“The Spectacular Now” was the closing night film at the 2013 Atlanta Film Festival. The film is about Sutter (Miles Teller), a high school senior who is just happy living in the present. He seems to have everything you would want -he’s popular, has a good job and his girlfriend is the prettiest girl in high school. What more could a guy want? Suddenly everything comes crashing down around Sutter when his girlfriend dumps him, leaving his once promising world now in tatters. Sutter then meets Aimee (Shailene Woodley) who isn’t like anyone he has ever met before and just might be the person to get him back on track. The film also stars Kyle Chandler and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
I had the pleasure of interviewing “The Spectacular Now” director, James Ponsoldt, a Georgia native, on the red carpet outside the Plaza Theatre on Saturday, March 23rd.
So, tell us about the movie.
“The Spectacular Now” is based on Tim Tharp’s novel that came out a few years ago, which was adapted by Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber. It is a very honest, romantic drama, an adult romantic drama where the main characters just happen to be teenagers. A lot of movies that are teen films are kind of adolescent and immature, where this film really respects the emotional lives of these characters. The film really harkens back to films like “The Last Picture Show” and “Splendor in the Grass,” making it a romantic coming of age story.
Tell us about the two leads, Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller.
They are amazing! I get so excited thinking about their performances, which I take no credit for, I just let them go and got out of the way. Shailene is just a stunning actress who is all of twenty-one years old, but she has a maturity and integrity about her. She has an intelligence about her that reminds me of a young Barbara Hershey or Debra Winger. And Miles Teller is equally amazing. He has five or six movies coming out in the next year and is one of the most funny and natural actors that I have ever worked with. His acting style reminds me of Tom Hanks, how he makes it easy to fall in love with his character.
You shot this film in Georgia?
We shot the whole film in Athens, Georgia, where I was born and raised. We were shooting across from the hospital I was born in, on the streets where I played on as a kid, and in the house where my friends grew up, which made it really emotional for me.
It must be thrilling to bring your film to the Atlanta Film Festival to be the closing night film.
It is incredible! It’s amazing and humbling, a real thrill to be showing it here, in front of family, friends and people who worked on the film. It really means a hell of a lot to me.
Thank you so much and good luck to your film!
“The Spectacular Now” opens in theatres this summer.