DETAILS: Unlike Juno and Jennifer's Body, your new movie isn't about high school—but it is about a woman who writes young-adult novels and decides to steal her high-school boyfriend away from his wife. Why are you so fascinated with that time of life?
Diablo Cody: I think I related to her because I'd spent years writing about teenagers. I had to look inside myself and wonder why that was happening. I felt inspired to write about somebody who writes about teenagers because she herself is emotionally immature and can't leave that world behind.

DETAILS: Are you calling yourself emotionally immature?
Diablo Cody: I would use the word stunted.

DETAILS: People are calling this your most mature effort to date.
Diablo Cody: I appreciate that. It's possible that I've matured as a writer, and I hope I've matured emotionally, but I always find myself revisiting these adolescent scenes.

DETAILS: This is also your second movie in a row to feature a psycho-prom-queen type whose self-worth is derived from her appearance.
Diablo Cody: Jason [Reitman] and I joke that this is the horror movie we meant to make together. It is a kind of a horror movie about narcissism and about somebody who's wounded in a more psychic way.

DETAILS: It's uncanny the way Charlize Theron, who plays that part, can go from radiant to haggard in the blink of an eye.
Diablo Cody: When she was cast, I was obviously thrilled, but I also thought, "How will we get an audience to feel any pity for somebody this stunning?" And yet she's able to shape-shift into a pitiful creature when she needs to, so we were able to go places I don't think we could have gone without her. I don't know anybody else who could've done that.

DETAILS: Her character stays pretty despicable right up to the end. Why?
Diablo Cody: People don't have these tidy little redemption arcs in reality the way they do in movies. It didn't seem to me that she was going to go back to her hometown and have this experience and suddenly be enlightened and be a better person. For me it was much more satisfying to have her not learn her lesson.

DETAILS: Is that some kind of Hollywood allegory?
Diablo Cody: That's a heavy question. I do think there is a subtext about fame. Charlize's character watches reality TV all day, particularly Kendra and the Kardashians—people who are famous for fame's sake. Unfortunately, I think that's a view that's becoming more and more prevalent. People are more interested in being visible than they are in loving other people.

DETAILS: Young Adult is also another black comedy. Is that becoming your shtick?
Diablo Cody: For sure. I'm definitely a shticky writer—I'll put that out there. I intended to write this as a straight drama, but when you're writing about people the humor always creeps in. People's foibles are funny to me. So it wound up falling into the dramedy category.

DETAILS: Are you trying to shed your reputation as the queen of quirk?
Diablo Cody: I don't want it to come off like it was a response—I wrote this script to write the script, not to prove a point. But at the same time, I thought this was an opportunity to show that I can stretch. I definitely didn't want to revisit the typical dialogue style that people associate with me.

DETAILS: Waverly Prep, the fictitious series Charlize Theron's character writes, sounds like Sweet Valley High by way of Gossip Girl, and you're working on an actual Sweet Valley High adaptation. Was it a big deal for you growing up?
Diablo Cody: To be honest, I still read that stuff now sometimes, and I'm not the only thirtysomething woman I know who does. It's like candy. I wish I was a blonde twin.

DETAILS: Next you're directing your first feature, which will star Russell Brand and explore the sinful world of Las Vegas. Are you drawing on your past life as a stripper for the material?
Diablo Cody: I'm not going to lie: There are some strippers in the film. But it's not only about sexual temptation—just about any vice you can think of is covered.

DETAILS: Will it be your most mature effort to date?
Diablo Cody: I'd like this one to stay my most mature effort to date, and then I can just backslide into utter immaturity.

DETAILS: Do you still maintain that you had your 15 minutes of fame after Juno, and that these days you're just a working writer?
Diablo Cody: I think that's true. I just go about my life. I'm a mom, I drive an SUV, I go to the grocery store every day. I'm definitely not a celebrity. I always say that I'm a celebrity-adjacent.




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