It’s been 20 years since Miro Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow's inseparable on-screen characters -- Romy White and Michele Weinberger -- went back to Sagebrush High School in "Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion."
In the comedy classic, Romy and Michele agree to attend their 10-year high school reunion, but in an attempt to impress their former classmates, the quirky duo ends up weaving a web of hilarious lies that spins out of control...and Post-its have never been the same.
Created by Robin Schiff and directed by David Mirkin, the movie manages to maintain just as much relevance in 2017 as it did in 1997.
Fans of the movie will remember the "A Group" -- Kristy Masters, Lisa Luder, Kelly Possinger and Cheryl Click -- who famously made Romy and Michele's high school lives miserable. Whether it was Kristy Masters (Julia Campbell) sticking magnets on Michele's back brace, or stealing Romy's food during lunch ("What was that with the cheeseburger? What a bitch."), the scenes live on.
In honor of the film's 20th anniversary, TooFab caught up with the film's "A Group" to revisit the movie and to see why they think it still resonates with audiences.
Elaine Hendrix, who played class snob-turned-Vogue editor Lisa Luder, seems to think that’s because "anybody who has ever been to high school can relate." Vincent Ventresca, who played big-shot Billy Christianson, says the movie is a classic tale of underdog victory: "What was so cool about Romy and Michele is they were awesome but they were sort of the outsiders. How can someone not relate to that?"
Here is what Hendrix, Ventresca, Kristin Bauer van Straten (Kelly) and Mia Cottet (Cheryl) told TooFab about filming one of the most iconic comedies of all time.
Why do you think “Romy & Michelle” has stood the test of time?
Hendrix: Anybody who has ever been to high school can relate. It’s the quintessential underdog story, and I don’t know too many people who don’t root for the underdog. I think the cherry on top is that it’s this great chick flick.
Ventresca: That kind of weird peer groups, hierarchies, people are in people are out – I’m not sure that goes away. I’m a 50-year-old actor in Hollywood, and the same thing exists at different levels. And what was so cool about Romy and Michele is they were awesome but they were sort of the outsiders. How can someone not relate to that? I’ve got kids that are 16 and 14 and they’re both in high school, and it’s the same thing.
Bauer: The awkwardness of those teen years really resonates with most of us.
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Which scene from the movie was the most fun to shoot?
Ventresca: The scene where I’ve got the prosthetic belly on and we’re going into the dance, and I’m trying to talk Romy and Michele both into coming to my hotel room afterwards. That was actually my audition scene. And honestly, its true – you get the part you’re supposed to get because I barely worked on the audition. I walked in and I played it pretty straight because I was kind of a drunk in high school, so I knew where Billy Christianson was coming from. And I wasn’t that sleazy, but its not like I didn’t understand sleaze, so it was kind of effortless.
Which scene was the most difficult to shoot?
Bauer: The reunion scenes! They lasted a long time, and about half the time, I couldn’t even see the camera. Huge scenes are not as much fun. There are 8 thousand takes. The good news is the A Group got along and were in formation ready to keep each other entertained.
Cottet: So much of the filming were night shoots. Our days and nights were literally inverted for weeks. This made for some very punchy moments and a tremendous challenge keeping my hair sculpture in place. No hairspray could barricade an updo against a foggy, misty, California 3 a.m.
Tell me something that you remember about filming that hasn’t been told before.
Hendrix: I will say this, between the four in the A Group, we joked that the director David Mirkin liked me the best out of everybody. David and I just got along, and anytime anybody had a question about anything, they’d be like, ‘Elaine, go ask!’ So I was the designated point person. I wonder if he even knows. Maybe that was because I was sucker enough to do everything within the group.
Bauer: Well, we shot at the Ambassador Hotel, which has been torn down now. It was a historic site and where Bobby Kennedy was shot. Elaine and I snuck into the kitchen, which had been blocked off. Strange to think of that time.
Who was the biggest joker on set?
Ventresca: Mirkin. David Mirkin. Oh my God, he was so funny. We were shooting somewhere, and our trailers were like about a quarter of a mile from where we were shooting. And I was talking to someone – not really loud – and Mirkin swings around the corner and goes, “Shhh! Keep it down! We’re shooting!” I was already sort of scared of him, but I shit my pants at that moment. And he did not break character. Like I got the joke, but I was like, ‘Oh, shit, was I too loud? Did they actually hear me a quarter of a mile away?’ But he was totally just fucking around.
Cottet: Our director, David Mirkin, had a great sense of play and gave us a lot of freedom to develop our characters within the perimeters of the script. He allowed me to wear Lee Press-On Nails during the dream sequence. I’ve always been a slave to my nails, and I will always be eternally grateful for this.
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Who from the cast do you still talk to?
Hendrix: Kristin Bauer is one of my really good friends. I’ve remained friends with Mira, I’ve remained friends with Janeane. I’ve remained friends and done a couple of other movies with Alan Cumming. Camryn Manheim. Vince Ventresca. Those people I still remain friends with. I also stay in touch with David Mirkin.
Bauer: I am in constant contact with Elaine Hendrix. She is a wonderful person, funny as hell and also we both are activists, mainly for animals. She’s a good soul. I also just reconnected with Camryn Manheim at the Women’s March in LA. It was a very special day and nice to see her.
When was the last time you watched the movie? What went through your head when you saw your scenes?
Hendrix: I went to see the movie at Street Food Cinema last summer with David actually…his favorite! We did a Q&A for it, and it was really fantastic.
Ventresca: I just watched it with my kids two weeks ago, and they loved it. My boy is 16 and my girl is 14. My boy didn’t talk about it so much. And Rene, my daughter, she wanted to talk about it a little bit more. She understood the social dynamics a little bit. She’s kind of in the world that way. But my son was going to the prom like last week, and that’s what was so cool about the movie. It does hit these benchmarks that were so pivotal in all of our lives.
Cottet: The last time I saw the movie, I was 3 months pregnant and on vacation in Sevilla, Spain. It came on Spanish television and two things crossed my mind: What I look like acting in Spanish and how I was going to look when I became 9 months pregnant.
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How did the movie change your career?
Hendrix: Any time you’re booking any gig it’s a good thing, but it was my first studio feature, and it has certainly changed my relationship with certain fan bases. I get pictures all the time. People dress up as me for Halloween, and that blows my mind. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve done a lot of pieces that have stood the test of time. “Romy & Michele” is a feel-good movie. It’s fun. It’s silly, but it’s not frivolous.
Ventresca: I mean, I think people think I’m kind of a dick because of it. My career is not what I thought it was gonna be, but the movie did expose me in a way. It didn’t change my career, it was part of my career. It’s probably one of two things I’m most proud of. I do think people think maybe that guy’s kind of a jerk, but that’s OK. That means I did a good job, right?
What’s our favorite quote from the movie?
Hendrix: 'That’s right, Christie. Keep telling yourself that.' My mom and I say that to each other all the time. People say that to me, I say that to them. I’ll change the name accordingly depending on who I’m talking to.
Ventresca: 'Romy and Michele… Weren’t you two both totally in love with me in high school?'