It's a testament to the strength of Heckerling's script that Clueless has proven to be both as timely and timeless as its literary big sister—the film is a re-working of Jane Austen's Emma.Lifting the story from the manor houses of 19th-century England and plunking it down in Beverly Hills, the epicenter of "contempo-casual" teenage cool, Heckerling managed to preserve the spirit and satirical wit of Austen's novel while simultaneously penning the vernacular of the decade.She takes credit where credit is due but will gladly admit that one of the film's most memorable moments—Cher's mispronunciation of "Haitians" as "Hat-ee-ans" in Mr.
"It wasn't written that way in the script" Heckerling recalls, "but that's how she said it.
Amy Heckerling's 1995 classic draws on influences that range from Jane Austen to linguistics research to Liza Minnelli in "Cabaret." We talked to the iconic filmmaker about how she brought it all together.
"I can tell you where every word came from," director Amy Heckerling says when asked about the origins of Clueless's now-iconic dialogue.
Perched on the edge of its 21st birthday, the film will be screening in 35 mm alongside Heckerling's Fast Times at Ridgemont High at New York's new Metrograph theater this weekend as part of a retrospective of the writer-director's work.
As much as the movie is a perfectly preserved time capsule of pop culture, in 1995, Clueless also provided its adolescent audience with something to grow into.
If they were slightly too young to appreciate the subtler notes of the film's playful eye rolls, double entendres, and slew of references—even as they quoted it endlessly—at the time, today, they make memes out of it.Now 62, Heckerling says she never tires of talking about the movie."I read in a linguistics study that it was the least favorite word of the year," she says with a subtly gleeful expression."It just works in so many situations." Parents of teenagers can thank her for many years to come.A crewmember suggested the phrase "going postal"; "keeping it real" naturally sprang from actor Donald Faison on set. " Heckerling traces directly back to a close friend, and "hymenally challenged" was her own response to the growing prevalence of PC terminology in the 90s.Does Heckerling take credit for the ubiquity of the word "whatever"?