Easy A is known by many as the film that shot actress Emma Stone into the big leagues. It's a movie about a high school girl named Olive, who learns very quickly that in high school, reputation is everything. The film is based loosely on the classic novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, where Hester Prynne is a woman who is shunned by her community for adultery. Easy A is a modern take on what women still have to go through to this day when it comes to having their character judged by the public.
Emma Stone may be the breakout star of this film, but there are so many other things that draw fans to Easy A. From Olive's quirky family, to Amanda Bynes' portrayal of Olive's arch nemesis Marianne, to the iconic "Pocketful of Sunshine" scene, there's plenty to love in Easy A. There are quite a few details that flew over audiences' heads, and other details that you would never know unless you did some digging into the making of the film.
Luckily that's just what we're here to do - go behind the scenes of Easy A and figure out what exactly makes this teen comedy so special, and why it's still such a hit to this day. Thanks to insights from director Will Gluck, as well as Emma Stone and other members of the cast and crew, we'll never look at Easy A the same way again.
Here are 20 Wild Details Behind The Making Of Easy A.
20 Emma Stone auditioned online
Emma Stone really wanted the role of Olive Penderghast, and not being able to make the audition wasn't going to stop her. Because of scheduling, Stone wasn't able to audition for Olive in person, so instead she did it online.
It turns out, this worked out wonderfully. As you may remember, Easy A has a lot of scenes where Olive talks to the audience through a webcam, sort of narrating her way through the film. The webcam audition, along with Stone's past work, was enough to convince casting directors she was right for the part. In a world where modern technology is becoming a huge part of the film making process, even auditions can be done differently now!
19 Emma Stone had her first ever asthma attack on set
Discovering you have asthma is traumatic enough, but figuring it out on set, mid-way through a fake love scene is even worse. This is exactly what happened to Emma Stone on set of Easy A. Stone told MTV how embarrassing the whole episode was: "I had a little asthma attack, without any prior knowledge that I had asthma," Stone recalls, "during the scene where we had to jump up and down for hours and hours screaming and yelling on the bed."
Not only did Stone suffer an asthma attack, it made quite the impression on the film set. "It was humiliating," Stone says, "because it was the second day of shooting." Thankfully Stone has a great sense of humor, she joked, "the crew was like, 'she's going to be a real blast."
18 It was Amanda Bynes last movie
While many of us remember watching the unfortunaye downward spiral of Amanda Bynes, what you may not realize is that Easy A was actually Bynes' last movie. It's crazy to think that it has been almost 9 years since Bynes' last on-screen appearance. With no projects in the works as of now, Easy A may continue to be Bynes' last credited film for a long time.
Thought Bynes declared her return to acting about a year ago, we have yet to see any projects with her name attached. She even recently posted a photo with Hairspray producer Neil Meron, possibly hinting at an upcoming project. We do hope Bynes makes her acting comeback sooner than later!
17 Emma Stone's brother was an extra
It has to be hard living in the shadow of a sibling like Emma Stone, but Emma's younger brother Spencer Stone seems to have nothing but love for his sister and her career. In fact, Emma's acting has opened a few doors in the film industry for Spencer as well.
Spencer is working as a stunt double in some pretty big films - including Divergent, Passengers, and Logan. He got his start somewhere much smaller, as an extra playing in films that his sister starred in. Spencer can be spotted in Easy A as an extra during the party scene where Olive goes to have her fake night of passion with Brandon.
16 Emma Stone almost didn't play Olive
Can you even imagine anyone but Emma Stone as Olive Penderghast? We're honestly not sure the film would have been as successful without her. Thankfully Stone ended up in the role of Olive, but as is the way with the film industry, it almost didn't happen.
Stone was also attached to another film that was set to shoot around the same time - Zach Snyder's Sucker Punch. Stone decided to drop out of Sucker Punch in favor of Easy A, and what a good decision that was! Easy A is the film that shot Stone into mega stardom, and seeing as how Sucker Punch didn't fare so well, she definitely made the right choice.
15 The director regrets one character
Everyone makes mistakes, and director Will Gluck admits that he made a big one when it came to Amanda Bynes' role as Marianne. "If there were one thing I could do over, that I’m mad at myself for," he admitted to Film School Rejects, "it’s that character."
Gluck believes they took the religious aspect too far, simply because it was easy. "I wanted to poke fun at people in high school who are holier than thou," he said, "Unfortunately, I went more into the Christianity range because, I think, it was easier to just make Jesus jokes." Luckily the film went on to do very well, and little backlash was seen when it came to Marianne's character.
14 Emma Stone shot the webcam scenesherself, without a crew
Since Emma Stone did so well with her online audition, Will Gluck decided to entrust her with shooting all of Olive's webcam scenes on her own. While it may seem like an actor would love having free range to shoot scenes without anyone there to critique them, Stone felt quite the opposite.
"I was not happy, needless to say, when he asked me to do that," Stone said. It wasn't about doing the scenes, it was more about Stone's perfectionist personality. She admits to redoing her lines multiple times, because she never felt that it was good enough. "It’s like a one-minute monologue, and I did it over and over and over," Stone recalls. "Then, finally, my roommate was like, just send it."
13 Olive's entire family was named after food
There definitely a lot of Easter eggs in the film Easy A, from The Scarlet Letter references to fruit making its way into random scenes (more on that shortly) - but one of the the most simple, yet adorable hidden jokes has to do with the Penderghast family. Olive and her family are all named after food!
Everyone know Olive's name, of course, but her father is named Dill (Stanley Tucci), her mother is Rosemary (Patricia Clarkson), and her brother is Chip. Olive even has another brother who we don't get to see because he's away at school, and his name is Kale. Olive's family dynamic is very free spirited and her parents are not your average parents, so this fun little addition regarding their names makes it even better.
12 There were oranges hidden many scenes
Director Will Gluck has been known to put references from his past films into new films. While talking about his film Friends With Benefits, he admitted that there were a few nods back to Easy A. Specifically, at the NYC premier of Friends With Benefits, Gluck said to a reporter, "What can I hint at... Keep an eye out for oranges."
While that may seem random, Gluck was referring to how he tried to sneak as many oranges into scenes of Easy A as he could. Apparently this means that Friends With Benefits also had some hidden oranges in the background. In Easy A we see oranges in Olive's family kitchen, as well as in her school lunchroom.
11 It was Lisa Kudrow and Emma Stone's second movie together
While Easy A took place early on in Emma Stone's acting career, it was actually the second time she had the privilege of working with Lisa Kudrow. They starred in the film Paper Man together, then Stone shot Zombieland, and then she was back to working with Kudrow again on Easy A.
Stone had nothing but great things to say when asked about working with Kudrow. "As a comedian, no one’s like her at all," Stone told Cinema Blend. "Her timing is impeccable... I’m lucky to have worked with her twice." It looks like she learned from comedy's best, and it clearly paid off.
10 Emma Stone never actually went to high school
Emma Stone may play a high school girl in Easy A, but she herself never attended high school - she was actually home schooled. In fact, screenwriter Bert Royal was home schooled as well. So how did all of these people pull together a story about something they never went through?
When asked how her lack of a high school experience played a role, Stone didn't think it mattered that much. "I think it’s more a story of reputation and miscommunication and the speed at which, with technology, that spreads now," she says, "so, it didn’t really feel like I was misinformed or had the wrong high school experience to try to bring this to life."
9 The script was written in just 5 days
Some screenplays are years in the making, but this definitely wasn't the case for Easy A screenwriter Bert Royal. In fact, he wrote majority of Easy A in only 5 days.
In an interview, he explains how his process unfolded. “I wrote Easy A in five or six days," Royal recalls. "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." Technically the screenplay took a couple weeks, but having all but 10 pages done within a week is still impressive. What's even more impressive is that the script is actually good!
8 No film sets were used
Director Will Gluck revealed that there is a reason he chose to film in Ojai, California without any film sets. It all came down to his inspiration for the film, which was partially pulled from director John Hughes - famous for The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and many other highly successful films of the 80s and 90s.
"I wanted to find a small town that wasn’t too far away outside a major city," Gluck told Film School Rejects, "Ojai, where we set the movie, is an hour and a half outside LA. Just like John Hughes sets his in the suburbs of Chicago." Gluck wanted to portray the small town high school, nostalgic feeling that he fondly remembers from Hughes movies, and we must admit he was successful with Easy A!
7 There was real-life inspiration behind the "pocketful of sunshine" scene
Director Will Gluck had some real life events to pull from when it came to creating the iconic "Pocketful of Sunshine" scene. In this scene, Olive receives a singing card that plays the chorus to Natasha Beddingfield's hit song "Pocketful of Sunshine". Olive decides that it's an incredibly annoying song, but as the weekend goes on, she gets more and more addicted to it. It ends with her totally giving into the song and belting the words in the shower.
As it turns out, Gluck got the idea for this scene from a Verizon advertisement that played the same song in a magazine. His kids kept opening and closing it, just like Olive. "I wrote that scene into it and wanted that exact song because of what my kids did," says Gluck.
6 Filming in California high schools was difficult
Director Will Gluck definitely wanted that small town high school feel, but the high school they filmed at in Ojai, California proved to have some difficulties. Gluck wasn't quite sure what he was in for, and hadn't considered certain differences that come along with California high schools.
Students often walk to class outdoors, rather than in hallways, which lacked the classic high-school movie feel Gluck wanted. As a result, Gluck had to improvise, shooting some scenes off site at town parks, and creating something he called a "quad" in the hallway to make it more reminiscent of high schools we're used to seeing in film.
5 "Pocketful of sunshine" was almost a different song
If you're like Olive and find "Pocketful of Sunshine" incredibly annoying and catchy all at once, you're not alone. In fact, if Natasha Beddingfield's brother had it his way, the song wouldn't have existed at all. Daniel Beddingfield, Natasha's brother and well known musician and producer, found the chorus unbearable. Natasha recalls, "my brother told me, ‘Look, you have to change that because it’s going to get really annoying for people.'"
Natasha found it funny that this same narrative made its way into the movie Easy A. "That’s why songs become hits," Natasha says, "when they have those earworms and you kind of love and hate them." As annoying as it may be, we're happy the song stayed the same and gave us Emma Stone's iconic scene in Easy A.
4 There's a nod to The Scarlet Letter
If you're a fan of Easy A and have any knowledge of English Literature, it's no secret that the film is loosely based on the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Scarlet Letter is about Hester Prynne, a good woman who makes the terrible mistake of adultery, and is highly and publicly judged by her town.
There are plenty of references, like Olive wearing the adulterous "A" on her chest, and even going to see a film called Der Scharlachrote Buchstabe, which translates to The Scarlet Letter. The big difference in Easy A is, of course, that Olive doesn't actually do the thing she is judged for.
3 Scenes were shot up to 30 minutes continuously
While shooting scenes for up to 30 minutes continuously may seem daunting, Emma Stone was no stranger to Will Gluck's technique. With traditional film you often need to reload or stop because of expenses, but with Gluck, this wasn't necessary.
Stone had encountered this in filming before. "I’ve been lucky enough to work under those conditions before," Stone recalls, "It was the same way, kind of, on Superbad and on Zombieland because we had Genesis, which kind of allows you to shoot for incredibly long time and makes the editing process faster." Stone went on to say that this style of filming helps move things along on set as well, so she definitely prefers it over traditional takes.
2 Olive's entire name is an anagram
In the film Olive makes it clear that her first name, Olive, is an anagram for "I love." What she doesn't reference is her last name, which is also an anagram, and holds a huge meaning behind the movie.
An anagram is a word that can be formed into another word by rearranging the letters. Just in the same way Olive is I love, her last name Penderghast is an anagram for "pretend shag." Yes, the writers actually made Olive's last name the major plot point of the movie. Olive's "pretend shag" at the party is what sparks the main conflict of the film, and it was hidden in her name all along.
1 The director almost turned down the movie
When a great movie is made like Easy A, there are a ton of things that have to come together to make it happen. There are many variables - the director, the actors, the screenplay, the location - and even just one of these can completely change a film.
Luckily for us, director Will Gluck did not turn down Easy A like he originally planned. Before Easy A, Gluck had vowed never to work on another high school movie again. He decided this after his movie Fired Up! did so poorly. When it came down to it, Gluck was sold on the Easy A script. The "script came in and it was special," Gluck tells Cinema Blend, "this movie is about reputation, and that never goes away."
What's your favorite detail behind the making of Easy A? Let us know in the comments!