The Olivia Wilde-helmed teen comedy Booksmart, about studious best friends, one gay and one straight, who decide to go wild after they finish their final exams, made a splash at South by Southwest last week. During a panel at the festival, Beanie Feldstein (Lady Bird), who plays Molly (the straight friend), shared that the movie’s frank representation of queer characters is especially important to her because she’s in a relationship with a woman, according to Page Six.
“It was completely meaningful for me to watch the film. My partner is a woman,” Feldstein said.
Booksmart, from writer Katie Silberman (Netflix’s Set It Up) costars Kaitlyn Dever (Last Man Standing, Beautiful Boy) as Molly’s gay best friend, Amy. Following finals, they decide to do everything they couldn’t do while they had their noses in books. Obviously, high jinks ensue. Feldstein told the audience at SXSW that what the film does so well is capture the little things that are important to LGBTQ visibility.
“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.”
Silberman also spoke about how the filmmakers chose not to make Amy’s sexuality the biggest aspect of her.
“Our friends who identify as queer, it’s like the fifth thing you would mention about them, if not the 15th. It’s never the first thing you would mention about them in real life,” Silberman said. “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.”
Booksmart costars Lisa Kudrow, Billie Lourd, Jason Sudeikis, and Will Forte and is in theaters on May 24.