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Look out for more coverage of
Adventureland in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Adventureland

THE STARS:
Jesse Eisenberg • Kristen Stewart • Ryan Reynolds
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Greg Mottola

THE CONCEPT:
James (Eisenberg) has big plans for the summer, trekking through Europe with His friend, but when his family suffers from an economic downturn in the middle of the Reagan '80s, the only job he is able to find is manning a game booth at Adventureland, a self-professedly ‘funtastic’ Pennsylvania amusement park. But beneath the surface of the tacky environment, James discovers a group of misfit friends, including the sharp-tongued arcade girl, Em (Stewart), whom he decides to court, even though she is having an affair with Mike (Reynolds) a married man and wannabe musician, who handles the park’s maintenance.

U.S. RELEASE: April 3 2009, Nationwide • Rated: R

THE COMMENTS:

GREG MOTTOLA on doing this movie right after directing Superbad:
Greg Mottola and Jesse Eisenberg“I’d written Adventureland, and literally a week before I was going to show it to financiers, Judd (Apatow) called me and said, ‘Do you want to do Superbad?’ I had gone to a table reading years ago, but at that time nobody would do such a vulgar, R-rated comedy with people nobody had heard of. I immediately said yes, which is one of the few times I’ve made the right decision, and then when Superbad was in post-production, I started shopping Adventureland around. I come from indie films, and my fantasy is to have the career that goes back and forth. But it’s frustrating [to do indie films], we had much less time and money on Adventureland, and there were things I couldn’t do, but the trade is you get to make the movie a little weirder and a little less sentimental, the qualities that I like to see in movies.”

JESSE EISENBERG:
Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart“The movie takes place in 1987, so they didn’t have the same technology as now. Would the relationships in the movie manifest in the same way if everybody had [modern day] gadgets? You can’t really dramatize text messages that much, so maybe it’s better that the movie takes place then because you have to talk to people.”

KRISTEN STEWART:
Kristen Stewart“It was so much easier then, you could be more people if you were not connected with everybody. If you are on Facebook, updating everything you’re doing every day, or they can get a hold of you via cell phone at any moment, you can’t have different aspects of your life. [In the ‘80’s] you could be different people to different people when you needed to be. You had more privacy. My character satisfies and fulfills whatever she needs to with different people and she’s very different to all of them, and she probably wouldn’t be able to do that now.”

RYAN REYNOLDS:
Ryan Reynolds“One of the reasons I took this movie was that it was dramatic. I liked that this guy is a very fractured guy who’s lived up to absolutely none of his potential he was supposed to, and he lives this fantasy life. I know people like that, the version of themselves in their mind is something vastly different from who they actually are, so I liked that this guy led this double life, and he suffered more from his villainous behavior than anybody else, I thought that that was kind of an interesting aspect to his character.”

MOTTOLA:
“I’m very grateful that Ryan was willing to take a role like this. He’s very funny and he doesn’t play losers usually, but I wanted somebody who is handsome and not stupid, but clearly a victim of his own psychology. I thought Ryan would make it interesting, he’s giving advice to Jesse’s character about how to win this woman that he’s having an affair with, because his own vanity is greater than his sleaziness. I didn’t want him to be the villain of the movie, just someone you’d come across in life, somebody who is very selfish and his own worst enemy at the end of the day.”

STEWART:
“I think my character had no concept of what she wanted. She just feigns that she’s very secure and very self-sufficient, but she’s so not. It’s like by default that she realizes too late, ‘Oh God, why can’t I just get over my hang-ups and be good to myself?’ If both Em and James were aware of how great they were then there wouldn’t be problems, they would just be happy together, but she’s full of self-loathing and doesn’t treat herself very well.”

EISENBERG on having Mottola to go to, as it’s based on his life:
“It was great to have him there as a resource, to ask, ‘what was this experience like? Why did you react this way?’ As an actor you feel like you emotionally invest in the story, whereas a lot of the people behind the camera don’t have any connection to it. But in this case, because the story was so personal for Greg, he was invested in it as much or more so than we were.”

MOTTOLA:
“People always ask me if I thought of Michael Cera before Jesse for the role of James, and the truth is I was a fan of Jesse’s already and he was the first person I thought of. I think Jesse, maybe because he’s a New Yorker and is more neurotic than Michael, he felt more like me. My only hesitation with Jesse was that he’d done Squid and the Whale, and there’s some overlap in the characters, but when I sat down and met with him I thought, ‘Okay, I can live with the comparison,’ because I think that’s a great movie.”

REYNOLDS:
“Kristen is amazing. She has the insight of Estelle Getty, but she’s this little girl. You’re kind of like, ‘Where did you come from?’ That quickly dissipates, that preconceived notion that you’re working with this young girl who probably doesn’t know a thing. She may not have an enormous life experience in her wake, but she has an enormously high emotional quota, and I think that’s more valuable than anything on earth, particularly in this craft.”

MOTTOLA:
“The TV series Freaks and Geeks is something I thought about a lot in making Adventureland, because that was one of those depictions of middle-class life that feels really accurate to me, it doesn’t feel overly sentimental or overly melodramatic.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Adventureland site
Images above © Miramax Films
Feature © 2009 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.


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