(500) Days of Summer Holds Promise

By Broadside Staff Writer Ross Bonaime

Every summer, to counteract the explosion filled summer blockbusters, audiences are given tons of romantic comedies filled with the usual clichés and Matthew McConaughey. Yet this summer, (500) Days of Summer seems like it will deal with some of these issues. The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel and premieres on July 17.

“I think (500) Days of Summer doesn’t so much avoid clichés as it kind of walks right up to them and has a conversation with them, and sort of follows some of them and deviates from other ones, and that’s what I like about it," said Gordon-Levitt on his newest film.

Gordon-Levitt plays Tom, a born-romantic who believes he will only be happy when he finds “the one.” He believes he's found that girl in Summer, played by Deschanel, after meeting her at work. The film shows the 500 days of their relationship, from the beginnings of young love to the downfall of their relationship.

For Deschanel and Gordon-Levitt, this is their second film in which they are romantically involved, following 2001’s Manic about juveniles in a mental institution.

Manic was about trying to stay focused on pain and strife and frustration, and these things. (500) Days of Summer was much easier because I was really just playing a guy who’s madly in love with this girl, and she should have to play madly in love with me” stated Levitt. “I just kind of focused on her and listened to The Smiths in the morning. It was easy.”

Deschanel also looked forward to working with Gordon-Levitt again.

“I had been sort of like waiting with bated breath for something like this to come along, and even better was with Joe. It’s like a dream come true,” she said.

While (500) Days of Summer does look like a different type of romantic film, it is the older classic romantic films that Deschanel loves.

“I love Manhattan. And I love all the screwball comedies from the ‘30s that are basically, I guess, what we’d call - if they came out today, we’d probably call them romantic comedies, but they’re the Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant and like Bringing Up Baby,” she said.

Gordon-Levitt agrees.

“My favorite kind of comedies are the ones where it’s not necessarily from a punch line or from some gags,” he said.

First time film director Marc Webb has done stunning work in music videos for bands like My Chemical Romance, Weezer and AFI. Deschanel says that Webb “was so great at working with actors and just such a lovely, genuine person that he just seemed like an actors’ director,” she said. “As soon as I was on set I forgot about everything else, and then seeing the film I was reminded that his background is in music videos, which is mainly a visual medium, so I was reminded by being completely blown away.”

Webb’s style seems to be predominant in (500) Days of Summer, from characters bursting into song after falling in love and walking into animated worlds, to people uniting over their love for The Smiths. What is interesting is how Webb integrates these elements into his film without making it seem overtly unnecessary.

“I think all of the sort of larger-than-life elements of the movie, they don’t come because, well, we just wanted to do this larger-than-life thing. It all comes from a sincere point of view,” said Gordon-Levitt. “Even the most surreal parts like the dance number, I mean, I know how it feels when you finally got to be with the girl that you’ve had a crush on for so long and it feels like that. And so it doesn’t come from like, ‘well, it’ll be great if we throw in a dance number,’ it comes from like, ‘how does it feel? How can we describe how it feels?’”

With (500) Days of Summer, it looks as if Deschanel and Gordon-Levitt are going to bring something fresh and new to the romantic film genre this summer.

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