Leading up to the August 2 theatrical release of The Spectacular Now, Hypable and other sites sat down with stars Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller to discuss the film.
Q: When you guys first met, before you started filming, did you guys realize that you had the chemistry for these characters?
Shailene: We met for a second. We had lunch. But we just naturally sort of have a nice little flow.
Q: You guys worked on ‘Divergent’ together too, which is awesome. So when you guys found out you were cast in ‘Divergent’ after doing this were you like, ‘Really again? This guy?’
Shailene: No. I knew he had the offer and I called him and was like, ‘B**** you better take this role.’
Miles: Shailene was… [turns to Shailene] Are you kicking me under the table?
Shailene: No. I just always move my legs.
Miles: Shailene, the movie really revolves around her character and so I hadn’t heard anything about it. I auditioned for Four, like a long time ago. I think that was before Shai … oh no, Shailene was attached. If I would have played that character maybe that would have been interesting. In this one we have a relationship that is not as developed as it is in ‘The Spectacular Now.’ [Looks at Woodley] You don’t wanna be nice, you aren’t nice to me all the time. Sometimes I get on your nerves and you just wanna beat him up a little bit.
Shailene: We do have some pretty intense fights.
Miles: Our fight scenes are good. I think so.
Q: At your fight scene, I was like ‘What an a**hole.’
Miles: Oh, in ‘The Spectacular Now.’ When we yelled at each other.
Q: Yeah, when you told her to get out of the car.
Miles: Everyone’s got their little temper tantrums and stuff, but at the same time this guy who is supposed to be the best figure in his life, this mythological creature that he’s built up to be the best man in the world. I think, like James [Ponsoldt, director] said he’s the ghost of this guy and everything that he’s built up is not based on facts. I think he had a story of him from being a little kid and then just developed them further as he got older. To literally see that guy become someone who walked out on you, it’s like finding out Santa Claus isn’t real for the first time. I’m drinking and she’s saying ‘I love you,’ and I don’t want to hurt her and I don’t want to hurt.
Q: So would you say, from both of your guys’ perspective, would you say that Sutter was an alcoholic?
Shailene: No, I think he’s so young. I think maybe he has addictive personality, so it might be easy for him to become an alcoholic, but he’s 17.
Miles: Right, I don’t know.
Q: Would you say that Amy and Sutter were ever even a good match? Their relationship in this film can be looked at from a lot of different aspects – as toxic in some way or actually beneficial.
Shailene: I think there is this obsession with finding one person in life and sort of discarding the rest. And I think every relationship that you go through, whether it lasts 25 years or a lifetime, or two months, it teaches you something. And so I think that maybe they aren’t a match because he’s not like the one and she’s not the one, but whoever is the one? Let;s be honest. I think that their relationship taught them a lot and gave them a lot of tools to look forward to in life. I think it was an integral part of both their evolution.
Q: Would you have dated a Sutter in High School?
Shailene: I totally did.
Q: Would you have dated an Amy?
Shailene: You did date an Amy.
Miles: I did. I dated a bunch of different kinds of girls. It’s always based on their personality. I dated a band girl, a girl I was in a band with, I dated a cheerleader, and then I dated a chick who used to sing in my band. My buddies and I had a rock band and she used to sing like Evanescence. Like a rock singer. She was also in drama club, so.
Q: Once we put that out there, people are going to be scouring YouTube for evidence.
Shailene: Miles is a great singer.
Miles: I think there is. You might be able to find something.
Q: In the film you get to know a lot about Sutter’s family. In the book you get to know a lot about Amy. I was confused watching the film, because I didn’t read the book until after. I kinda thought Amy was the one who needed help in the movie. Do you feel like it benefited her not to have her history shown in the movie?
Shailene: I mean I think that this is Sutter’s movie and I think it’s seen through Sutter’s eyes. It’s from his point of view and you are sort of with him the whole time. There is a version where we do explore Amy’s family and when we shot it there were a lot of scenes with my Mom and the stepfather. But the movie was too long. So James decided to keep it on Sutter, from his point of view and his perspective. And I thought that was really special, because as an audience it allowed us to see the world through his eyes and see the journey that he was on. Amy was a part of his journey, and even though he was a part of her journey it was always seen through his eyes. Which I loved.
Miles: And there was stuff in the movie that was cut out that probably would have given a little more history to Amy’s character, but you know you are adapting a pretty big book into an hour and thirty minute movie.
Shailene: I am not tired, I have this new thing where I learned that yawning is actually good for you ‘cause it wakes your body up. I read this article and I breathe really shallowly, and I am just a shallow breather. I am sorry I had to interrupt the interview, I just wanted you to know I am totally engaged.
Q: Once we put that out people are going to be all Shailene Woodley yawns, let’s all start yawning, and it will start a trend.[Everyone laughs.]
Q: Where do you think Sutter and Amy ended up 10 to 15 years later?
Shailene: Um maybe they ended up backpacking through Europe.
Miles: I would like to think Sutter changed. ‘Cause I grew up in a similar town and I knew a lot of people like that. I mean if you graduate without a diploma, what do you do? You get a trade. I think he probably works in the same town and he’s like… he installs air conditionings. I think that is what he does. I think he still drinks and well.
Q: I think that if you could grab Sutter and look him in the face and tell him anything, pass along any advice…
Miles: Be nice to that girl.
Shailene: Don’t treat her like that, she’s adorable.
Miles: Don’t be so selfish.
Q: What about you, anything for Amy?
Miles: Give it up, give it up!
Shailene: Know your worth.
Q: Speaking of giving it up, was that awkward?
Shailene: No, it was so much fun.
Miles: Nah, I mean Sutter… it wasn’t his first time.
Q: No, Sutter was experienced.
Shailene: But it was Miles’ first time.
Miles: That’s why it’s called acting. No, that was actually one of our favorite scenes. And I think when we filmed it we were pretty comfortable with each other at that point. And obviously after that, even more so. And the room that we shot everything in, all the sets were just so real. This was actually some girl’s room, lower middle class house – it was funny because we were doing the sex scene, whatever it is, and I look up on the wall and look all around me, and I am in a 16-year-old’s bedroom. That was weird.
Q: You were like, ‘well here we are!’
Miles: Shiro Makoto.
Shailene: Shiro Makoto. It’s kinda weird.
Miles: Yeah, it’s not weird.
Q: What do you think are Sutter’s redeeming qualities?
Shailene: His face.
Miles: I think Sutter is… I think he makes other people feel good. He doesn’t deal with himself, so it’s kind of easy for him to just develop himself from making other people feel a certain way. I think that Sutter is… he’s got a big heart. And I also think he lets you loosen up. I know a lot of people that are just too rigid and didn’t allow themselves to have a good time. I also think that he’s someone that, if you felt tired, he’d be like ‘Come on man, we said we are going to the theme park today, so we’re going to the theme park. Take a shower, you’ll feel better, let’s just do that.’ So I think he’s a nice little pick-me-up.
Shailene: A little pick-me-up.
Miles: And he’s got a huge d*** [makes hand gesture].
Q: Oh perfect, we’re going to edit that out.
Shailene: Dodger Dog.
Q: Oh perfect well that just makes it all – I was literally about to ask you what drew Amy to Sutter, but I don’t have to ask that.
Shailene: Oh well, now you know.
Miles: Wait, Dodger Dog is that what you just said?
Q: Those are quite thin.
Miles: No answer her question, what attracted Amy to Sutter?
Q: It was difficult, well not difficult, which I thought was one of the greatest things about the movie, how the relationship developed, it was just an unlikely pair. Sutter originally he’s like ‘I am gonna help this girl out and I’ll open her world up,’ but what did Amy get out of that when she first met Sutter?
Shailene: I think that he’s probably someone she liked for a long time in high school and never had the confidence to tell him. I think she respected and admired his charismatic way. His confidence. She really didn’t have any confidence. His ability to have fun and his lack of responsibility. I think the lack of responsibility was refreshing to her, ‘cause she was so consumed by responsibilities.
Q: And if Amy has one flaw, ‘cause she seems to be way too perfect, what would it be?
Shailene: I think she doesn’t have self love. She doesn’t have any self worth and I think that is so important. You have to be your own biggest fan and then you have to love yourself. And I don’t think she has that. She gives her power and her worth to him.
Miles: She eats bugs.
Q: She what?
Miles: Amy Finicky eats bugs.
Shailene: He ate a bug on set and I didn’t tell him.
Q: That’s nasty.
Miles: She eats bugs. She has a bug collection and when the bugs get older she eats them, so she can replace them with younger cooler bugs.