- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 27, 2017

“Clueless” director Amy Heckerling appeared at the Washington Jewish Film Festival for a screening of her 1995 teen romantic comedy starring Alicia Silverstone. Ms. Heckerling, who also directed “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Look Who’s Talking,” came up with the idea for “Clueless” after reading the Jane Austin novel “Emma,” about a matchmaker unable to find love in her own life.

“When I was reading it, it reminded me of an episode of ‘Gidget’ with Sally Field,” Ms. Heckerling told The Washington Times before Thursday night’s screening of the film. “She was a girl without a mother who thought she was in charge of the household and she talked to the camera. And I thought ‘Emma is very much like Gidget.’”

Rather than an English lady, the Emma in “Clueless” is named Cher, a motherless Beverly Hills teen living alone with her father, Mel (Dan Hedaya). Much like Emma, Cher schemes to make matches for her friends, teacher (Wallace Shawn) and for her father. All the while, romance seems to elude her.

“That positive young girl is still [a mainstay] in novels, on a TV show or in anything,” Ms. Heckerling said of her heroine.

Ms. Heckerling, her New York timbres still evident in her speech, counts Martin Scorsese, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen and Stanley Kubrick among her influences. When asked what can be done to get more women behind the camera, Ms. Heckerling is unsure, saying that she was fortunate to come up during Sherry Lansing’s tenure as head of Paramount.

“She was just a wonderful woman and such an inspiration,” Ms. Heckerling said. “The move grief I’ve gotten in my life was because of women. But then there’s somebody like Sherry.”

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