By Adam B. Vary
Updated April 19, 2012 at 10:00 PM EDT

Creative writers often talk about how their characters end up taking on lives of their own, communicating what they want to do in the story to the writer, instead of the other way ’round. Ruby Sparks, the follow-up film from Little Miss Sunshine directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, takes that common experience and makes it real: What if a struggling writer (Paul Dano) manifests the perfect manic pixie dream girl girlfriend (Zoe Kazan, who also penned the script) purely from his own imagination?

Check out the trailer below:

As an expat Ohioan, I’m fairly certain this is the first time in modern cinema that Dayton has been called “romantic.”

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Read more:

Zoe Kazan (Elia’s granddaughter) on how to become an actor-slash-writer