TV & Movies

The 500 Days Of Summer Elevator Scene Drives Zooey Deschanel “Absolutely Crazy”

“Nobody seems to care,” the actor tells Bustle. “People like the movie anyway.”

Even 14 years later, few romantic comedies have sparked as much conversation as (500) Days of Summer. In case you’ve managed to miss the discourse, the film follows Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel as Tom and Summer — a couple whose relationship falls apart under the weight of Tom’s idealized expectations.

The polarizing pair’s first interaction happens in an elevator on Day 4 of the titular 500. Summer, then Tom’s new co-worker, overhears “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” playing through Tom’s headphones. “I love The Smiths,” she says (twice, famously, since Tom doesn’t hear her at first) before singing along to the 1986 song.

The encounter leaves Tom gobsmacked, marking the beginning of his infatuation with Summer: “Holy sh*t,” he says, as she leaves the elevator. Over the years, the scene has had staying power — like on TikTok, where the audio from one clip has been used in more than 130,000 posts, many of them recreating Summer’s “I said I love the Smiths” with an air of annoyance for having to repeat themselves. Even Deschanel herself got in on the trend earlier this year. “I said what I said,” she captioned the post with more than a million likes.

In a recent interview with Bustle, Deschanel — who joins Apple TV+’s Physical for Season 3 — reflected on filming the iconic scene, and the surprising reason it’s a little hard to watch. “That clip always bothers me because I actually couldn’t hear the song through the headphones when we were shooting it,” she explained. “And I sang it in a key that was comfortable to me, but not in the key that Morrissey sings it in.” Deschanel acknowledged that most people don’t really notice the key change. “It drives me absolutely crazy every single time. Doesn’t matter. Nobody seems to care. People like the movie anyway.”

The New Girl alum also talked about the legacy of her Golden Globe-nominated film. “The movie is very biased, and that’s what makes it interesting,” she said. “That’s what makes it different. It’s completely from Tom’s point of view.”

That isn’t to say everyone got the memo right away, of course. “So many people right after it came out said, like, ‘I hate you, Summer!’” Deschanel recalled. “And I’m like, well, we barely even really got to know Summer. We really saw her from afar. She’s very objectified.”

Gordon-Levitt, for his part, has defended Summer from naysayers, too. “It’s mostly Tom’s fault,” the actor tweeted in 2018. “He’s projecting. He’s not listening. He’s selfish. Luckily he grows by the end.”