C.D. Payne's ginormous book Youth in Revolt has been boiled down to a movie, and not without significant changes. You can read Cinematical's Toronto Film Festival review, where Erik Davis explains what you get: a decent movie that should you in no way expect to be representative of the novel. Michael Cera said it would probably work better as a miniseries, and he's right ... considering the 499 page-length of the book. There was an abortive attempt to bring it to MTV back in 1998, and this movie might be the best (or only?) version we ever get.
Still, it's an entertaining movie, and shows us a side of Cera that we haven't seen before as a colored contact lens-wearing, cigarette smoking, clad in tight-slacks tough guy. We're hoping this will be the first step on a long road where he branches out beyond the awkward teenager roles he's been performing (and nailing each and every one, we might add). We spoke to both Michael Cera and Portia Doubleday recently about the differences between the film and the book, and you can read them all right after the break.
Cinematical: Had you read the book(s) this was based on before you got the script?
Portia Doubleday: I hadn't read them. But I talked to my friends and they'd written assignments on them in high school, so it was that book you got to get away with because you could pick one of your summer reads. It's really articulate and intelligent enough for you to get away with, even though a lot of terrible things happen in it. So I read it before we started fiming, but I hadn't read it before that.
Cinematical: Your character Sheeni is a lot more of a bitch in the book ...
Portia Doubleday: Oh yeah. [laughs]
Cinematical: Was there an effort to tone her down?
Portia Double: Actually, we did some reshoots. I think it's hard because even when I was reading for it ... normally when you read a book you root for the main character in some way, but when I was reading this I was like 'Oh god!' If I was one of Nick's friends I would have said, 'Dump this girl! She's such a snob. Who cares!' That was a really fine line of being too bitchy and too detached vs. having some word of appeal.
I understand sexuality with boys and appearances, but there's so much more than that, obviously. So we did do some reshoots that tried to incorporate this character's vulnerability. That she really needs to get out of this lifestyle, and that's her driving force rather than just her individual journey to Paris and him joining. It became more bonded between the two characters.
Cinematical: Given the length of the book, were there scenes you filmed that had to be cut?
MIchael Cera: Some ... there's a great scene in the book that we filmed word for word, and it didn't make it in just for time. But I think it'll be on the DVD. It's a scene where Francois and Trent have a phone call, and we took it word for word from from the book. It's a really great scene.
Cinematical: Was there an effort to shy away from some of the more controversial parts of the book? Like the blowjob scene with Lefty, or ... well Dwayne isn't in the movie at all.
Michael Cera: Yeah, that stuff just wasn't in the script. I think there were a lot of characters that couldn't make it into the movie, but would have been great. Although it would have a nine hour movie if we'd put it all in. Some day I think it should be a miniseries. They should re-do it and use everything from the book.
Cinematical: Did you see the MTV pilot they shot back in 1998?
Michael Cera: I did see that. I saw it awhile ago, I don't know how I found it, but it was online at one point. I think I only saw like three or four minutes from it. It was okay ... it didn't really seem to capture the book. It felt like they just took those characters, and it felt like a dysfunctional family sitcom. I can't really remember it that well.