Behind the Scenes with Katie Neustadter

Published on September 26th, 2010
words_dena giannini
design_taylor lucas
photo_courtesy of Katie Neustadter

Distraction: Where are you from and what are you studying here at UM?

Katie Neustadter: Im from Margate, N. J. and my majors are elementary education and psychology. I am a senior, graduating Fall 2010.

Distraction: Your brother Scott wrote (500) Days of Summer. How did this screenplay come about?

KN: It’s based off my brother’s life. It is a story of a guy who falls in love with a girl who doesn’t believe in love. Actually, two relationships are combined into one girl, Summer. It was basically a journal of all the things he was going through at this time in his life, which is one reason why I think it was such a hit.

Distraction: If the film is based on your brothers life , is there a character in the movie that represents you?

KN: There is and her character’s name is Rachel Hansen.

Distraction: Does what you see on screen represent yourself?

KN: I think the fact that my brother and I have a really close relationship was shown in the movie through the relationship that Tom and Rachel had.

Distraction: How was it to meet your on camera double?

KN: When I met Chloe Moretz, who played the part of Rachel, she was so excited. She was being interviewed on the red carpet and she spotted me in the distance and with a huge smile she started waving, completely forgetting she was on camera. She made sure to take a picture with me so she could tell all her friends. We still keep in touch today. I think the really big part was just seeing my brother’s life on screen.

Distraction: In what ways did you see Scott in Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s portrayal of Tom Hansen?

KN: Joe did an unbelievable job of capturing Scott with Tom’s character. I honestly thought I was watching Scott on screen. His mannerisms were Scott and the costume designer brought his style on to the screen.

Distraction: Did you get to attend any premieres?

KN: The movie premiered at Sundance last January in Utah and that was the first time anyone had seen it. It received a standing ovation. The movie premiered in L.A. last July and we all got to see the fans. They were taking our pictures, which was really cool. It was really exciting to see my brother on the red carpet, being interviewed and signing autographs.

Distraction: How was it to hang out with the cast?

KN: Normally the writer does not have so much involvement. Scott was embraced and we [Scott’s family] were embraced. So it was really great. The cast and crew were so warm. They welcomed us as their own family. We were always on set and at events for the movie. The cast knew us on a first name basis.

Distraction: Has Scott had any special moment that stands out in validating his success?

KN: There were clips of the Graduate in (500) Days of Summer which is one of Scott’s all-time favorite movies and definitely a source of inspiration. The writer for the the Graduate actually sent him an email to tell him how much he loved the movie, which was one of Scott’s coolest days.

Distraction: We hear Tom and Autumn are now engaged, what can we look forward to with a sequel?

KN: Stay tuned.

Distraction: So, do you think nice guys finish last?

KN: In Scott’s case the nice guy did not finish last. Despite the experience and heartbreak that he went through, he found someone that compliments him and who is wonderful, the match he was waiting for. Scott hadn’t met the girl he is [now] engaged to at the time he had written the script. Now he is engaged and in his fiance’s eyes she is Autumn. I always tell them they have to have a kid named Summer or Spring or April.

Distraction: Who is Jenny Beckman?

KN: Jenny Beckman is any girl who breaks hearts.