Olivia Wilde wanted diverse cast for Booksmart

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 29 April 2019
Olivia Wilde

Olivia Wilde

Olivia Wilde says that "in order for casts to become more diverse and representative" filmmakers need to "look beyond resumes"

Olivia Wilde wanted a diverse cast for her directorial debut 'Booksmart' so she didn't hire from the "same pool" of actors.

The 35-year-old actress made the decision when casting for her high school comedy to "look beyond resumes" and select people on their raw talent and that led to her giving jobs to first-time actors Victoria Ruesga and Nico Haraga.

Wilde insists it wasn't hard to get a "representative set" once she made that decision to hire people with limited experience.

Speaking at a screening of the movie at the Film Independent Forum, she said: "It turns out when you see all actors and you just hire the best people, you actually end up with a really representative set. The problem is most people don't look at everyone. If we keep drawing from the same pool, it becomes this recycled pot of inspiration. There's nothing new if you don't take a step further.

"In order for casts to become more diverse and representative – the same goes for crew behind the camera – you have to look beyond resume. You have to hire people based on their talent, their skills, their ideas, their passion. If we keep hiring based on resume, we will just continue this paradigm and everything will be the same as it's been. We have to break the mould, we have to change the way we hire people."

Olivia can understand why many filmmakers would be a "little bit nervous" to hire performers making their movie debuts but she found it to be an "exciting challenge".

She added: "Maybe you could be a little bit nervous to hire an actor who's never been on a film set and has a pretty sizeable role, but I found that pretty exciting."

Ruesga and Haraga are professional skaters and they will play the classmates of leading duo Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein, two Grade A students who come to the realisation that they have missed out on partying in favour of hitting the books and decide to embark on a wild night of antics the night before their graduation.

'Booksmart' was written by Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel and Katie Silberman and has been billed the female version of 'American Pie'.

Wilde's movie also stars former 'Friends' actress Lisa Kudrow, Billie Lourd – the daughter of late 'Star Wars' legend Carrie Fisher – and her fiancé Jason Sudeikis.

Booksmart

  • 4 stars
  • 2019
  • US
  • 1h 45min
  • Directed by: Olivia Wilde
  • Cast: Skyler Gisondo, Kaitlyn Dever, Lisa Kudrow
  • UK release: 27 May 2019

Molly (Feldstein) and Amy (Dever) are proud to be brainiacs, but on their last day of high school they resolve to fit as much fun as they can into a single night. Wilde’s debut feature is zesty and confident with box-fresh writing, well-drawn characters and a swaggering hip-hop soundtrack; Feldstein, in particular, steps…

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