Scott Neustadter (C’98, TEP, 34th Street Film Editor) recently had one of his Hollywood dreams come true. He got his (mostly) autobiographical(!) script (500) Days of Summer produced. Check out this inspiring story…
How did he get his start?
“After graduation, I was hired as a development executive at Tribeca Productions. As much as I enjoyed reading scripts, I never lost the desire to write one of my own. It took a while but eventually I teamed up with my friend Weber and started writing.”
And how did he go from writing scripts to actually getting the film made?
“It was a long and arduous journey. first, i had to get over my fear of being made fun of for writing such a personal (read: autobiographical) story. When i finally showed it to some friends, the reaction was very positive and the script managed to get us representation. …but when our reps sent it out to the studios, everyone really liked it — but no one bought it. Six months later, Fox Searchlight stepped up and agreed to option it. Still we never thought anything would happen. But once they found our great director Marc and got Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Zooey (Zooey Deschanel) interested, it took off from there. The whole thing was very surreal and unbelievable. I think we’re still waiting for an official greenlight.”
I have a general rule when it comes to movie reviews. If Owen Gleiberman or Lisa Schwarzbaum from “Entertainment Weekly” likes a film, so typically do I. And Owen gave “500 Days of Summer” an “A”! (Scott pictured on right in black shirt standing next to his writing partner Michael H. Weber)
That said, the film is told out of sequence, winding backwards and forwards through the 500 days of a very tumultuous relationship between these two people. Per Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman, “It’s a Gen-Y Annie Hall made by a new-style Wes Anderson who uses his cleverness for humanity instead of postmodern superiority.”
Per the film’s website, the story is as follows…
Click to Expand +/-
Tom, the boy, still believes, even in this cynical modern world, in the notion of a transforming, cosmically destined, lightning-strikes-once kind of love. Summer, the girl, doesn’t. Not at all. But that doesn’t stop Tom from going after her, again and again, like a modern Don Quixote, with all his might and courage. Suddenly, Tom is in love not just with a lovely, witty, intelligent woman – not that he minds any of that — but with the very idea of Summer, the very idea of a love that still has the power to shock the heart and stop the world.
The fuse is lit on Day 1 – when Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a would-be architect turned sappy greeting card writer encounters Summer (Zooey Deschanel), his boss’s breezy, beautiful new secretary, fresh off the plane from Michigan. Though seemingly out of his league, Tom soon discovers he shares plenty in common with Summer. After all, they both love The Smiths. They both have a thing for the surrealist artist Magritte. Tom once lived in Jersey and Summer has a cat named Bruce. As Tom muses, “we’re compatible like crazy.”
By Day 31, things are moving ahead, albeit “casually.” By Day 32, Tom is irreparably smitten, living in a giddy, fantastical world of Summer on his mind. By Day 185, things are in serious limbo — but not without hope. And as the story winds backwards and forwards through Tom and Summer’s on-again, off-again, sometimes blissful, often tumultuous dalliance it covers the whole dizzying territory from infatuation, dating and sex to separation, recrimination and redemption in a whirl of time jumps, split screens, karaoke numbers and cinematic verve – all of which adds up to a kaleidoscopic portrait of why, and how, we still struggle so laughably, cringingly hard to make sense of love… and to hopefully make it real. “
>And thanks to Scott, take a look at these EXCLUSIVE first 3 pages from the script!
Click to Expand +/-
Philly people, (500) Days of Summer comes to Philly this Friday (July 24th) so go out and support Scott!
More at the film website HERE
More Glowing Reviews:
“If you’re new in town (Los Angeles) or just starting out, there’s a great organization called the Junior Hollywood Radio and Television Society. highly recommended.”
More Penn alumni writers HERE