Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Zooey Deschanel © Fox Searchlight Pictures

Most recently starring opposite Jim Carrey in Yes Man, Zooey Deschanel now moves to a different kind of romantic comedy in the unique (500) Days of Summer portraying Summer Finn, a secretary at a greeting cards company who engages in a 500-day romance with Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a would-be architect turned card writer. Their relationship is told through Tom’s eyes, out of sequence, jumping from good times to bad.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Zooey Deschanel © Fox Searchlight Pictures
Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Zooey Deschanel © Fox Searchlight Pictures

You and Joe worked together in the movie Manic, how strange was it to be working together again in this?

We’ve been friends for 10 years. It was awesome to get to work with Joe again. You’re only as good as the actor you’re working with. It’s a 100% collaborative effort. If you’re doing it by yourself and you’re not paying attention to what’s going on then I don’t know what that is but it’s not my experience of acting.

The entire movie is told from Joe’s character’s perspective. Was that harder for you?

I didn’t really worry about it. It’s a very subjective film. I just tried to play the scenes as truthfully as possible. I had to keep her grounded in my reality of her which was different from the reality of the film, so it was my joy to protect her integrity as a character.

The movie is from the view of this guy who is deifying this person, so you’re playing a myth.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel © Fox Searchlight Pictures
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel © Fox Searchlight Pictures

Exactly. This movie is totally subjective, so my job is like the lawyer for Summer. Seriously, that’s my job to represent her point of view as an actor, so it’s hard to look back and give you my opinion on it. If this was ‘(500) Days of Tom’ it would be a totally different film. I think it’s one of these films where, I’ve seen it three times, and each time you see it you get a different point of view. You see different things in the scenes. That’s one thing that’s cool. Even being in the film and having been there on the day, I’m seeing new things that I didn’t remember, or didn’t know about.

It’s obvious that he’s in love with her from the beginning, but what does she feel for him?

It’s not really that important for me to answer that question because I feel like this movie, especially, is something where it’s the audience’s job to take away from it what they want to. If I say anything, as the actor, that would just be my opinion. It’s my job to play the character but I don’t think that my opinion is really that important. You can take what you will from it. But I do think she has deep affection for him.

I think this is one of the best movies of the year. Did you have that feeling on the set that this was really going to be special?

I was having so much fun that I wasn’t even thinking about it. It’s really rare that you have a movie that you are having such a great time making. I felt like it was magical, and I felt we all connected. It was Marc [Webb, the director] and Joe and me, everyone that worked on it was really fantastic and from the beginning it had this special glow about it. But I didn’t know whether it would be a hit. We still don’t know, but I know that’s it’s a film I’m extremely proud of which is so rare. To have a film that was that much fun to make with people that I absolutely love and to be as proud of a film as I am of this one is truly a great gift.


Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.