Amy Heckerling on Clueless at 20, Jane Austen and a Musical Adaptation | News Entertainment

Amy Heckerling on Clueless at 20, Jane Austen and a Musical Adaptation

19 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Like, totally….’: Penneys celebrate 20th anniversary of Clueless with €8 t-shirt that is sure to sell fast.

Amy Heckerling’s Clueless is a cultural touchstone — you’ll never forget the outfits, the quotable lines, Alicia Silverstone’s endearing turn as hopeless romantic Cher Horowitz, or the rest of her classmates and teachers from the fictional Bronson Alcott High. Our favourite 90s flick is a total betty and we’d be lost if we never had Cher in our lives (we’d probably still be thinking it was Hamlet who said ‘To thine own self be true.’) However, no matter how many times we watch Amy Heckerling’s classic and quote along with Cher, Josh, Dionne, and Tai (‘you’re a virgin who can’t drive!’) we figured there may still be one or two things we never knew about the film. ‘Everybody passed on it.Sandy’s sultry black jumpsuit in Grease, Lloyd Dobler’s classic beige trench coat from Say Anything, Sloane Peterson’s cool white leather fringe jacket in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Napoleon Dynamite’s fun and effective “Vote For Pedro” t-shirt in Napoleon Dynamite are just a few of many sartorial choices that reign supreme in the pantheon of memorable costumes from high school films.Has it really been two decades since I fell in love with Alicia Silverstone’s whip-smart, puddle-deep Cher Horowitz on a sweltering July night at a Vermont megaplex?

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the film – which starred Alicia Silverstone as Cher and Paul Rudd – Penneys have released special commemorative t-shirts. We caught up with the modern classic’s director, Amy Heckerling, to talk about the film’s lasting influence and news that it’s getting made into a stage musical.

But you simply can’t talk about teen films and their clothes without mentioning Cher Horowitz’s (Alicia Silverstone) plaid, yellow suit in Clueless. “It was so important to choose the first look,” says costume designer Mona May of Cher’s back-to-school garb, complemented by a similar but more eccentric outfit for BFF Dionne (Stacey Dash). “It’s like taking the uniform and twisting it. Over the years, I’ve rewatched Amy Heckerling’s Beverly Hills re-imagining of Jane Austen’s “Emma” — first on VHS, then on DVD and most recently on Netflix. The 1995 film became a timeless classic, with teenagers still grabbing the popcorn to follow the story of ditzy teen Cher and her Beverly Hills friends. While we’ve written much about Cher Horowitz and her gal-pals, it’s time to look at the men of Clueless, with a very special edition of Would You Rather: Josh Lucas (Paul Rudd) or Travis Birkenstock (Breckin Meyer).

I’m working on it with the woman that directed Rock of Ages and the producer that produced Jersey Boys, so we’ve got a wonderful team, and some music guys that are helping to adjust the music with some lyrical changes—it’s a jukebox musical. Despite actresses such as Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder reportedly auditioning, Amy knew from the beginning that she wanted the ‘Aerosmith girl’ – Alicia was the star of the hit music video Crying by 1980’s hair band Aerosmith. Take it to another level: Let’s make it a Dolce & Gabbana yellow suit with over-the-knee stockings and matching Mary Janes and the furry backpack and, of course, beautiful hair.” The intention with the yellow — a far cry from the dark, grunge fashions that were popular at the time of filming — was for Cher to stand out. “We wanted to make sure that she popped because she’s going to be in the quad with a lot of green around her, a lot of other kids,” May explains. “We tried different colors. This timelessness prompted entertainment journalist Jen Chaney to write “As If!,” billed as “The Oral History of ‘Clueless’ as Told by Amy Heckerling, the Cast, and the Crew.” Let’s face it, an oral history is the ultimate mark of a pop-culture icon — and Chaney’s homage does not disappoint. It also coined some of the famous ‘Clueless’ catchphrases, ‘Like, totally’, ‘As if…’ and “He does dress better than I do, what would I bring to the relationship?”

Amy explained to Vogue that Clueless’s a-ha moment was all a tribute to 1949 Gigi: ‘When Gaston decides, “Wait a minute,” and he’s walking and he’s silhouetted and then he turns around and [there’s] the color and the fountain… of course, that’s France and this is Wilshire Boulevard. Her vivid scene-by-scene recaps, insider analysis of casting decisions and meticulous wardrobe rundowns will bring you back to your own (possibly less-stylish) youth.

Yes, it uses the well-worn background of locker-filled corridors and cafeteria cattiness, but Clueless elevates itself above its genre with its love of language. She put it on and it was ‘Bam!’ It was the right tone, it was the right fun.” “She just beamed, and the way that she even walked in it, the way she even felt in it,” May adds. “It was completely Cher.

From Jane Austen scholars to Coolio to Lena Dunham and the FugGirls, these perspectives shed new light on a movie that paved the way for “Legally Blonde” and a bevy of other films about shopaholic young women with hidden reserves of grit. We learn about the careful crafting of the language, inspired by slang dictionaries, rap lyrics and teen lexicon; the special effects used to create the movie’s golden lighting despite record rainfalls during filming; and the many actors who were passed over for key parts (Angelina Jolie as Cher Horowitz? I’m her.’” Cher’s yellow suit is, of course, just one of the film’s memorable costumes. “Fashion, you could say, is a character in this film,” explains May, a testament to the importance of clothes in director Amy Heckerling’s high school hit.

Whether it’s fighting for the rights of ‘Hay-teyun’ immigrants or donating her skiing equipment to the unfortunate victims of the tragic Pismo Beach disaster, Cher is all heart. In reading the oral history book about the movie, As If!, I thought the parts about Emma were really interesting—those books were so good at explaining social rules. Think to Christian’s (Justin Walker) modernized “Rat Pack” style or Tai’s (Brittany Murphy) party overalls or, well, everything in Amber’s (Elisa Donovan) closet because it’s all just so out there.

There’d be no need to call information for a cab company — or to take that ride from Elton — if Cher could just book an Uber home from that party in the Valley. Twenty years after its release, Clueless has remained at the forefront of pop-culture (chatter of the real-life possibility of a styling computer program like Cher’s, Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” music video, and now, anniversary reminiscing and re-watching). That means no getting stranded in a parking lot by that jerk, no getting robbed at gunpoint, and certainly no getting on the ground in her designer dress. May has some theories on the reasons behind the continued relevance of the costumes in particular: —Timeless Styles: “I think that the clothes are timeless because they are reaching into the past,” May says, giving over-the-knee stockings, plaid skirts, pea coats, berets, and headbands, among others, as examples.

Long before it became popularised by Jamie Oliver, Cher was addressing the problem of child obesity in schools, bringing it to the attention of her gym teacher by questioning the long 40-minute wait just to swipe a racket at a few tennis balls. The unexpected trip on the freeway that terrified Cher and led Dionne’s virginity to go from technical to nonexistent probably wouldn’t have happened with Google Maps and GPS.

If you watch a movie like Swingers where they’re deciding how many days a guy is supposed to wait before he calls a woman back, then that all changes when there’s texting, because when you get a text right after you go out with somebody, it’s not really a big deal, it’s not like he was so desperate that he called you right away. She also pointed to an A-line leather skirt and white sheer blouse combo of Cher’s, noting that something very similar is selling at Barneys right now. “It’s the beauty of the classic shapes, and I think also a staying power.” May, however, is resistant to calling the Clueless style classic altogether, fearing that it might imply boring — it’s also feminine and flirty, youthful and fun. Cher’s attempt at a steamy night with Christian wouldn’t involve burnt cookies (she’d totally have them delivered, fresh from the oven), and teens these days probably wouldn’t turn to Spartacus (or, as Cher calls it, “Sparatacus”) for a movie night. So it all has different meaning. [In Austen’s day], when people were waiting for letters, and sometimes the letters would cross because you wrote one too quickly before you got the one where they were saying things, you’re answering things that the ground has shifted underneath it because of the letter you just got.

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