5 Fun Facts From The Eighth Grade Q&A
We were fortunate enough to attend an early screening of Bo Burnham's tenderly awkward debut film, Eighth Grade, this past Wednesday, which included a Q&A session with Bo Burnham, Elsie Fisher, Jake Ryan, Emily Robison, Imani Lewis, and Fred Hechinger. The post-film discussion was an absolute delight to attend and was filled with lots of interesting tidbits from beyond the veil of the film. Being generous, as we are at Viddy Well, we've decided to share it with you, naturally.
You can listen to the full 33-minute Q&A sesh below, but we went through the trouble of highlighting 5 fun pieces from the full discussion for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!
- Bo Burnham bought Elsie Fisher a Gucci watch after the film wrapped.
Moderator: How many times has somebody come up to you and told you that this movie was “Pure Gucci”?
Bo Burnham: I mean, I still don’t get what Gucci means. It was something Elsie said on set. I would be like, “What’s up Elsie?”, and she’d be like, “I’m Gucci”, and I’d be like, “What?!” And then I started doing it to embarrass her, and it got so banal at certain points that crew members would ask, “Is this Gucci or not?” We recorded the [YouTube] videos the last couple of days of the shoot, and so I thought it should be her sign off. She literally has the last word of the film, which I really like, and I got her a Gucci watch. The wrap gifts would’ve been a lot cheaper if she said, “Kohls”… She was playing the long game.
- The film is not as improved as it appears, but Jake Ryan got the part of Gabe by an improvised riff.
Bo Burnham: Jake Ryan came in fully formed. We had a chemistry read with [him and Elsie]. The script is not as improvised as it appears. To the credit of all these kids, the script is written like, “yeah, um, so the thing about being yourself is uh,” or all of Jake’s lines, so they were giving very technical performances, but in the auditions I wanted them to improv just to feel it out. Jack came in and improvised a scene where he was like, “Do you like tacos?”. And [Elsie] goes, “Yeah, I like tacos.” He goes, “Hard shell or soft?” And I go, “You have the part!”
Elsie Fisher has a good grasp of the internet.
Elsie Fisher: I think the internet is a very neutral thing, personally to me, and I think it's irresponsible to portray it as solely good or bad because we have no idea what it is. It's literally like God in a weird sense, if you think about it, and people partake in it without even thinking about it. It's like an addiction, but it's more. We know nothing about it, or what it's doing to us, and that's probably not great.
Bo Burnham enjoys watching videos with no views on YouTube.
Bo Burnham: I like watching videos of people online that have 10 or 15 views. I like searching and sorting the videos by upload date because you actually get video of real people. The problem is that we only talk about the people on the internet who get attention, and as someone who got attention on the internet, it's not that interesting — it really isn't. There's a whole well of really raw human expression, and none of that is on the trending page of YouTube for the most part. So, yeah, I was just watching a lot of videos of young kids expressing themselves online, and it felt so alive and incredible. You could see these kids trying to express themselves, trying to mimic the references of speeches they've heard in culture, failing to do that, trying to close the distance, being angry because they're not able to close the distance quick enough, getting bored, looking around, losing their place, all of that in an instant. I thought, if this was a performance, it'd be incredible. The boys talked about Fortnite, and the girls talked about their souls, so I was like, Okay, I'm gonna write about a girl probably. But, yeah, I did a lot of research. You just have to clear your Google history when you're researching "middle school pool party".
- The cast and crew don't mind the R-rating the film received because life is R-rated.
Moderator: How do you feel about the rating that Eighth Grade received?
Elsie Fischer: Real life is rated R.
Bo Burnham: I would like eighth graders to live a PG-13 life. I would love that to be the case. It didn't feel like our responsibility to portray a reality that was appropriate for kids. It felt appropriate to portray the reality that is reality for kids. You know, it's a bummer, but if it encourages parents to bring their kids, cool, just sit on the opposite sides of the auditorium and maybe have a conversation on the way out. It's crazy, I mean, I get the impulse to want to protect our kids or something, but I don't know... This film is not exposing kids to anything they're not already very aware of.
Check out the full Q&A below:
What do you think? Are you jazzed off Eighth Grade? Is it pure Gucci? Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below, and as always, remember to viddy well!