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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Blurb from interview with Scott Neustadter

Yes, I am still very much obsessed with 500 Days of Summer. This is an interview with one of the screenplay writers.

BTW JIMMY, 500 Days of Summer was not based on a book. LOL FAIL.
RF: Do you feel that obsessive-like tendencies and falling in love go hand in hand?
SN: It's funny. In movies, characters are always doing these big dramatic gestures to win the other person's love. And in real life, most of that shit would get you arrested. Lloyd Dobler, outside her house with the boom box, that's a restraining order waiting to happen. And yet it's romantic, isn't it? No one questions the intent. I think you're right that it would be perceived way differently in reality, especially if the person trying to sleep wants nothing to do with the guy blasting the music on her lawn. But we see him doing that and we recognize it in ourselves and we've been there, least I have.
As you get older I think (I hope), you can better recognize that the feelings accompanying the early stages of falling in love -- while amazing -- are histrionic and ephemeral. And maybe you can keep yourself in check a little more. But there's an argument against that which says why would you want to? You don't feel like that very often.
RF: In your opinion, what is falling in love the "immature" way and how does one know the difference?
SN: My feeling is you don't, certainly not while it's happening. (500) is based on an experience I had (twice, to be honest) in which I fell head over heels for someone I never really took the time to know. I liked how she looked, I liked that we had similar taste in things, and I liked how I felt when I was with her. Looking back, it was an extremely immature (but in its own way, pretty rational) way to feel. I can see that now, of course, but during the relationship, not a chance.
I think the sentiment is best articulated in the scene from the film where Summer is telling Tom about a dream. And while she's describing it, opening up to him in a way she never normally does, all he can think about is how it affects him. He's not even listening to her, really. That's for me a very telling moment which decodes the essence of this relationship and why it's doomed to fail. Real love, mutual love, mature love -- simply isn't so selfish.
RF: Do men recall the events of former relationships differently than women?
SN: Again, I'm not sure it's a gender thing. As we all know, there are two sides to every story (maybe even three). We decided from the outset that we were going to strictly tell Tom's version of these events. And we were going to tell them through the prism of memory which is not always the most reliable thing.
Making this choice both frees and restricts us in a number of important ways. First, there are gaps in the information. He can't tell us what he doesn't know. Second, the girl is idealized in a way that can't possibly be accurate. He's projecting his feelings onto her. Summer doesn't get to tell her side of the story which you just know would be entirely different.
Weber and I flirted with a scene in which Summer stops everything and demands to have her say. But this would have gone against the rules we set out for ourselves in the beginning. These are Tom's memories and we're in his head the whole time as he's sorting things out. 

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