What would society look like if only the young adults and children of the world were around to run it?
We sat down with author/director/producer Chris Weitz (most famously known in the fandom world for directing THE TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON) at Comic-Con to talk about his new Young Adult book, THE YOUNG WORLD, which looks to answer that question!
What was the inspiration for THE YOUNG WORLD?
Well, part of the inspiration was just getting sent a lot of YA stuff after I did NEW MOON and THE GOLDEN COMPASS, and that sort of inspiring me to do it myself. Also, meeting the fans of TWILIGHT and realizing this is a very avid reading public, incredibly enthusiastic and supportive, and this is a great age to write about and for. other than that, just kind of the wish fulfillment of having the run of your own city. Just you and your friends.
Why are people compelled by the idea of young people running their own society?
I think that teenagers are in kind of an odd positions, which is they know what they want and they’re pretty much grown up, but they don’t have any financial or legal power. It’s inevitable at that age that you want to have the run of things because you think, right or wrong, that things would get better if you did.
Jefferson and Donna’s point-of-views are written in two different styles. Why did you decide to write it that way?
For me, the often female characters in books are the more responsible ones and male characters are the more tear-away ones. I preferred it the other way around. I liked the notion of having two contrasting viewpoints on the same fence. I thought that would make it interesting.
How has your experience as a director influenced the way you write or vice versa?
It’s interesting insomuch that if I wrote this with directing in mind, I wouldn’t have set it in so many expensive locations. I chose the places– a lot of them in New York– that are a lot of the most beautiful places, but it’s sort of impossible to film there. So I wasn’t thinking ahead well enough!
I certainly had to divorce the director part of myself from the writer part of myself so I wouldn’t worry about things like budget and scheduling the whole time. And actors and that kinda stuff.
Speaking of actors… Considering you’re a writer/producer/director, did you fancast your characters while writing them?
I sort of time-travel fancasted it. Donna is really Winona Ryder from MERMAIDS. *laughter* I’m not sure who Jefferson is, but she was definitely Winona.