Why Clueless Almost Didn’t Get Made 20 Years Ago, As If!

Photo: Everett Collection/REX USA
Clueless is too female-focused? As if! Twenty years after the iconic '90s movie introduced us to Cher, Dionne, and the beautiful world of Beverly Hills teens who, in the words of Tai, "talk like grown-ups,” our love for the now-classic film holds strong. But it almost never was: When writer/director Amy Heckerling first shopped the script around, it was met by much of the same gender-based pushback that still plagues movie making today, The Telegraph reports in a fun and fascinating look back at the making of the movie, as told by the cast and crew.
According to Hecklerling, Fox approached her to come up with a new TV show concept, because they were tired of high school stories told exclusively from the point of view of "the nerds and the outcasts." The Fast Times at Ridgemont High directer came up with this fun, fresh, pop-culture-infused adaptation of the classic Jane Austen novel, Emma. No brainer? Not at first. Fox scrapped the project for being "too female-oriented." (If only this weren't still a problem. But we digress.) Thankfully, Fox's loss was Paramount's gain, Clueless hit theaters in the summer of 1995 alongside space drama Apollo 13 and Disney's Pochahontas, and post-grunge teenage America started to love plaid skirts and knee-high stockings. Where did Cher get her name? "It was 1995," Heckerling explains, "so Cher was 15 going on 16, she was born in 1980, which meant her mother was a teenager in the late sixties. She would have looked to the famous women then and thought, 'I’m going to have a daughter named Cher.' " "When I read the script, I thought every page was so hysterical," Cher-incarnate, Alicia Silverstone, told the Winnipeg Free Press in 1995. Donald Faison, who played Murray, the boyfriend of Cher's BFF Dionne, charmingly admits to having a crush on actress Stacey Dash: "I’m sure I scared her off — my eyes were so big and I was enamored by her. I remember telling my friends that I was going to be dating the girl from Mo' Money and they were going crazy, asking if I was going to kiss her. I was like, 'Yeah! You bet I’m gonna kiss her. I'm gonna give her a good kiss too!' " And we can't forget about a little-known actor named Paul Rudd, who played Cher's ex-step-brother/love interest, Josh. "It was so exciting because it was one of the first movies I did," Rudd revealed to Perez Hilton back in 2013. "I remember being like, 'Oh my God, this is the Paramount lot!' You know, those huge gates. 'And it’s the girl from the Aerosmith video!’" We're kvelling. For more, check out the complete oral history from The Telegraph.

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