AUSTIN, Texas — For Beanie Feldstein, her latest film “Booksmart” is about more than just being a leading lady.
The film, which marks Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut, centers around two high-achieving high school pals, Molly (Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever), who attempt to cram four years of fun into the night before their graduation. Amy identifies as a lesbian, but it’s not the entirety of her story.
During a panel at SXSW on Monday, the movie’s screenwriter Katie Silberman (who also wrote Netflix favorite “Set It Up”) explained why it was important that Amy’s character focused on more than her sexuality.
“Our friends who identify as queer, it’s like the fifth thing you would mention about them, if not the fifteenth. It’s never the first thing you would mention about them in real life. I think it was exciting to be able to make a movie like that, it was one of many qualities, who knows down the line when it would be mentioned. It obviously infuses your life but it’s not the defining quality of your life when you’re with your best friend and there are so many other things going on.”
Feldstein, 25, echoed the sentiment.
“It was completely meaningful for me to watch the film. My partner is a woman,” Feldstein explained. “There’s a love scene between two girls and they’re fumbling with their sneakers and they can’t get their jeans off. All of those moments, they make me tear up because representation is really important. Also, Kaitlyn’s character is not the only gay character in the film. So there you go, what an incredible thing our film is doing. I think if I could have seen our film earlier, I would have found myself a bit sooner.”
“Booksmart” hits theaters on May 24.
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