Olivia Wilde: ‘Being young is the most painful and most hilarious experience’

Olivia Wilde makes an appearance at Buzzfeed
There’s a lot of positive buzz about Booksmart, the coming of age movie which marks Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut. It has a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and audiences love it too. Some reports are focusing on its poor performance at the box office, but it didn’t get much promotion by its distributor and it wasn’t a bug budget film. I haven’t seen it in theaters yet but I plan to. The Guardian has an interview with Olivia which I found interesting and wanted to talk about. I especially liked what she said about how they’re not making the same kind of movies for teens that we had growing up. (Although she’s a decade younger than me.)

You’ve said you want Booksmart to be a generational anthem. What does that mean in 2019?
Well, the greatest generational anthems in my film-watching experience, specifically The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, were a real celebration of the exciting independence of youth. There’s something punk rock about it: “We’re in charge, our voices matter and we know more than the grown-ups.” And that represents this young generation to me now. They’re like: “You’ve put us in a fucked-up political situation, the Earth is dying, there are maniacs in power, you’ve created this binary way of thinking about gender and sexuality, which we don’t accept. We’d actually like to shift this paradigm – you’re done!”

There were a lot of high-school comedies in the 1980s and 90s, but fewer recently. Why did they stop getting made?
I think they became more patronising: it became about poking fun at the ineptitude of young boys in terms of sexuality. Think of American Pie: there’s a lot of truly funny performances, but it seemed to lose touch with the deeply emotional crises that you see in those John Hughes movies. Being young is the most painful and the most hilarious experience.

Your mother ran (unsuccessfully) for Congress. What was it like?
I’ve been interested in politics for a long time. I worked very hard for Obama in 2008 and 2012, but local politics, congressional races are unique. I’ve seen my mom do incredible things: she’s worked in war zones as a journalist, she’s spoken truth to power in different ways, she’s also just my kick-ass mom, but seeing her in this position was unbelievable. The energy it takes to run for office, I could never do it. It’s so vulnerable and it’s so exhausting because the campaign finance system in electoral politics is so corrupt that, in order to stay afloat as a candidate, you are constantly raising money. It’s really unfortunate, but there are bright spots on the horizon – you see people such as AOC [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] who no one thought had a chance.

Who would you like to see as the Democratic nominee for 2020?
I don’t know yet. We have to keep our eye on Congress as well as the presidential election; we have to remember there are so many seats we have to maintain. If we lose Congress, we are so fucked! But there are so many Democratic candidates at this point that now we need to start debating and see who can survive. But I really like Elizabeth Warren.

[From The Guardian]

I didn’t get to vote for Olivia Wilde’s mom but I have friends in her district who did and expected her to win. Olivia and her fiance Jason Sudeikis campaigned for her and it must have been tough to see her lose. It definitely was for her potential constituents. As for her thoughts on young adult movies, while I loved the John Hughes films growing up, I cringe when I rewatch them. They are problematic, they are very male-centric and they do not hold up at all. I have higher hopes for Booksmart and given the reviews I think they’ll be met. I also think we’ll be seeing more of Wilde as a director, which I look forward to.

"Booksmart" Premiere

"Booksmart" Premiere

Booksmart Gala Screening arrivals

Photos credit: WENN and Backgrid

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

21 Responses to “Olivia Wilde: ‘Being young is the most painful and most hilarious experience’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. CROWHOOD says:

    I am Forever amazed that my brain cannot separate these two from Emily blunt and John Krasinski

  2. TW says:

    LOVED this movie. Hilarious but also very sweet in how it portrayed the friendship and bond between the two main characters. Instant classic.

    • ToiFilles says:

      I have much love for this movie as well. The script had some wonderful left-field moments. My early favorite “Do you speak Spanish?”, as it moved on to the dynamic of friendships in the 3rd act.

  3. Ib says:

    Booksmart is AMAZING!! I live in DC and tried to see it Friday but couldn’t get tickets until an 11:30am show Monday! (Which was packed!) I’m confused to hear that it isn’t doing well in the box office? The movie was pure magic. I laughed so so so so hard and it has so much heart. This isn’t a sponsored post or anything (lol) I just really really really love this gem of a movie

  4. Snowslow says:

    The trailer had me in stitches so I can’t wait to watch it in the cinemas. I mean if we all watched the really not great Wonder Woman to support women we should do it even more when films are really good (seemingly) and directed by women about women.
    PS in whispering tone: this is what Lovebird wanted to be and failed to… IMO

    • Patty says:

      I think you mean Ladybird – and the films are very different. I’ve seen both. Saw Booksmart n Saturday, I liked it but it also came across as try hard. It’s the social media version of what people think teenagers are like today.

      • ToiFilles says:

        I know what you mean by “try hard”, but I sorta understand that heightened sense they were going for. The young me who loved Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is the old(ish) me who loved Booksmart.

      • Snowslow says:

        See, I found Ladybird (thanks ;-)) trying way too hard to be quirky and clever and missing the point altogether. Can’t even remember a scene to give as an example. And I had great hopes because I like Greta Gerwig.
        I agree with @ToiFilles: it’s supposed to be a heightened, exaggerated kind of character duo in the wake of Breakfast Club etc. And I miss that: films are so serious now, the rappers my kids listen to (and some of them I listen to also) are soooo serious. I miss a Beastie Boys kind of fun, especially because this film seems to have a really clever point of view: the anguish of going into adulthood really loving what you are and do but not really knowing if you fit. To my knowledge there is no film like that so far.

  5. Enn says:

    Ugh, I just can’t get on board with her. She irks the hell out of me.

    Side note – I always wonder why people get engaged and then never get married.

    • perplexed says:

      She doesn’t irk me necessarily, but her mother sounds rather accomplished. I guess I’m puzzled as to why she chose acting when it sounds like she had other avenues to pursue provided through her mom (especially in terms of the activism she aspires to). Then again, she married a prince and divorced him and followed that pairing up to be with Jason Sudeikis (after watching that Jennifer Aniston movie, I don’t get it), so maybe she truly is unconventional and really likes following her own path.

      Whenever privileged people who went to the best private schools and aren’t Natalie Portman or Jodie Foster choose Hollywood as a career, I sort of don’t understand it in the sense it’s almost like having to go backwards (at least if you’re a woman, I think.) You have to put up with a lot of sexist nonsense — I wonder if it’s worth the trouble, although maybe that burning creative desire is that strong.

      • Esmom says:

        I think your last sentence explains it. She’s following her passion and I think that’s great. I would be happy if my own kids were able to do the same instead of also having to figure out a way to make enough money to survive in this day and age. My artist-musician son stresses way too much about finding a career that will pay his bills and it makes me sad that he feels he has to mostly give up those pursuits to do so.

        And the fact that she’s still politically engaged is awesome. Her mom clearly had a positive influence even if Olivia didn’t follow in her exact footsteps.

      • perplexed says:

        I don’t think it’s so much about money (or lack of it) as Hollywood being so corrupt. After reading about the Harvey Weinstein stuff, I’m amazed anyone would want to waste their time. I know there is passion, but I always wonder whether passion is enough in a place like Hollywood even when you do wind up successful. Even people like Tom Cruise seem….well, broken.

        There’s public activism in Hollywood, but in private the system doesn’t really lead by example,. so I imagine that could be jarring and disappointing once you’re exposed to it.

      • ToiFilles says:

        I was less puzzled by her choice in acting when I learned that she directed some music videos w/ the hope of moving on to feature films. As I watched some of her early work in indy films over the years, I didn’t label her as having *movie star* aspirations.

        And now that she chose this particular story to make her feature directing debut, I get the impression that maybe her feminism lined up w/ her end-goal to get behind the camera and (hopefully) add to shifting the culture of Hollywood.

      • Snowslow says:

        It puzzles me that people love to sh*t on Wilde on this website. From her probably exaggerated stories for storytelling purposes of how she fell in love, to the school she went to etc. She is a beautiful woman who dares to be smart without giving up on her looks and – quite frankly pretty quirky and not very self serving all the time. – sense of style. I am not saying you are doing this but sometimes it feels a bit mean-girly. She is a white privileged woman who, to my knowledge, has done no wrong and does her bit to the best of her abilities. Why so snarky regarding her?

      • perplexed says:

        “Why so snarky regarding her?”

        I’m just fascinated by what motivates people, particularly people in difficult professions. I didn’t know that was considered snarky though.

        I am snarky about Jason Sudeikis though. That guy, I don’t get. She could do way better.

      • Snowslow says:

        Oh I understand. I think my husband and I have difficult professions, with 4 kids and never being certain when the next check is gonna come from. I think it puzzles most of our friends and family who don’t work in our area. Truth is: we could not do anything else, it’s our passion and vocation. With all the sh*t that comes with it.
        Fair enough re: Sudeikis! :-))

  6. Bella Bella says:

    I like her more and more. She sounds whip-smart and like she suffers no fools gladly. And she looks so happy. I am thrilled she is directing movies.

  7. sunshine gold says:

    If you look up “smug” in the dictionary is there a photo of Jason Sudeikis?