Studio 360

How the Stars of Booksmart Became Best Friends to Portray Best Friends

BFFs Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever share their favorite on-screen friendships.

Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever on the set of Booksmart.
Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever on the set of Booksmart.
Courtesy of Annapurna Pictures

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The end-of-high-school romp is a movie genre that includes comedies like American Graffiti from the 1970s, Dazed and Confused from the 1990s, and Superbad from the 2000s.

They’re movies that follow a certain template: There’s a megaparty to be had, and it’s a wild, wacky, booze-fueled odyssey to get there.

But these movies are also stories focused on boys’ lives—rueful, horny boys wanting to break the rules, get the girl, and get out of town. But this summer, finally, the template has been updated.

Booksmart is a new movie directed by Olivia Wilde, about two smart young women, Molly and Amy, who are best friends finishing at the top of their class because they spent high school doing homework and volunteering instead of partying so they could get into good colleges—only to realize that their hard-partying classmates also got into those same good schools. Queue the wild, wacky, booze-fueled odyssey to get to the megaparty.

But the depiction of the two girls and their friendship is not generic, but specific and fresh and believable. The stars, Beanie Feldstein (Lady Bird) and Kaitlyn Dever (Justified), talk with Kurt Andersen about stereotypes, role models, and how they decided to become roommates before shooting the film and actually became friends before portraying them.

They also share their favorite on-screen friendships that inspired the enchanting bond between their characters.

“This movie was never, ever for two boys,” Kaitlyn Dever says. “It was always in the female voice and these characters are so, so strong.”

This podcast was produced by Studio 360’s Lauren Hansen.

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