Amy Heckerling on Making Clueless: 'Everybody in Hollywood Passed on It'

Amy Heckerling on Making Clueless: 'Everybody in Hollywood Passed on It'
Screenshot:Paramount Pictures

Clueless turned 25 this week (holding back an “As if!” so hard my fingers might break), and to commemorate this momentous occasion, Amy Heckerling spoke to Variety about how hard it was to get this film made in the first place.

“Everybody in Hollywood passed on it,” Heckerling said. “My agent Ken Stovitz was just driving himself insane trying to think of places and things and people that he could get it to and who would read it. And, you know, it was pretty much, ‘No no no no.’”

Apparently, a bunch of Hollywood boneheads just didn’t get it. “It’s kind of like when you read it, I don’t think people understood the humor,” Heckerling said.

My theory is that Los Angeles people didn’t get it because they lived it: the famous scene, for instance, where Cher and Dionne are talking to each other side by side on their cell phones was ripped right from a real-life Hollywood scene, according to Heckerling. It is also, sadly, a lot less funny now, in a world in which we’re all on our phones right next to each other. But, hey, it’s been a few decades:

“Of course, they had these big hunking cellphones, right? But nobody else was walking around with cell phones. I think in Europe, maybe people were using them more than [in] America, and drug dealers and shit,” she says. “The producer was pacing back and forth across the field from where I was shooting babies, and he was yammering on his phone. And the other producer was, like, half a field away from him walking back and forth on his cell phone. Me and the [director of photography] were talking, and he goes, ‘Who do you think they’re talking to?’ We go, ‘Each other.’ I mean, theoretically, they could have walked a few yards over to each other and talked. But it just cracks me up to think, ‘OK, so, now this is how we’ll all talk to each other.’”

Thankfully, Scott Rudin got his hands on the script, Paramount signed, and Clueless became an icon. But there is a world in which there could be no Clueless, which truly would have been as totally tragic as the Pismo Beach disaster.

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