There are probably only a handful of filmmakers out there that I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed everything they’ve done. Cameron Crowe is on the list. Michael Mann is likely one. John Hughes is another. And can’t say I’ve seen a bad Richard Donner film either. But if Wikipedia dedicated a page to folks who rarely make rotten flicks, Amy Heckerling’s name would likely be atop of the page somewhere. From “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” to “National Lampoon’s European Vacation”, the cash-cow that was the “Look Who’s Talking” franchise, brazenly ’90s tour de force “Clueless”, side-splitting Guilty Pleasure “A Night at the Roxbury” (Okay, so I’m likely alone, or in the minority, on that one), and adorable rom-com “I Could Never Be Your Woman” (Which unfortunately hasn’t been seen by many), Heckerling’s given us some mighty great films -some of my favourites, in fact. I know quite a few folks that have worked with Heckerling over the years – Twink Caplan (Hi Twink! Hope the dogs are well!), Robert Romanus (A “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” alumnus), and Eric Stoltz, for instance – and they talk very, very highly of Heckerling. Not surprised, films like “Clueless” and “Look Who’s Talking” could only have been made by a gracious, worldly and extremely imaginative filmmaker.
As readers of Moviehole know, I’ve been writing and producing films for about five or six years now (first screenplay was optioned by a WB outfit in ’06; latest producing effort, “Complacent”, opened in L.A in May). I’m asked regularly if they’re any filmmakers who inspired the decision to tackle the cut-throat world of movie-making and I gotta say, Amy Heckerling’s definitely one. I adore her.
Speaking from the set of her latest film “Vamps”, a vampire flick starring Alicia Silverstone and Sigourney Weaver, Heckerling talks to Clint Morris about some of her ‘classics’ and offers us a tease of her next flick..
Amy, how is it that you’ve been able to tap into the younger generation so well – sometimes I wonder whether you know the everyday 17-year-old better than they know themselves!
I’m not really thinking about young people.
I’m just thinking about stuff I like whenever I write movies. Possibly I’m a bit immature…
So you credit your immaturity to the success of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”? How did you get involved in that?
I had been developing some projects at Universal when Art Linson, a producer who was working there, showed me the “Fast Times” script. I gave him some thoughts, he asked me to have a meeting with the Universal executives, they liked my ideas, and they had me meet with Cameron Crowe.
And I take it that meeting with Cameron Crowe sealed the deal?
I had a major creative crush on him. The rest is history.
And from “Fast Times” you went on to direct such studio tentpoles as “National Lampoon’s European Vacation”, which took you to England…
I love England. Many of my best friends are form the UK, but that particular experience was not a happy one for me. And I’ll leave it at that.
Was “Look Who’s Talking” a more pleasurable experience? How’d it come about?
At the time, I considered myself lucky that I had made the movie before all the “Babe” CGI technology came around. The more realistic they try to make the babies’ and animals’ mouths move, the creepier it looks, but that’s just me. As for how the series started, one day, my ex-husband – who was a comedy writer-type – and I were looking at my infant daughter Mollie sitting in her baby seat, and he started doing wacky voices for her, and I thought, “Ah shit, is this going to be my next movie?” Cuz I thought it would be a hit, but I didn’t want to do it. But then I talked myself into doing it.
And you’d be glad you did – huge hit! Have you heard they’re remaking it?
There are rumors percolating that they’re rebooting “Look Who’s Talking” due to the popularity of the E-trade baby commercials.
Can’t say I’ve seen the commercials. The only thing cuter than Baby Mikey (in “Look Who’s Talking”) is Alicia Silverstone – what was it about Alicia that made her the perfect fit for Cher in “Clueless”?
Alicia exudes sweetness and yet she’s physically very sexy. When you see her on-screen, you care about her.
And you’re working with Alicia again as we speak – on “Vamps”. Is this your take on “Twilight”? or can we expect a vampiric version of “Fast Times”?
Hopefully, it will be something new, but you can’t help being who you are, so things never stray that far.
How is it reuniting with Alicia after all these years?
I love Alicia as if she were my own daughter. Whenever I see her, I just feel happy, and the idea of seeing her every day and making a movie is about as good as it gets for me.