Can you believe it's been 10 years since 500 Days of Summer was released? The beloved indie rom-com came out on this week in 2009 in the US (though it didn't make its way to Kiwis until October), and it went on to become a critical darling and commercial success.
A retrospective analysis of a meet-cute gone wrong starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tom and Zooey Deschanel as Summer, the film sparked conversations about communication between partners and the existence of true love.
Take a trip down memory lane with us as we look at 10 surprising facts about the indie hit.
1. It's (mostly) based on a true story
According to E News, screenwriter Scott Neustadter (The Spectacular Now, The Disaster Artist) reveals on the DVD commentary that 500 Days of Summer is "75 per cent" based on a real relationship he went through. This is joked about in the title card, which features a pointed insult to "Jenny Beckman", which may or may not be her real name. Writing for the Daily Mail in 2009, Neustadter revealed he sent the script to "Jenny": "It had surprised and moved her because she really related to Tom. Yes, incredibly, Jenny hadn't recognised herself as Summer at all."
2. The casting was fateful
According to Entertainment Weekly, several actresses were reportedly eyeing the project, but they wanted Tom's character to be gender-flipped. When director Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man) met Gordon-Levitt, he asked him who he thought should play Summer, and "without missing a beat he said Zooey [Deschanel]". She was soon hired, and Gordon-Levitt became attached shortly after. "I really believe you can't just cast a person," said Webb. "Especially in a situation like this, you have to cast a chemistry, you have to cast a dynamic, you have to cast two people that work well together."
3. The musical choices hint at the ending
Spoiler alert: Summer and Tom don't work out - and as revealed on the DVD commentary, the soundtrack choices deliberately foreshadow this. Simon & Garfunkel's song Bookends was used as the band is no longer together; the same is applied to The Smiths, Mumm-Ra and Hall & Oates.
4. We're not supposed to side with Tom
Many walked away from the film thinking Summer was cruel to have left Tom, and that he was a poor, broken-hearted nice guy. But in an interview with Playboy in 2012, Gordon-Levitt asked fans to think again: "The (500) Days of Summer attitude of 'He wants you so bad' seems attractive to some women and men, especially younger ones. But I would encourage anyone who has a crush on my character to watch it again and examine how selfish he is," he said.
"He develops a mildly delusional obsession over a girl on to whom he projects all these fantasies. He thinks she'll give his life meaning because he doesn't care about much else going on in his life. A lot of boys and girls think their lives will have meaning if they find a partner who wants nothing else in life but them. That's not healthy. That's falling in love with the idea of a person, not the actual person."
Speaking to EW earlier this year, Deschanel said the reaction to the film "surprised" her: "Women will be like, 'I hated your character in that movie!' I'm like, really? She said everything from the beginning! But I think it's also a testament to how, like, adorable you are in the movie. Everyone's like, 'What?! Why would you turn him down? He's so cute!' "
5. The famous bench is gone
The bench at which Tom and Summer sit and admire the view of the Los Angeles skyline reportedly became a popular tourist attraction after the film's release. But according to the Hollywood Reporter, the bench was fenced off and closed in July 2013 due to local government budget cuts. Webb told the publication: "I don't know enough about civic agencies, and God knows budgets are difficult things to manage - and, let's be honest, maybe there are better things to spend money on. But you know what? I'll miss my bench."
6. The "penis" scene had to be altered for planes
Remember the game Summer and Tom play, where they have to yell "penis" louder and louder until someone wins? According to the DVD commentary, the actors had to re-record their dialogue for those scenes to get the film approved to play on planes, because some airlines wouldn't approve the word being played in the cabin. The word they used to swap in was "panda".
7. The colour red was deliberately never used
The colour red was reportedly kept out of the film, with the filmmakers opting to use blue to convey love. You only see the colour on screen twice: There's a red origami bird in Summer's apartment, and it's the colour of Minka Kelly's blouse when Tom meets her character at the end.
8. The famous IKEA scene almost didn't work out
Co-writer Michael H. Weber based the scenes in which Tom and Summer visit IKEA on his real-life romantic history, according to EW, but despite the fun and joyful nature of the scene, Webb said the shoot was different. "We shot when IKEA was closed, overnight, and I came back and I just didn't think that we had gotten it," he said. "I went home and I threw up, I was so nervous. I was like, this is not going to work — and it ended up being one of people's favourite scenes in the movie."