Screenwriting partners Michael Weber and Scott Neustadler are hailed as the writing duo who reinvigorated the classic “coming of age” film. Their co-written works — The Fault in Our Stars (2014), which grossed more than $300 million worldwide, Spectacular Now (2013), and 500 Days of Summer (2009) — have been lauded by The New York Times for responding to Hollywood’s glamorized and sexualized ideas of romance and teen-dom and applauded for returning a fresh sense of realness to the genre. Cameron Crowe, writer-director of Say Anything, Almost Famous, and Jerry Maguire, wrote in an email to The New York Times that the duo “writes characters that are completely free of stereotypes. Their stuff emits a high-pitched signal that says: This is authentic. And funny, too.”
They pulled inspiration from the classics of John Hughes, a director famous for his ability to tap into teen angst, teen speak, and the romantic lives of the young (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Breakfast Club, and Sixteen Candles) and from their own immature, awkward coming-of-age journeys. In fact, Neustadler’s own unfortunate love story with an aloof girl inspired the plot of 500 Days of Summer, which was Fox Searchlight’s biggest hit of 2009.
Before Michael Weber started creating our generation’s classic love stories, he too had to grow up, which he did while attending Newhouse. He graduated with a television-radio-film degree in 2000 and was recently celebrated at the school’s “50Forward” Gala, which celebrated the school’s 50th anniversary by honoring 50 alumni who are notable for their forward-thinking achievements and for their willingness to give back to the school.
Here is an excerpt from the screenplay of The Fault In Our Stars:
Mr. Van Houten, I’m a good person
but a shitty writer. You’re a
shitty person but a good writer.
We’d make a good team. I don’t want
to ask you any favors but if you
have the time, and from what I saw
you have plenty, please fix this
for me. It’s a eulogy for Hazel.”
— Danielle Roth