08/17/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Interview: Marc Webb, director of (500) Days of Summer

So, Marc Webb -- why is it that guys tend to take getting dumped so much harder than women?

"Male ego is involved in a different way than with a woman," says Webb, director of the new romantic comedy, (500) Days of Summer. "When guys fall, when they really fall -- it can be a brutal thing. For me, it was totally painful. It was very confusing. It felt like the universe had made a mistake. How could it go so wrong?

"Haven't we all been there? I think that's why I liked the script. It felt like such an obvious thing to tell a story about. But that story is rarely told from the male point of view. Usually you have to insert yourself into the women's shoes. Because this movie is so low-budget and the financial stake was low, I was able to do something legitimate and truthful about that experience."

Tom, the central character in Webb's directorial debut, isn't just hit by the love hammer - he's pounded into the ground like a tent peg. As played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom is a hopeless romantic, the kind of guy who believes that love can conquer any obstacle -- even the formidable defenses of Summer (Zooey Deschanel), who declares herself a nonbeliever in love.

And why is it that the guy's side of this equation is so rarely told? Webb isn't quite sure, though he suspects it has to do with a certain masculine unwillingness to admit to that kind of vulnerability. Plus, well, the other kind of movie has a successful track record.

"There's an inertia to romantic movies; they're told with a certain formula and that's a powerful, successful formula," Webb says. "People don't want to mess with it.

"It's difficult to market a movie to guys that uses the words 'romance' or 'love.' This movie tested better with guys than girls -- but it's the kind of movie they're less likely to recommend to their friends."

Still, Webb doesn't want to give the impression that this is just a movie about one guy's experience.

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