'The Spectacular Now' spotlights young love like it used to be

Fri Aug 2, 2013 10:18am EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - In a summer dominated by big budget, action-packed blockbusters geared toward young adults, the writers of "The Spectacular Now" wanted to harken back to the angst-ridden romance films of the 1980s and shine a spotlight on the complexity of young love.

"The Spectacular Now," out in U.S. theaters on Friday, was adapted from Tim Tharp's book of the same name by Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber, the writers behind the 2009 indie hit film "(500) Days of Summer."

Inspired by filmmakers such as Cameron Crowe, who directed 1989's "Say Anything," and John Hughes, who directed 1985's American teen story "The Breakfast Club," Neustadter and Weber wanted to showcase young love in an intimate setting, centered by two young leads, Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller.

"We had been disappointed in how they (Hollywood) have been making romantic comedies for a while, and how they were making movies about young people. It seemed like the movies were the metaphor of being a vampire, or having super powers or high jinks sex with a baked good," Weber said.

"The movies we fell in love with as kids ... were those of Cameron Crowe and John Hughes. Those movies didn't rely on that - it seemed to come much more from a real place," he added.

The film focuses on Sutter, a charismatic teenager with a drinking problem, played by Teller, as he graduates from high school and deliberates what direction he wants to take in life and how he handles his first love, Aimee, played by Woodley.

Woodley, 21, gained critical praise for her role as a rebellious daughter in 2010's "The Descendants," while Teller, 26, has been gaining prominence in R-rated comedies such as "21 & Over." Teller said he was drawn to the duality of his character's emotions.

"I wanted to make him a real person, I wanted to bring that charisma that draws people in, and then I wanted to build in that kid who doesn't have a dad ... having vulnerability in there because he's a sad clown really," the actor said.   Continued...

Actors Miles Teller (L) and Shailene Woodley pose for a portrait together while promoting the film "The Spectacular Now" in Beverly Hills, California July 29, 2013. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok