during the end credits of “Clouds.” It’s the first song she’s finished writing since Zach passed away, and she finished it on May 20, 2019, the sixth anniversary of Zach’s death. Another fun fact about Sammy – in one of the final scenes of “Clouds” when the audience starts singing to help Zach finish his song, the audience member whose voice can be heard first is the real Sammy Brown.
Watch Zach’s close friends and A Firm Handshake bandmates Sammy and Mitch perform their original songs. Plus, a special appearance from Fin Argus, who plays Zach Sobiech in “Clouds.”
Is the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund real? Has it made any progress since Zach passed away?
Yes and yes! Before Zach died, he and his family started the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund to raise funds for research developing better, safer treatments for osteosarcoma. Today, 100% of the money donated to Zach’s fund go directly to osteosarcoma research. Proceeds from Zach’s music also go to his fund. So far, it has raised over $2 million for research. In the seven years since Zach’s death, researchers have made 16 new discoveries about the genetics of osteosarcoma and opened a national clinical trial to test a potentially groundbreaking drug.
Learn more about the research breakthroughs the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund has made possible.
To learn more about the real people behind “Clouds,” read our blog post: The True Story Behind “Clouds” and the Real Zach Sobiech.
Donate to the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund
Treatments for osteosarcoma, the cancer that took Zach too soon, haven’t improved in decades. Zach wanted his legacy to change that. 100% of all donations to the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund go to research for better treatments for this deadly cancer.