Interviews

Exclusive Interview : Twink Caplan

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Caffeinated Clint
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Clint is the creator, editor and maintainer of Moviehole.

Talks the “Clueless :Whatever Edition” DVD


Having starred in most of her movies, it may seem like actress Twink Caplan is merely riding on the coattails of successful filmmaker Amy Heckerling. Truth is, Caplan helped blueprint those coattails. CLINT MORRIS talks to the talented actress/producer about the hippest film of the 90’s, “Clueless”.

Caplan, who kicked off her career in such films as “Pennies from Heaven” (1981) and “Under the Rainbow” (1981), met Fast Times at Ridgemont High director Hecklering “Twenty-three years ago. She knew I was also an actress since I’d done many TV shows and films…. She came to my plays”, gushes Caplan, who went on to star in Heckerling’s “Look Who’s Talking” films. “It was kismet. I lost my mother and it was a time of deep grief for me. Amy was shy, I was loud. Complete opposites and we clicked right off. I worked my way up from secretary, assistant, consultant, development executive, associate producer, co-producer to producer. It was a beautiful friendship – profound that two people could be such close friends, work everyday together and as an actress have her as my director. We trusted each other”.

Their ultimate collaboration was on 1995’s “Clueless”, a hip romantic comedy about a spoilt Beverly Hills teenager that finally finds her footing. It had quite the tumultuous foundation years, says Heckerling.

“Amy and I brought Clueless – which was initially “I was a teenage teenager” – to 20th Century Fox. They felt the story needed more “boys” in it and wouldn’t appeal to a larger audience with so many girls. They put it into turn around. We were deeply disappointed”, says Caplan. “However! one of Scott Rudin’s associates, a music guy, had read the script and given it to Scott and he [Scott] loved it. He got in touch with us and we moved into Paramount! They were really excited about it. Sherry Lansing and John Goldwyn and the gang…it was intoxicating. We were so encouraged by their support”.

Caplan was hired to co-produce the film.

“I was with Amy at the conception. I was in the library getting the books with the language, at 20th Century Fox, at her house working when we went into turn-around, at Paramount in casting sessions, looking at the reels from cinematographers, meeting with the fabulous Mona May talking about the design and colour and look of the movie, props, set design, locations, every facet. It was all in Amy’s head and I was by her side through every loving minute”.

For the role of the titular teenager, Cher, the girls hired a newbie. Alicia Silverstone, fresh off a couple of Aerosmith music videos.

“Carrie Frazier had mentioned the adorable girl in the Aerosmith Video to Amy. One night when Amy was on her tread mill she saw the video and loved Alicia”, says Caplan. “Everyone auditioned for the role [though]. Reese Witherspoon, and every young star today! The audition tapes are a hoot”.

The role of the bookish schoolteacher in the film was written specifically for Caplan to play.

“Amy wrote the part for me. Did you notice Amy as my bridesmaid in my wedding to Wallace Shawn (Mr. Hall)? She cut most of herself out but had always promised to be my bridesmaid at my wedding!”, laughs Caplan, whose other film credits include “A Night at the Roxbury” and “Loser”.

The film changed quite a bit as it neared closer to production.

“As both writer and director, Amy is a master at adding lines and illuminating a scene on the set. She identifies innate qualities each actor brings and engages them with what is happening in the scene. Before we shot the film, I remember her rewriting the scene where Cher realizes she loves Josh and what event should pull them together and also the scene where Cher and her father have a heartfelt talk”, says Caplan.

After the success of the movie, a TV series spin-off was commissioned.

“I talked (original stars) Stacy Dash, Elisa Donovan, Donald Faison, Sean Holland, Wallace Shawn – and, well, myself – into joining us. But Brittany Murphy and Alica Silverstone went off to other avenues”, she says.

What the studio really wanted though was a sequel to the film – Caplan and Heckerling cast off the idea.

“Amy knew Clueless was a gem and not to mess with it. It’s like the Look Who’s Talking films. Look Who’s Talking Too was not as good as Look Who’s Talking. Neither Amy nor I worked on Look Who’s Talking Now which was dreck….”don’t stay too long at the fair”, you know?”.

Caplan, whose now working on Heckerling’s latest film “If I Could be your woman” (“How’s the new film “I could Never Be Your Woman” going? It’s really cute. I think it will do great at the box office. It’s light and fun and has Amy’s signature on it) says it’s fantastic that “Clueless” is getting a special edition DVD Release. She agrees that it is unfortunate that star Alicia Silverstone couldn’t be involved though, but she was apparently tied up elsewhere. They “asked to be a part of it but they didn’t seem to be able to get hold of her. Maybe she was out of the country…I just saw her in London when we were filming a month ago and she is so adorable”.

CLUELESS: WHATEVER EDITION hits DVD December 1st

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