with David Levithan
of “Every Day”
Texas, February 22, 2018
relate to this idea of the essential essence of a person beyond a physical
manifestation because I've been married 49 years to the woman I met in
Junior High. Obviously, she's
changed a lot since then, physically, but the essence of her has remained
uniquely her. Does that
resonate with you?
freely admit it was not in the book, but I love that they have Rhiannon's
parents in the movie. I think
with the plot about Rhiannon being first love, new and young, I'm glad
there's this counterpoint of her parents, that they've changed.
And you choose whether to grow closer or not, but it's still a
conversation, there's still something you love about them, even if they
change over time. That does
add the element of time to the narrative, but that wouldn't be present
with just teenage characters.
RS: So why
did you decide to go teenage?
I am a YA writer (young adult), and that's the reason:
I think it's the origin story for our identities.
In high school, that's the first time you really have the agency to
decide who you are, and you can take on influences outside of your family
or the classroom, and so that seems a natural time for characters to
explore. And specifically for
A, part of my question was “How long could you be that lonely without
falling into despair?” ---if you've gone ever day of your life without
connecting to anybody; every day being separate.
So A, being 16, needs to connect to somebody or something's going
to go very wrong.
liked A's unselfish act in letting Rhi go because he thought she needed a
real relationship, but I worried later that the guy she was investing in
wouldn't be the same person she expected, so how would that work?
I guess that would be for the sequel?
DL: As a
matter of fact, it is! (both
RS: So it
must have been interesting casting this thing.
happily, I was a bystander in this. But
the Rhiannon character was perfect. And
the Director sent me the images of all 16 of the leads, and it was
important to me that it was diverse, even if it didn't precisely match the
RS: OK, I
have a religious bent, so I have to go here.
It's hard for me to think about the concept of “spirit” or
“soul” without associative religious content.
How do you feel about that?
DL: It is
not the approach that I took to it, but I think it's certainly an
interpreation that fits. I've
received great e-mails from readers who've commented on that.
We just have faith in what we believe, and I think that works.
The one thing about A—I don't want to say he's a pure soul---but
he's trying to do the right thing. The
defining characteristic is his moral responsibility, and that clearly
comes from somewhere.
DL: And in
the sequel we have “X,” who's the foil to “A,” the opposite.
the introduction of evil.
strong resisted writing a good vs. evil story in this one, because I
wanted it be about identity and love.
But a natural next step would be to examine what happens when
somebody gets away with something because he can.
There are certainly moral and religious interpretations to that.
written the sequel—are we going to see another movie?
DL: I hope
so! We're seeing how the next
few weeks go!
RS: I hope
so, as well. Good luck to you.