October 13, 2010

EASY A speaks of teen life

On the heels of a little white lie about losing her virginity, clean-cut high schooler Olive finds that her new-found bad-girl rap has an upside: she is finally getting noticed. Olive decides to exploit her "easy" reputation and use the school rumor mill to advance her social and financial standing. But life starts to spin hilariously out of control, in Columbia Pictures' teen comedy “Easy A.”

The film stars Emma Stone (recently cast as Gwen Stacy in the “Spider-Man” 2012 reboot) as Olive, Penn Badgley (TV’s “Gossip Girl”), Amanda Bynes (“What a Girl Wants”), Cam Gigandet (“Twilight”) and Aly Michalka (TV’s “Hellcats”).

The world of “Easy A” first arose out of a concept screenwriter Bert Royal had to fuse a timeless work of literature with a contemporary milieu. Royal chose Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” -- about the public ordeal a 17th century Boston woman named Hester Prynne goes through over an act of adultery -- as the classic source. “I never intended it to be a strict adaptation of the book,” says Royal, “but to use thematic elements as an inspiration.”

“The major theme of the piece,” continues the writer, “is about puritanical values versus being yourself. Olive is an extremely liberal person and feels like people should be true to themselves, but unfortunately she’s growing up in a society that condemns people for stepping out of the norm. Her goal is to loosen up the town a little bit, which she does, but not in the way she intended.”

Producer Zanne Devine says, “Using `The Scarlet Letter' as source material, and his understanding of the deeper themes, Bert wrote a screenplay that was wonderfully suited to modern day high school, and demonstrates in a funny and meaningful way that these themes are as relevant today as they have been for centuries.”

“Although the story takes place in high school, it goes way beyond that,” says director Will Gluck. “It’s really about morality, how rumors get started, and about the importance people attach to how they are perceived by others. It very quickly leaves high school and becomes a story about the entire town. It’s also a very funny movie with some very touching emotionally dramatic moments. It’s far from being just a high school movie.”

Gluck also responded to the female-centric nature of the screenplay. “It was great to see a script that’s written from the girl’s point of view,” adds Gluck. “Most films are about the lengths that the guys go through to get the girl. This is about a girl that doesn’t want to be ‘gotten,’ but still wants a boyfriend.”

For Gluck, the fact that this was a movie about the hot-button topic of sex, but with no actual sex scenes, made the experience uniquely fun. “In a weird way, it’s kind of conservative,” admits Gluck. “The lesson of this story is to wait, but sometimes you’ve got to take a crazy path to get to that answer. It’s interesting how sexuality in America has become about what people think about it, and less about the actual act. This movie gets rid of the act, as there is no act whatsoever, and is about how people talk about it, and how you feel about yourself if you’re perceived in that way.”

“The morality of this movie is actually a morality I think would be great for my eleven year-old daughter to understand,” says Devine, “which is a girl’s empowerment about making decisions about her sexual behavior, and her choices about how her level of intimacy she’s comfortable with in her life. Olive spends a lot of the movie reacting to what other people are projecting on her, not what really happened, and that morality is well within a PG-13 (US) mindset, because the moral of the story and the ultimate lesson of the movie is one I think that any parent of a young girl or boy would want them to take away.”

Opening soon across the Philippines, “Easy A” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Visit http://www.columbiapictures.com.ph for trailers, exclusive content and free downloads. Like us at www.Facebook.com/ColumbiaPicturesPH and join our fan contests.

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