News / Arts & Entertainment

Author Struggles to Find Happy Ending in 'Young Adult'

Charlize Theron plays Mavis Gary in YOUNG ADULT, from Paramount Pictures and Mandate Pictures.
Charlize Theron plays Mavis Gary in YOUNG ADULT, from Paramount Pictures and Mandate Pictures.

Multimedia

Audio
Alan Silverman

Writer Diablo Cody and Director Jason Reitman, who made the 2007 hit "Juno," reunite for a new comedy that tests the old saying "you can't go home again." Here's a look at Young Adult.



MATT "What are you doing back in Mercury. Are you moving back?"
MAVIS "Of course not. Gross!"


Mavis moved away from her small Minnesota town years ago, right after graduating from high school. She found fame and fortune in the big city, Minneapolis, as a successful author of popular novels for young adults. But her real life is nothing like those romantic fantasies and so she's gone home to win back her high school sweetheart.



MAVIS "Here's the deal. Buddy Slade and I are meant to be, to get him back."
MATT "I'm pretty sure he's married with a kid on the way."
MAVIS "No, the kid is here. I'm cool with it. I mean I've got baggage too."
MATT "I would keep all of this to yourself. I would find a therapist."


Despite warnings from Matt, the former classmate she runs into at a local bar, Mavis plows ahead with her twisted plan. But she discovers it's not nearly as easy to achieve a happy ending in real life as it is to write one in her novels. Screenwriter Diablo Cody says the chasm between fantasy and reality inspired the story.

Left to right: Charlize Theron plays Mavis Gary and Patton Oswalt plays Matt Freehauf in YOUNG ADULT, from Paramount Pictures and Mandate Pictures.
Left to right: Charlize Theron plays Mavis Gary and Patton Oswalt plays Matt Freehauf in YOUNG ADULT, from Paramount Pictures and Mandate Pictures.

"I have been an avid consumer of young adult literature since I was one, and I was always interested in the fantasy world created in those novels," Cody says. "The idea of somebody whose priorities were completely screwed up who wanted to live in that world, even though it's completely unattainable, was intriguing to me."

MAVIS "You can come to the city with me like we always planned."
BUDDY "Mavis, I'm a married man."
MAVIS "I know. We can beat this thing together."


Charlize Theron is lewd, crude and thoughtless as Mavis, and she says those unsavory aspects made the character appealing to her.

Charlize Theron plays Mavis Gary in YOUNG ADULT, from Paramount Pictures and Mandate Pictures.
Charlize Theron plays Mavis Gary in YOUNG ADULT, from Paramount Pictures and Mandate Pictures.

"What I liked when I read Diablo's script was the idea of a woman who is dealing with very common issues that women can really relate to," explains Theron, "but is dealing with them the way a 16-year-old would deal with them. Here she is 37 trying to get her life together, and she just doesn't have the tools to do it."

Like the hit comedies Bridesmaids and Bad Teacher, Young Adult seems to fit a new genre of 'women behaving badly.' However, Theron believes it's actually women getting the chance to play the same kind of roles as men.

Left to right: Patrick Wilson plays Buddy Slade and Charlize Theron plays Mavis Gary in YOUNG ADULT, from Paramount Pictures and Mandate Pictures.
Left to right: Patrick Wilson plays Buddy Slade and Charlize Theron plays Mavis Gary in YOUNG ADULT, from Paramount Pictures and Mandate Pictures.

"People get freaked out when they see real women conflicted," she notes. "I think women are almost way more conflicted than men, and I grew up on cinema where guys got to do that. Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman and [Robert] DeNiro got to play all of those kind of characters that I saw a little bit of myself in - those kind of struggles with dark things. It's very rare to see women [like that], but I think we are getting a chance to play those kind of honest characters."

Mavis's journey does not fit the usual pattern in a movie about someone who needs to learn a lesson. But whether that's all right is something director Jason Reitman believes the audience can decide.

"If I have a message, and hopefully there's a continuity of that in all of my films, it's 'think for yourself and come up with your own opinions.' I certainly don't want to tell you what to think and hopefully people draw their own conclusions," he says.

Young Adult features Patrick Wilson as the former high school sweetheart. And  Patton Oswalt is the barroom buddy who tries to be the voice of reason.


You May Like

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Beyond Category

Pianist Myra Melford’s new CD “Life Carries Me This Way” features solo piano interpretations of drawings by modern artist Don Reich. She performs songs from the album, talks about turning art into music, and joins host Eric Felten in some Chicago boogie-woogie on "Beyond Category."