As a teenager, is it possible to be too dedicated to your schoolwork? That’s the question at the heart of Booksmart, Olivia Wilde‘s directorial debut that follows high school seniors Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever), brilliant best friends who realize their determination to be good students means they’ve missed out on a crucial part of the high school experience: partying. “I feel like I’ve never seen one of these characters at the center of a comedy, let alone two of them,” Feldstein says. “The smart, engaged girl is often a secondary character.”
This time, not only are smart girls front and center but they have one night before graduation to make up for four years of good decisions. Think of it as a coming-of-age story, albeit a rushed one. “Teen comedies were our inspirations,” Dever says. “We watched Fast Times at Ridgemont High before we made the movie just to prep.” As Wilde previously described the film to EW, it’s “a modern-day Clueless meets Dazed and Confused.”
The script for the film had been floating around for years before Wilde became attached. “Olivia came on about two years after I’d been attached,” Dever remembers. “Then [writer] Katie Silberman came on and the two of them together are so smart and so funny and took Booksmart to a new level. The best friend relationship is what Olivia really wanted to shine.”
That’s why stars Dever and Feldstein decided to live together during filming. “It was immeasurable how much [living together] affected the experience,” Feldstein says. “We were so comfortable and relaxed together. Out of this film, I got a new best friend.”
Watch an exclusive clip from the new comedy above.
Booksmart hits theaters May 24.
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