Diablo Cody says social networking inspired 'Young Adult'
After depicting the sometimes bleak high school world in "Juno," screenwriter Diablo Cody delved into the bleaker world of those who never move on from their high school days in her new film, "Young Adult."
"I think we all know somebody who's stuck in a certain time in their life and they can't get past it and they're still obsessing over mistakes that they might have made or people that they might have let go," Cody said in a promotional video interview provided by Paramount Pictures. "I know it's getting kind of cliché to talk about how social networking and Facebook and Twitter have changed the world, but in this case, I feel like Facebook has allowed us to stay in touch with people we would not necessarily need to still have in our lives and I think it probably creates some dramatic situations."
In the film, which hits most theaters on December 16, Charlize Theron, 35, plays a young adult fiction writer named Mavis Gary who returns to her hometown to win back her high school sweetheart, portrayed by Patrick Wilson, who is happily married with a newborn. Theron's character also grows close to a former classmate who she doesn't remember, Matt Freehauf, played by Patton Oswalt. The two end up bonding over their shared disdain for most things.
"Mavis Gary is a stunning woman in her thirties who has a massive entitlement complex because, my theory is, she's been beautiful her entire life and she's from a small town, so she's kind of been royalty," Cody said. "Add to that, she also has a talent for writing and so it's kind of a perfect storm of popularity, just as the girl who has it all. And for whatever reason, her life has not worked out as she hoped it would."
Though Cody had imagined her character would be portrayed by someone attractive, she was fully unprepared for Charlize Theron to sign on for the role. But Theron, who won an Oscar for Best Leading Actress for her role as a serial killer in the 2003 film "Monster," told the Associated Press that "Young Adult" was "way more my personality and closer to anything that I've done."
"I had always imagined Mavis as being an attractive, tall blonde, but at the same time, Charlize Theron is in a completely different category of beautiful," Cody said. "I thought, 'Wow, are people going to buy this supermodel type as a small-town girl who is sometimes kind of haggard and depressed?' And she is so amazing. She is such a chameleon, that she pulled it off flawlessly."
"Young Adult" was the second film collaboration between director Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody, who worked together on the 2007 hit "Juno." Their collaboration on "Juno" earned Cody an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and Reitman a nomination for Best Director. Reitman was also nominated for three Academy Awards for his work on "Up in the Air."
"After 'Juno,' I had always hoped in my heart of hearts that I would get to work with Jason Reitman again and I didn't know when that would be," Cody continued. "I think I assumed that would be many years down the line, I certainly didn't think it would be a scant two or three years later, but I got lucky. I would do every project with Jason Reitman, if I could because it's so rare as a writer to meet someone who is that connected to you, in terms of what they want to convey and the stories they want to tell, in terms of their understanding of a character on the page."
The screenwriter's future projects include the film "Sweet Valley High," based on the popular young adult book series penned by Francine Pascal. With "Sweet Valley High" and "Young Adult," it seems that Cody has become fully entrenched in the genre.
"It was really cool using the idea of young adult fiction as a metaphor for Mavis' life and her story," Cody said of her script. "In 'Young Adult,' Mavis writes for a series of books called 'Waverly Prep,' which she's been writing for awhile and the series is about to end, which we is something we gradually find out about as the story unfolds. So she is personally and professionally at this crossroads and she is being forced to make this major decision because not only is the story ending for her characters that she's been writing all this time, but her story feels like a now or never scenario for her. So I think she's just desperately looking for her happy ending and she doesn't know how to create that and she doesn't know how to create it for her characters either."
Following her Oscar win for "Juno," Cody created the Showtime series "United States of Tara," which followed actress Toni Collette as a mother struggling with dissociative identity disorder.
Cody also wrote and produced the 2009 Megan Fox horror movie, "Jennifer's Body" and is also set to help Sam Raimi write the script for a remake of his cult horror film, "The Evil Dead." The reboot is helmed by Fede Alvarez and is set for release in 2013.
Check out the trailer for "Young Adult" below.