INTERVIEW: The Spectacular Now screenwriter Michael Weber on creating realistic teenagers

"We will never write that sort of Juno-speak. For us, it has to sound natural — not too stylized."

Anyone who has complained that Hollywood doesn't understand teenagers would be wise to check out The Spectacular Now, which arrived in limited release two weeks ago, and expands into more theaters today. The independent drama, which stars Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley as two frustrated teens who begin to develop feelings for each other, has been met with great critical acclaim, earning a coveted 91 percent positive ranking on Rotten Tomatoes.

Though The Spectacular Now was adapted from Tim Tharp's 2008 novel of the same name, the film owes much of its distinctive tone to its screenwriters: Michael H. Weber and Scott Neustadter. The duo, who launched their careers as the co-writers of the 2009 hit (500) Days of Summer, have crafted a script that's far more complex and fully realized than the average teen drama. Teller's character is a popular but alcoholic student struggling with paternal demons, and Woodley portrays a naïve idealist dealing with parental issues of her own. Over the course of the film, it becomes clear that neither of these characters is prepared for the intensity of their relationship — or the realizations it forces them to face about their own vulnerabilities.

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