What Olivia Wilde Taught Kaitlyn Dever On Booksmart That She Still Uses In Her Acting

When the 2019 comedy Booksmart came around, several people involved at the top levels were still getting their feet wet in terms of storytelling, filmmaking, and appealing to a broader audience. It marked the directorial debut of actress Olivia Wilde, and her two lead actors – Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein – were graduating to leading roles after entertaining in ensembles. It was a learning experience for everyone involved (though based on the recent drama regarding Don’t Worry Darling, Wilde might have needed different lessons). And now that Dever is moving on to Ticket to Paradise, we wondered what she took away from her Wilde collaboration, and how it still applies to her current work.

In the new movie Ticket to Paradise, Kaitlyn Dever plays the grown daughter of Julia Roberts and George Clooney. That’s some DNA! And while Dever cut her teeth on the extremely successful sitcom Last Man Standing opposite Tim Allen, her work on Booksmart propelled her into the broader spotlight of movie stardom, and set her up for the opportunity to play in the same comedic sandbox as Roberts and Clooney. So when Dever sat down with CinemaBlend’s ReelBlend podcast, she opened up about what Olivia Wilde taught her with regards to running a set, and being open to ideas. Dever told us:

It really felt like we were all coming together, making something that was just so much fun. And I think there were so many things that I learned from Olivia, but I think the main takeaway from that movie is that when you are having a good time on a movie, and you really make sure – and it really starts from Olivia – when you’re having a good time and you’re making sure that everyone is feeling good and feeling comfortable, that really shows through on screen. And so, I think in every single frame of that movie, there’s something so exciting because we were all so excited to be there. So happy to be there.

As Kaitlyn Dever goes on to explain, this wasn’t as easy as one might imagine, because more than half of that movie was filmed in the evening, leading to long nights of shooting and an unusual schedule for the cast and crew. But she says even at 3 am, the cast was still having the best time filming. As Dever went on to explain:

I think that the energy on set really does make a difference. And so, I’ve really thought about that on the projects I’ve done after. But I think also, just in general, with all of us really, (Wilde) really allowed us to have a voice, and to encourage us to use our voice, to use what we came to the project with.

It sounds like Kaitlyn Dever had a much better collaboration with Olivia Wilde on Booksmart than Black Widow star Florence Pugh did making the drama-thriller Don’t Worry Darling, which spurred all sorts of rumors following production and clouded the movie’s release (especially the world premiere in Venice). The director has come out and said that she remains proud of Don’t Worry Darling, just like Kaitlyn Dever is proud of the way that Booksmart turned out. 

If you want to see what Dever has been getting up to recently, grab a ticket to Ticket to Paradise, and enjoy a vacation with George, Julia, and Kaitlyn. 

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.