Beyond the jokes themselves, every teen comedy relies on a crucial element that can make the film pretty good or transform it into something legendary: the real weirdos of the ensemble cast. Mean Girls didn't just have Lindsey Lohan's Cady Heron and Rachel McAdams' Regina George; there was the perfect goth Janis Ian (Lizzy Caplan), Gretchen "Fetch" Weiners, and Damian (Daniel Franzese), who shouted "she doesn't even go here!" in a crowded auditorium. Superbad had Michael Cera and Jonah Hill's Evan and Seth, plus Fogell/McLovin' (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and his B-plot antics with two bungling police officers (Seth Rogen and Bill Hader). Clueless was all about Alicia Silverstone's Cher Horowitz, but it would be nothing without her foils, Amber (Elisa Donovan) and Tai (Brittany Murphy).
Beyond the titular gals with booksmarts, Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever), and their partying nemeses, Triple A (Molly Gordon) and George (Noah Galvin), Booksmart -- Olivia Wilde's directing debut that goes wide this weekend -- is chock-full of incredible, goofy teens. There's Billie Lourd's Gigi, Molly and Amy's party Virgil and bonafide, pure-hearted lunatic. There's "cool guy with long hair" Theo (Eduardo Franco), Amy's crush, the tatted up skateboarder Ryan (Victoria Ruesga), and so, so many partygoers that everyone will have their favorite. Don't even get me started on their adult caretakers and supervisors, who include Lisa Kudrow, Jason Sudeikis, Jessica Williams, Will Forte, and Mike O'Brien. What I'm saying is that Booksmart's genius casting attained the echelons of perfection.
As Wilde explains in this exclusive clip shared with Thrillist, it's all thanks to the legendary casting director, Allison Jones. It makes sense: Jones has had her hands in a veritable cornucopia of important and iconic productions, with plenty of them falling under the teen banner. Some of her earlier credits include The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Boy Meets World, and Freaks and Geeks; her later TV credits boast The Office, Parks & Recreation, and Eastbound & Down. She's responsible for casting the majority of Judd Apatow's movies from the mid-2000s -- from The 40 Year Old Virgin to I Love You, Man, and beyond. She did Borat, Bridesmaids, Ladybird, and Eighth Grade. Basically, every major comedy from the past 20 years can be a casting marvel attributed to Allison Jones. So if there's anyone who knows how to throw some weirdo teens together and have them stick the landing, it's her.
Watch the clip above to hear Olivia Wilde, executive producer Jessica Elbaum, and some of the cast talk about coming together to work on this fun-ass film.