MOTW: Five Facts about "Clueless"

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures
September 10th, 2013

MOTW: Five Facts about "Clueless"

"Clueless," released in 1995, is written and directed by Amy Heckerling, who is also responsible for the classic films "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (1982) and "Look Who's Talking" (1989). Originally, Sarah Michelle Gellar was offered the lead role of Cher Horowitz, but she had no choice but to decline because of scheduling conflicts with "All My Children." After seeing Alicia Silverstone in an Aerosmith video on MTV, Heckerling decided to offer her the role of Cher Horowitz. Silverstone starred in three videos for Aerosmith, "Cryin'," "Amazing," and "Crazy." "Clueless" became a sleeper hit and landed Silverstone a deal with Columbia-TriStar worth eight to ten million dollars. "Clueless" also stars Stacey Dash as Dionne, Brittney Murphy as Tai, and Paul Rudd as Josh. In the comedy film, Cher is a wealthy, attractive, popular girl. Although she's superficial, she has a kind-hearted nature and loves to play matchmaker to help people find love. She helps the new girl at school, Tai, with fashion and boys, and eventually helps Tai find love too. Fans will be interested in some fun facts about the movie, "Clueless."

1.Based on a Jane Austen novel
"Clueless" is based on Jane Austen's 1815 novel, "Emma." Cher is the character Emma Woodhouse, whom Austen describes as "handsome, clever, and rich." In the novel, Emma Woodhouse is spoiled and stubborn and thinks very highly of her own matchmaking abilities. She doesn't stop to consider the harm matchmaking can do, which describes Cher very well. "Clueless" doesn't stray far from the novel's plot and certainly not from the main character. Tai is a depiction of Austen's character, Harriet Smith, while Josh is a portrayal of Mr. Knightley, and Travis is Robert Martin. Unsurprisingly, Elton is a portrayal of Austen's character, Mr. Elton. Silverstone, who was seventeen years old at the time of filming, was clueless about the novel, "Emma." Silverstone learned about the novel after filming was finished. She read the book and was amazed by the similarities in characters between the novel and her movie.

2.Behind the Scenes
The scene about the game of Suck and Blow was a bit tricky to pull off. None of the actors could inhale strongly enough to keep a real credit card on their lips long enough to pass it to the next person. A prop was made using cardboard, but the prop didn't work either. Holes were then drilled into the prop to make the process easier, but it still wouldn't work. It was finally decided that the actors would wear several coats of chapstick to make the card stick long enough for them to get through the scene.

"Clueless" was filmed in only forty days, and some scenes that appeared in the movie trailer didn't make the final cut for the feature length movie. The writers for the movie attended classes at Beverly Hills High School to get a better idea of the Beverly Hills teen culture. The characters of "Clueless" are based on reality, it seems. The principal of the high school in "Clueless" is actually the real Beverly Hills High School's drama teacher.

In the scene in which Cher is talking to the debate class, Silverstone mispronounced the word Haitians,instead saying hate-I-ans. When the film crew attempted to run to Silverstone and inform her of the mistake, Heckerling stopped them. Heckerling liked the way Silverstone read the line because it was the kind of thing Cher would say. Brittany Murphy played Tai, the new girl on campus. In the film, Murphy's character is described as a virgin who can't drive. In a later interview, when Murphy is asked a question about herself at the time "Clueless" was filmed, Murphy answers that she was a virgin who couldn't drive.

5.Pretty in Plaid
Who wouldn't want Cher's awesome closet featuring a computer that scrolls through her wardrobe? The plaid outfit shown on the computer screen is one of seven plaid outfits worn in the film by Silverstone and her costars. Other characters in the movie wore an additional 46 plaid outfits, bringing the total of plaid ensembles displayed in "Clueless" to 53. Unlike Cher, Alicia Silverstone knew nothing about fashion. In an interview with Good Morning America, Silverstone said she had to change outfits sixty times. Silverstone is quoted as saying, "I just didn't get it." By the end of filming, Silverstone was less clueless about fashion. Her new attitude towards clothes was much more positive and she even kept some of them for herself after the filming.