Amy Poehler, Hadley Robinson, and Lauren Tsai talk about their upcoming teen movie, Moxie, and what it means to have a moxie in real life.
As Amy Poehler expands her repertoire as a director with Moxie, once again puts women and friends at the forefront as it did in 2019 Wine country. This time, the focus is on teenage Vivian (Hadley Robinson, Utopia) and the anonymous magazine Riot Grrrl-esque that starts at his school.
Thanks to sexism and bullying perpetrated by students like the popular athlete Mitchell (Patrick Schwarzenegger, Echo Boomers) and overlooked by the administration, Vivian incites a school-wide rebellion with the power of her words. The only problem is that her lifelong best friend, Claudia (Lauren Tsai, Legion) doesn’t seem to be on board, but there may be a good reason for it.
The director and the young actresses spoke with Screen Rant about the adaptation process of Jennifer Mathieu’s novel, the importance of friendship at the heart of the story, and the film’s focus on intersectional feminism.
Amy, I know you should collaborate with the author and the writers when preparing Moxie. How was that collaborative process?
Amy Poehler: Thanks for asking. Tamara Chestna and Dylan Meyer are the writers of this script and Jennifer Mathieu is the writer of the book. They are all really strong and accomplished women, and it was great to be able to work together with them to forge the story, discover the characters, and try to set the tone.
Jennifer, who wrote the original book on which the film is based, is a high school teacher in Texas. She is still a high school teacher; she is in the classroom, perhaps right now virtually, and has a feminist club that she runs after school. They have a book, as if she is in it. So it’s really cool to be able to have it as a resource.
I think it is important that when you are doing any kind of project, it is almost as if you are doing it like an organ transplant. You really want to make sure you keep the intention of the piece as safe as possible and keep it on ice so it can find its way into the movie.
I really love the friendship with Vivian and Claudia, and I thought it was so cute that the movie explored how they come from two different places. Can you talk about how her background affects her response to Moxie?
Lauren Tsai: I think that because Claudia lives with her mother, who comes from China and is a single mother, the pressures Claudia faces are very different. Because she has a lot on her shoulders and a lot of cultural pressures on what her mother would be comfortable with her doing with her life. And they have given him a lot to go to college and carry the family in tow.
I think when Vivian and Claudia were younger they probably never thought about these things. They were just kids, they grew up and they were friends who listened to music, watched movies, talked about crazy things, went outside, whatever. But the pressures of the world start to build up and you start to realize that the people you love, who are just like you, come from very different places. We have to be empathetic with that and we have to try to understand. We need to think outside of ourselves. Because I think that when we’re stuck in our heads, that’s really when we lose connection.
Hadley Robinson: Yes, I think there is a lot at stake for Claudia, and I think there are more limitations as well. Vivian has never had to tackle any of the things that Claudia has to tackle.
I love that you see that part of their relationship unfolds in the movie for the first time, because they’ve been lifelong friends and the fact that they never talk … I like that you can see how it unfolds in the movie. and sees them learn from each other. You see Vivian’s reaction to hearing the truth from Claudia, who she shares with Vivian and really opens her heart and tells her truth. But yes, they come from different places.
Vivian doesn’t address it until a very specific point in the movie because Claudia catches his eye.
More: 10 Projects Amy Poehler Has Done Since Parks And Recreation Done
Moxie drops March 3 on Netflix.
Interview with Patrick Schwarzenegger: Moxie
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