- The high-school rom-com “Easy A” premiered 10 years ago, but some fans still might not know all these behind-the-scenes fun facts.
- Emma Stone was nominated for a Golden Globe for her leading role, but the part could have gone to Jennifer Lawrence.
- There are plenty of puns and references to older rom-coms scattered throughout the film.
- According to the screenwriter, there’s an “Easy A” spin-off sequel in the works.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
“Easy A” hit theatres in September 2010 with an all-star cast, including Emma Stone, Amanda Bynes, Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci, Lisa Kudrow, Penn Badgley, and more.
The film’s irreverent humour charmed audiences and instantly became one of the most rewatchable movies of all time.
In honour of the film’s recent 10th anniversary, check out these 20 surprising things about the cult-favourite comedy that even its biggest fans might not know.
Emma Stone scored a major acting nod for her role in the film.
Emma Stone’s role in “Easy A” earned the actress her first Golden Globe nomination in 2011.
Although she didn’t win, she’s since been nominated for four more Golden Globes – one of which she won for her role in “La La Land.”
Stone said her parents have a similar style to Olive’s.
In a 2010 interview with Collider, Stone spoke about the opportunity to get to work with Tucci and Clarkson, who played her parents in the film.
“… Patty and Stanley just came in and blew all that out of the water. They were so unbelievable. I was so grateful to them, selfishly, because they made it all make sense,” she said.
She also told the publication that they actually reminded her of her own parents, saying, “My parents are miraculously similar to those parents which is the luckiest thing in the world. They may not be as liberal but their parenting style is very similar.”
Stone said she’s never seen the movie in full.
“… I went to a friends and family screening to see it, and I had to get up and walk out,” she said. “Who wants to watch themselves for that long?”
Some of the film’s lead actors never actually went to high school.
The film has become one of the quintessential modern-day high-school comedies, but not everyone in the cast and crew went to high school.
In 2010, Stone told Collider that she only attended one semester at a Catholic high school, and she received the rest of her education through homeschooling. She then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her acting career at the age of 15.
Badgley, who played Todd, appeared in the film at the height of his “Gossip Girl” fame. But he’d never attended high school either. According to Details magazine, he took a proficiency exam at 14 before entering Santa Monica College.
The film’s screenwriter, Bert V. Royal, also missed out on the traditional high-school experience, according to a 2013 Folio Weekly article. But he’s used it as inspiration for several films and plays.
“Having not gone to high school, I was an outsider looking in. I think it gave me a better vantage point. To me, high school is a fantasy world,” he said.
Actor Cam Gigandet was 28 when he played a high schooler in the film.
For comparison, Stone and Aly Michalka were 21 and Badgley was 23 when the film was released.
It seems, however, that the actor was purposefully older than his fellow high schoolers since Micah’s age served as a not-so-subtle joke during various parts of the movie.
In one scene, Mrs. Griffith notes that her affair with him is legal because he’s “21 and eight months,” and there are other references to him getting held back in school.
The global reaction to the film taught Stone about the ways high-school culture differs in other countries.
In a joint 2010 interview with director Will Gluck and Stone, the actress said that she encountered drastically different press questions about the film during the international junket.
She’d filed questions like “Why would loss of virginity in high school be such a big deal?” from French critics and comments like “We don’t have cliques in our schools” from Indian journalists.
She said that when she noticed those international differences it made her “realised that thematically the movie was resonating more so than just a high school comedy.”
Gluck said he almost passed on the film after a bad experience with a previous high-school movie.
The up-and-coming director nearly passed on “Easy A” after his big-screen directorial debut, “Fired Up,” received less-than-favourable reviews when it debuted in 2009.
Gluck told Cinema Blend in 2010, “I swore after ‘Fired Up’ I would never do a high school comedy again, but this script came in and it was special. This movie is about reputation, and that never goes away. It’s so heightened in high school.”
Royal reportedly wrote the majority of the screenplay in under a week.
According to quotes from a 2010 Writers Guild of America (WGA) interview obtained by a screenwriting blog, Royal said, “I wrote ‘Easy A’ in five or six days. Once I got on a roll, I wrote this very, very quickly – so I got to about a 110 pages in five or six days and then came back after two weeks and wrote the last nine or 10 pages.”
“Easy A” is obvious in its connection to “The Scarlet Letter,” but some of its references fly under the radar.
The title of the movie is a direct reference to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter,” which is openly talked about throughout the film. The red “A” Olive sews onto her clothing is also an allusion to the literary classic.
However, in addition to connecting the film to this source material, the title also plays into the high-school setting by nodding to the common idiom for a guaranteed good grade in a class.
Apart from the fairly obvious references to “The Scarlet Letter,” there’s a more subtle detail in the scene where Olive goes to a local foreign movie theatre. She sees “Der Scharlachrote Buchstabe,” which is the German version of “The Scarlet Letter.”
All of the names in Olive’s family make way for food puns and anagrams.
Everyone in Olive’s family is named after food including her mum, Rosemary, her dad, Dill, her younger brother, Chip, and her unseen older brother, Kale.
The characters seem to lean into this throughout the film. For example, Rosemary makes a joke about having a whole jar of olives in the fridge when another character asks if Olive’s home.
Along with food puns, Olive Penderghast is also an anagram, part of which she points out in the film. Olive can be rearranged to spell “I love,” and Penderghast is an anagram for “pretend shag” – a main plot point in the movie.
The references to classic 1980s films aren’t supposed to be subtle either.
Royal found heavy inspiration in classic 1980s teen rom-coms.
“John Hughes’ ‘Sixteen Candles’ may be the perfect movie,” he told the Orlando Sentinel in 2010. “I wanted to write a script that gave us a new Molly Ringwald.”
Gluck elaborated on this, telling Film School Rejects in 2010, “I never want to do a reference that’s not explained in the moment. You’ll notice in ‘Easy A,’ every kind of reference they do stands on its own. You don’t have to know the reference. Especially the 80s movies. I show clips of the 80s movies, so it’s more of an inclusive reference moment.”
Gluck likes to reference back to his past films in newer releases.
If you noticed lots of oranges and an abundance of the colour orange in “Easy A,” that wasn’t an accident. Gluck had reportedly tried to sneak as many oranges into the film as possible.
But that’s not the only homage to “Easy A” found in the hit comedy starring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake. When Kunis’ character is waiting for Timberlake’s character at the airport, one driver can be seen holding a sign that reads “O. Penderghast.”
A few “Easy A” actors also reunited with Gluck for “Friends With Benefits.”
Stone made a brief cameo appearance in “Friends With Benefits,” which also starred Clarkson as Timberlake’s sassy mum.
Stone had worked with Lisa Kudrow two years before “Easy A.”
“… It was great. I think she’s amazing. As a comedian, no one’s like her at all. Her timing is impeccable,” she said. “… I’m lucky to have worked with her twice.”
Natasha Bedingfield’s “Pocketful of Sunshine” was chosen because of how “annoying” it was.
In 2018, Bedingfield talked about the success of the song after “Easy A” with Entertainment Tonight, sharing, “It became a private joke, because when I wrote ‘Pocketful of Sunshine,’ my brother [singer Daniel Bedingfield] told me, ‘Look, you have to change that because it’s going to get really annoying for people.'”
Bedingfield added, “… It was funny because that’s exactly what Emma’s character says in [‘Easy A’]: ‘Oh, man, it’s such an annoying song!’ Of course, that’s why songs become hits, when they have those earworms and you kind of love and hate them …”
Gluck’s young daughters had a similar experience to Olive opening up a musical magazine ad that featured the song, which ultimately inspired him to write it into the movie.
Gluck told ET, “My daughters were very young and would keep opening it up and closing it, and it had ‘Pocketful of Sunshine’ playing. So, when I did the movie, I wrote that scene into it and wanted that exact song because of what my kids did …”
Stone had a medical emergency during the film’s fake sex scene.
In 2010, Stone told MTV News that they did the fake sex scene at Melody Bostic’s house party on the second day of filming. But the day was halted after the actress had an asthma attack – which is how she learned she had asthma.
“Oh, for the love, I can’t even simulate sex without dying,” she said. “I had a little asthma attack, without any prior knowledge that I had asthma, during the scene where we had to jump up and down for hours and hours screaming and yelling on the bed. [It] was humiliating, because it was the second day of shooting.”
One of Stone’s Hollywood pals auditioned for the part of Olive.
Stone quipped back with her signature humour, replying, “Well, guess what? You didn’t get it. You didn’t get it because you suck!”
“Easy A” was Amanda Bynes’ last on-screen appearance.
She wrote, “Being an actress isn’t as fun as it may seem. If I don’t love something anymore, I stop doing it. I don’t love acting anymore, so I’ve stopped doing it. I know 24 is a young age to retire, but you heard it here first.”
Gluck’s one major regret about the film involves Bynes’ character, Marianne.
Although Christianity ended up playing a large role in the film, the director does have his regrets about honing in on one religion, specifically with the portrayal of Bynes’ character, Marianne.
“… If there was one thing I could do over, that I’m mad at myself for, it’s that character,” Gluck told Film School Rejects in 2010. “I never intended to make a statement about evangelical Christians. I wanted to make a statement about evangelicals and zealots. The adjective not the noun.”
He continued, “I wanted to poke fun at people in high school who are holier than thou, they already know everything. Unfortunately, I went more into the Christianity range because, I think, it was easier to just make Jesus jokes.”
Royal has an “Easy A” spin-off in the works.
Fans of the film will be thrilled to know that in 2019, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Royal is developing a screenplay for an “Easy A” spin-off.
It will be set in the same Ojai, California, high school and explore the same themes as “Easy A,” but the upcoming film will follow a new class of students.
More details have yet to be announced about the untitled project.