Moxie has the capability to be the first piece of media that a lot of young audiences will really discover or understand feminism, sexism, racism. Were there any primitive pieces of media that pushed you into becoming the kind of feminist that you are now?
Amy Poehler: Well, thank you for saying that. If you feel that way, it means we’ve done service to the book, because that’s what the book felt like too. The book felt like a way to explain to young people this version of thinking and how it’s changed and how it should change. And I do think that films, especially, have an incredible power, not only to inspire. When you’re entertained, you don’t really know that you’re learning. I mean, there’s nothing worse than being taught, feeling like you’re being taught? So film and television is just a great way to connect to people from an emotional human place. And sometimes the side effect of that is they learn something about the world or about themselves.
I know growing up that film was a place where I learned about, I found out about different people’s stories. I found out how different people lived. I traveled the world. I heard from people I could never meet or speak to. I was a suburban kid and I did not go anywhere when I was a kid. I didn’t know anything about the world. I just knew about what I saw in television and film. It allowed me to time travel. I think it’s still a really powerful medium in which people can kind of be like emotional astronauts and go to other planets and figure out how other people feel about other things. It’s very, very cool.
Lauren, congratulations on your film debut. Claudia seems like your total opposite, but I was wondering if growing up, did you also experience that typical, overbearing, strict Asian parenting that a lot of us have experienced, and how do you think can young Asian teens rise above that?
Lauren Tsai: I love my family so much and I think they’re so wonderful, but I definitely think that there was from the Chinese side of my family, there was a lot of pressure put on to having a certain type of career and being a certain type of way and going to college, because I made the decision to not go to college and to pursue a career in art instead. And I realized I didn’t go to college cause I knew I was trying to prove something. It’s hard because like I know that comes from a place of them understanding, ’cause they came to this country and like, that was their means of surviving. And that was their means of building a family, and they wanted me to be safe as well. So they wanted to push me to do things that were the most financially stable, because that was love to them.
I think it’s hard though when you constantly question your identity and you think that certain parts of yourself just won’t be successful or just will never make sense to the world, in a way that allows you to survive in this world. But I think that those things are exactly the things that the world desperately wants and needs you to be, for change and for your kids and the people after you and the people around you. I think that when you can be honest to yourself, all of the right opportunities and all of the right people will find you. And as long as you’re hiding that from the world, it’s really hard. It’s frustrating because you know, there’s something more, you can’t lie to yourself. And I think that we need to start being honest to ourselves first, for real happiness.
Amy, can you talk about the challenges of casting this film? And for Hadley and Lauren, can you tell us about your casting process?
Amy Poehler: We had an incredible casting director, a woman named Allison Jones who I’ve had the pleasure to work with and who really understood that we needed people to feel connected emotionally, spiritually to what they were doing. I will say there’s so many talented, young actors and actresses who are, I’m really blown away, frankly, by the level of talent in this film. And so I want to say that, although casting, we took our time with it and it was really important to us. I kind of forgotten it. It’s like when you give birth and you kind of forget the pain of it all because you just love your baby? It’s how I feel like, I’m like, yes, I want to say casting was so easy! And I don’t know if that’s the case, but that’s how I remember it.
I certainly remember Hadley and Lauren and coming in and all of us knowing immediately like, oh, that’s who we want. Those are the most talented people we’ve seen, they’re incredible. And watching them rehearse together just felt… As a director, you just desperately want to make sure that your actors feel a sense of belonging, but also just chemistry. Because this is an important relationship in the film. It’s the one that we track, which is you really, really want them to stay together. I mean, on set we were always talking about their marriage, basically… [Laughs] Like, this is the point in the marriage where you’re getting sick of each other! Your chemistry was so wonderful.
Hadley Robinson: That was probably one of my favorite parts of the casting process too, is meeting Lauren. I remember you wearing that sweatshirt and we were sitting in the waiting room and I was like, this girl is so cool! I just wanted to be your friend. And I was like, okay. So if I don’t get this part, can I still reach out to her and like, ask her to hang out with me? But yeah, that was huge! That chemistry was so fun, and to have all those people in the room, like Allison and you Amy, it just felt really right.
Lauren Tsai: Back at you Hadley. I was like, Oh my God, she’s so cool. She’s so talented. I was so nervous, but we did a scene together where we were sitting, pretending to talk outside the window and we were just using a chair. And there was like Amy, the Paper Kite team, Allison Jones, and everyone was so kind. And just the energy in the room was so loving and accepting and you could feel like they were supporting us. Like they want us to do good. They want us to be ourselves and be comfortable there. And it was cool. And Allison Jones. I mean, she’s a legend and she’s cast all of the most iconic movies. What a joy.