LOS ANGELES – Olivia Wilde, who is making her directorial debut with a comedy about two female high-school students titled “Booksmart,” told EFE that the rupture of a friendship can be just as traumatic, or even more so, than a romantic breakup.
“There aren’t enough movies or songs about the love between and, indeed, the end of a friendship. You know? A friendship breakup can be traumatizing in ways that are deeper sometimes than a romantic breakup,” said the 35-year-old American actress, who is best known for her role as a doctor in the medical drama television series “House.”
“Because society gives us the context for a romantic breakup, we sort of prepare ourselves to have several different romances that we know we will heal from. But friendships are so deep. You are so vulnerable with that best friend, particularly in high school,” she added.
“Booksmart,” which will be released at theaters across the United States on Friday, was well-received by audiences at the South by Southwest festival in March in Austin, Texas, where it made its world premiere, and also has a 100 percent positive score on the review-aggregation Web site Rotten Tomatoes.
It tells the story of Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever), a pair of close friends and top-notch students who decide they have been too studious in high school and opt to let loose for one night before heading off to university.
A film that boasts outstanding chemistry between the two main actresses and star turns by other cast members in secondary roles (particularly Billie Lourd), “Booksmart” explores the close links that are forged during adolescence, Wilde said.
“This is an age where this person knows you better than your family does. And that’s the first time that’s happened. And you can feel so comfortable with them, but what happens when you feel yourself evolving away? It’s a hard time,” she added.
While filled with hilarious situations and laugh-out-loud humor, both innocent and crude, “Booksmart” also skillfully transitions from light-hearted fun to weighty emotion when examining crucial aspects of puberty such as sexuality and peer pressure.
In that regard, Wilde said cinema played a big role in helping her overcome the doubts that plagued her as a teenager.
“I needed movies as an adolescent. They helped me to survive. My friendships helped me to survive and the movies. I escaped through movies, I was inspired by movies,” the director said.
“I think about all of John Hughes’ films, but ‘The Breakfast Club’ (1985) was transformative for me. ‘Dazed and Confused’ (1993), ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’ (1982), ‘Clueless’ (1995) ... These movies made me feel less alone. They made me feel excited to be young and they made me understand people in different ways,” Wilde said.
“Booksmart,” which has a female director, two women in the starring roles and four female screenwriters, is proof that audiences are looking for more stories from a “female perspective,” she said.
“If I had tried to make this 10 years ago, it wouldn’t have happened. So there’s slow progress, but I think we’re at this place now where women are being given more opportunities ... (and) I want to help that happen in any way I can,” Wilde added.