Booksmart’s Female-Driven Story Isn’t Just For Women, According To Director Olivia Wilde


High school movies come in all shapes and sizes. There’s the decidedly male-oriented, like Superbad, and there’s the equally female-oriented, like Pretty in Pink. Tron: Legacy actress Olivia Wilde is about to dive into the genre by making her directorial debut on the film Booksmart, and while the film will focus on a friendship between two young women, Wilde opened up to CinemaBlend and other outlets during a visit to the Booksmart set earlier this year to make sure we all knew that it wouldn’t be an exclusively female story. Wilde said:

It's certainly not a specifically female story. It's a story that's relatable in all ways, to people of all ages. Which has been great. All the guys on our crew love this story and feel connected to it, as well as the women. I wanted to tell an authentic story about female friendship and create a buddy comedy about young women that I don't think I've seen before.

So yes, there is a story about female friendship at the core of Booksmart. That said, the friendship element is a bit more important than the female element, with a universal message about the pains of growing up anchoring the whole thing. There’s a female focus, but there’s plenty in there to get male audiences onboard with the Booksmart story as well.

Of course, a big reason why Booksmart aims to have such universal appeal is the sheer number of classic high school properties that it has drawn from in the development of its story. The presence of Beanie Feldstein on the movie’s cast will likely draw comparisons to Lady Bird, but during our visit to the set of the film earlier this year, we learned a lot about the other high school movies that have provided DNA to this one. In particular, it should be noted that Booksmart is drawing heavily from Superbad, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and Freaks and Geeks – in addition to a number of John Hughes movies. Put all of these elements together, and you’re left with a film that definitely doesn’t feel like it’s specifically designed for any gender or type of audience.

As previously mentioned, Booksmart centers on the story of two young women on their last day of high school. Realizing that they have focused solely on education and not enough on fun, they embark on one wild night to live it up before finding themselves forced to say goodbye to the high school life forever

Make sure to keep it here for more updates related to Booksmart as further details about the movie are made available to us. Until we have more information about Olivia Wilde’s upcoming directorial debut, you can also head over to our movie premiere guide to read up on all of the films that are set to premiere on the big screen on May 24.

Conner Schwerdtfeger

Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.