Amy Heckerling Vamps It Up

Clueless and Fast Times at Ridgemont High director Amy Heckerling is back with Vamps, a fun new take on vampires.



Left: Alicia Silverstone and Krysten Ritter in Vamps


Have you had to deal with that recently — other women doing things to undermine you?  
There's a whole world of Hollywood that runs studios and agencies. I try not to think about what's in their heads and what they're saying and thinking and doing that could help or hurt me, because I'd probably go out of my mind.

Looking back over the course of your career, do you feel like you've been able to make the films that you set out to make?
Yeah, Clueless was very close to what was in my head as I was writing. One of the big people who helped me was this woman Elizabeth. She was one of the vice presidents of Fox, and she really, really wanted to make Clueless. When they passed on it, she was so sad. And then when it was doing well, she brought the numbers in to her boss as a sort of "ha ha." When I showed the script around, Amy Pascal [current cochairman of Sony Pictures] was the only person who said, "Have you ever read Emma?" In a world of studio executives who are judging stories, Amy and Elizabeth were aware of the Jane Austen book.

You always seem to have gay characters in your films. Do typically find yourself creating LGBT characters?
For me, the most fun was Christian in Clueless. I mean, yeah, you base characters on your friends. It doesn't occur to me that, oh, wait, the females need a gay friend. It's just silly. Here's their world and here's their friends and here's these people and here's the guy she likes, but it's not going to work out.

In Fast Times, Jennifer Jason Leigh's character gets an abortion. How do you feel about all of the talk on abortion during this past election cycle?
I can't believe this is still going on. I have pictures of me taking my baby to a pro-choice rally, and now she's a college graduate, and we're still like, "We're going to force you to do a vaginal probe if you want an abortion, but we won't pay for your [birth control] pills"? What kind of backwards world is this? Can't we just say, "This is over"?

There are so many renditions of vampires in pop culture, from Count Chocula to True Blood — do you have a favorite?
Well, as far as scary goes, I think Max Schreck [in Nosferatu] is the scariest. It's a German silent movie. And even the movie about making a movie was very fun. It was Shadow of a Vampire. Malkovich played [director F.W. Murnau], and it had Eddie Izzard in it. Gerard Butler was in Dracula 2000, which was uneven, but he was awesome. It had a funny, interesting take on it. It was as though Dracula was doomed or cursed because he was Judas, and that's why he doesn't like seeing crosses, and the curse is that he will never see the day again, because he double-crossed Jesus. That was a very different take on Dracula.

Of course everyone likes Bela Lugosi, and I think Ed Wood also. When you so see Bela Lugosi movies, you feel the heartbreak of it. 

Oh, of course, Mel Brooks — Dracula: Dead and Loving It. When he has a nightmare, and she goes "Hey, do you want a drink?" And he says, "I never drink. But oh, what the hell, let me try it." But if I was like, 12, and I saw Twilight, I would probably be in love with Edward, because he's so darn cute.

Tags: film