Adapted from James Franco’s book of stories by the same name, this month’s Palo Alto is a portrait of suburban teen malaise. First-time director Gia Coppola and leading lady Emma Roberts tell us what it was like to revisit those angsty days.
Marie Claire: Gia, can you start by telling me how this film came to be, and how Emma got involved?
Gia Coppola: I met James, and he had his book of stories, and was looking for someone else to direct it. When I showed him my photography, I guess he thought I was the right fit. I’ve never really directed anything, only short films with my friends, but he believed in me. The casting: Emma just kind of kept popping into my life.
Emma Roberts: We just kept running into each other non-stop.
GC: I always say something was cosmically pushing us together. She was coming up in conversation, and she loved the book and the script, so it was really a good fit.
MC: Emma, had you read the book already when you heard it was being made into a movie?
ER: I bought it at Book Soup in L.A. the day it came out. I’m a big James Franco [fan] and I love to read. When I heard that they were making it into a movie, and that he was also going to be part of it, and Gia was, I thought that was interesting. I thought it was a really special, cool project.
MC: Emma, you play April, a high school senior who is simultaneously infatuated with her soccer coach (James Framco) and her classmate (Jack Kilmer). Were there elements of that character that you both related to?
ER: I remember when you’re a teenager and you’re right in the thick of it. Like, what does it all mean? Everything is the end of the world. It’s just a crazy time; once you get out of it you’re like, there’s something nice about that time.
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