Maureen Trant and her younger sibling Dani share a strong connection, but local boy Court Foster threatens to throw their bond off balance. Dani and Court meet first and have a flirtatious rapport — but when he meets Maureen, he falls hard and they begin a passionate affair. The new couple try to keep their love hidden from Dani, but she soon learns the truth, disavowing her sister. But a heartbreaking accident later reunites the girls.
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• Landed the lead role after answering a call for extras in her hometown newspaper – she saw an ad in her local paper looking for a 14-year-old Southern girl to appear in a movie.
• She went to Los Angeles for the screen test and whilst there enjoyed dipping her feet in the Pacific Ocean and driving past lines of palm trees on Wilshire Boulevard. Then, she had to fly to Louisiana for another round of auditions with the director.
• Reese spent the summer before her freshman year of high school making the movie
• Reese Witherspoon – “Even if this doesn’t do really as well as we really hope it does, it’s okay. Just as long as we touched a few people, it’s really worth it.”
• Reese Witherspoon – “Well, I do, but I feel like this is a marking point in our career and it’s gonna be tough to ever really top this one.” [on whether she wants to be a successful actress]
• Reese Witherspoon – “I came home from softball practice and my mom said, ‘Reese, I need to talk to you, they’re calling and asking if you’ll go to Los Angeles for a screen test.’ I’ll never forget my mom said to the people on the phone, ‘What kind of movie is this anyway?’ I think she wanted to make sure I wasn’t in like a dirty movie or something. Good job, mom.”
• Reese Witherspoon – “I remember I was feeling really nervous and the director was this really amazing man, Robert Mulligan, he said, ‘Why don’t you chew gum? You just sound different and you act different when you’re chewing gum,’” she remembers. “He’d make me spit it out right before I did the scene, but I had to remember how I did it when I was chewing the gum because he wanted me to kind of throw all my words away or something like that.”
• Reese Witherspoon – “I learned everything I needed to know about being a film actor, how to hit marks, how to perform for a camera, how to get emotional.”
• Reese Witherspoon – “I had to kiss a boy onscreen for the first time, and I was 14 years old and I was so embarrassed. And I had to do a scene where I was supposed to be skinny dipping, and they had a nude double for me and that was so mortifying when I was 14. Even though I wasn’t doing it.”
• Reese Witherspoon – “I remember really distinctly Arnold Schwarzenegger was at the premiere. I also remember the outfit I wore to the premiere. I wore this little black velvet dress that had white flowers on top that were lace – and cowboy boots.”
• Reese Witherspoon – “”
• Robert Mulligan – [It was] “risky business, to say the least. We had a casting team that went out and saw several thousand kids and tested them on video. When I saw Reese’s test, she just jumped off the screen, simply as a personality. I couldn’t tell whether she could act or not, but she’s got a wonderful face and there’s a brightness and intelligence there. Then, when I tested her in Santa Monica, a strange breakthrough took place. Early in the movie, Dani is a bit of a tomboy. Reese was trying to project this in a scene where she had to get angry with the boy, but it had a false ring to it. Because in real life she isn’t a tomboy. She’s a real ‘girl’ girl. Just before we did another rehearsal, I told her I wanted her to chew gum. Well, she started chewing gum and all of a sudden the performance happened. She was tough. Strong. Direct. And the scene worked. Like that. In an instant, it was there. What was marvelous was, at the end of the scene, Reese knew that something happened. Her compass, her sense of what’s real, kicked in. The motor was running and she knew it. It was funny because she said: ‘Can I always chew gum?’ And I said: ‘Yeah.’” [on casting a then-unknown Reese]
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