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Articles

Hard candy: Darren Stein re-visits his cult 90’s flick ‘Jawbreaker’

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Articles, Cinema | 2 Comments

Despite its lack of fame ‘Jawbreaker’ is a perfect example of what teen cinema looked like in the late-90s. It was dark, smart, tongue-in-cheek, self-aware, colorful (but not glossy!) and iconic. Much like ‘Scream’ and ‘Buffy’ did several years before, ‘Jawbreaker’ blended pop cultural references, post-modernism and dark humor into one hell of a ‘Heathers’-meets-‘Carrie’ mix, which to these days does not look dated thanks to Stein’s ability to create timeless style. The movie told a story of three of the most popular high school girls, whose prank on their forth friend turned deadly, when the Birthday girl choked on a jawbreaker.

Although not very large, Darren’s filmography has a lot of tasty offerings. There’s a cute 1997’s feel-good dramedy ‘Sparkler’. There’s an incredibly brave documentary ‘Put the camera on me’ (2003) on Stein’s childhood homemade movies. There’s a short ‘Color Me Olsen’ (2007) – a Hollywood satire that continues exploring ‘Jawbreaker’s idea of evil side of the bright lights. Next stop for Darren is a comeback to teen cinema – his future project is called ‘G.B.F.’.  And judging by the script’s excerpts Darren showed me, it’s going to be a good blend of both 90s rebelliousness and 00s glamour.

But when I sat down to chat with Darren in a sunny LA café back in September 2010, ‘G.B.F.’ wasn’t in the cards yet. While the plan to bring ‘Jawbreaker’ back to life as a musical was full-on (several concert versions were held to promote the project during the course of the last couple of years). Considering Darren’s involvement with the musical as a screenwriter and my eternal love for his movie, it’s quite natural that our discussion was mainly focused on the story of a murderous high school clique. Over a couple of healthy LA sandwiches ever-energetic Darren revealed lots of ‘Jawbreaker’ secrets: from on-set dramas to sequel ides, from the movie’s disappointing box office to ‘Mean Girls’ ripping-off ‘Jawbreaker’, from Natalie Portman to Marilyn Manson.

Enjoy this geek-pleasing discussion of one of the most criminally overlooked movies of the 90s which is finally receiving more attention with the musical version on the horizon. And please note that the interview was taken back in September 2010, so some of Darren’s projects and plans (such as ‘Coven’) have either been shifted or put on hold. Though ‘Jawbreaker’ is still here and still looks great. In the words of ‘Satan on heels’ herself, miss Courtney Shayne: ‘Deal with it’.

 

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