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Alicia Silverstone on Why She’s ‘Super Proud’ of ‘Clueless’

Variety logo Variety 6/21/2017 Ramin Setoodeh
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Becoming the most famous teenager in America with 1995’s “Clueless” wasn’t always easy for Alicia Silverstone.

“I was young and I thought it was really overwhelming and it was really intense,” Silverstone says in an interview this week at the Variety Studio in Cannes Lions. “I did a bunch of movies, and then nine movies later, I did ‘Clueless.’ When it’s like, ‘That’s Alicia Silverstone!,’ everywhere I went, it was a lot for a little person. But then life goes on and you figure it out.”

Silverstone was at the annual advertising conference in the South of France, promoting her new TV series “American Women,” which will debut next year on the Paramount Network. The show is based on “Real Housewives” star Kyle Richards’ mom’s life, set in 1970s after a painful divorce. Mena Suvari plays a girlfriend who moves in with Silverstone’s character. “When I got the script, I was really excited,” Suvari says. “I always wanted to do more comedy.”

In the videos below, Silverstone offers some of her memories about working on “Clueless,” her life after the ’90s hit, and women in Hollywood.

(1) Was “Clueless” Groundbreaking?

The actress was in Paris shooting 1995 drama “The New World” when she received a fax from director Amy Heckerling, informing her that “Clueless” wouldn’t be made.

“One studio said no to it, they didn’t think anyone was interested in watching a movie about a young girl,” Silverstone recalls. “Those people now kick themselves that they were not part of that film. They were like, ‘We don’t think anybody is going to care. It’s not going to sell tickets.'”

After Fox put “Clueless” in turnaround, Scott Rudin came to the rescue, set it up at Paramount Pictures, and the movie found its way to the big screen.

(2) Life After “Clueless”

“Yes, it changed my life,” Silverstone says. In the years that followed, she took a break from acting in big-screen spectacles to focus her energy on advocating for animal rights. “I sort of pushed it away and went another way. Now I realize I love both,” she says about acting and activism.

(3) Revisiting “Clueless”

In May, Silverstone attended a screening of “Clueless” at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery with 400 fans. It was the first time her 6-year-old son saw the film.

“We were laying under the stars,” Silverstone says. “Seeing it on the screen like that was an incredible thing to share with my son and go, ‘Wow I’m really proud of that.’ I’m proud of all the work on the screen, all the different artists who created that. Super proud.”

(4) The “Wonder Woman” effect

Silverstone and Suvari spoke about what the success of “Wonder Woman” means for the movie business. “We have made strides, of course,” Silverstone says. “Over the years, there was ‘Mean Girls’ and ‘Clueless.’ It’s like a few steps forward and back.”

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