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Written and directed by Lisa Azuelos, ‘LOL’ is a new coming-of-age comedy based on her 2008 French smash-hit, ‘LOL (Laughing Out Loud)’. The movie was about Lola (Miley Cyrus) and her friends who have to navigate the peer pressures of high school romance and friendship in a world increasingly connected by Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and iTunes, while at the same time dodging their sometimes overbearing and technologically bewildered parents. Through hilarious and heartfelt moments between mother and daughter, LOL is an authentic story that perfectly captures today’s reality.
LOL: The Origin Story
Lisa Azuelos both wrote and directed the first incarnation; ‘LOL (Laughing Out Loud)’, the French film starring Sophie Marceau, after realizing that movies based on teen life in her home country of France were almost entirely missing.
She remembers a film in the ‘80s called ‘La Boum’ (The Boom), which was basically ‘The Breakfast Club’ of her generation, also starring Sophie Marceau. She describes it as a huge generation movie that young people were able to identify with during her time. Much to her dismay, she could not find a movie that the current adolescent generation, such as her own daughter, could relate to in this way. She would often times see her daughter go to the theatre to watch either an American teen movie or a horror film.
Her daughter was turning sixteen years old and she felt that nobody in the movie business was reaching out to this pubescent generation. “Nobody’s describing their lives. Nobody’s doing anything,” she explains as she thinks back to how no movie has been made until ‘LOL (Laughing Out Loud)’ about the generation of today.
So Azuelos set out to change that. She wanted to create the kind of original story for the adolescent set which addressed the many complexities, pitfalls, perils and dilemmas of modern youth in their quest towards independence, self-identity and adulthood.
There was one moment in particular that incited her to write the story. Her daughter was throwing her first party, a birthday party, at their home. She didn’t want her mom to be seen, so Lisa stayed behind closed doors listening to the songs that she listened to when she was sixteen. While dancing and simply enjoying herself, she suddenly was hit with the realization that she was the mother behind that door – the mother of a daughter who, herself, was dancing and enjoying herself to the songs of her own youth.
“It grabbed me by my throat and I began to cry,” Azuelos explains. “I thought, ‘Oh my God, something’s happening here. I’m a mother, she’s a daughter, and things are changing. She’s not a baby anymore. What’s happening here?’ So when I’m [in] those kinds of situations, I write, and that’s it.”
Azuelos drew her principal characters from subjects close to her heart. Using her middle name, Anne, and her daughter’s middle name, Lola, Azuelos scripted a mother-daughter relationship much like her own. “It’s like they want to go away but they want you very near,” she says, as she describes the everyday teenage child. She wanted to “tell the teenagers, the daughters in particular, we know who you are.”
Not only did Azuelos set out to tell the story of these teens, she also wanted to do this movie for all the mothers out there that had the same questions she did. “I was talking to a lot of parents who had teenagers and they were like, ‘What did I do wrong for my child to behave so weird? For my child to say this to me? For my child to want to go out? Not want to study? Want to have fun? I thought I was a great parent and suddenly I discover she hates me.’”
Azuelos wanted to ensure them that they are not doing anything wrong and there is no need to feel guilty. “It’s just that their child is not a child anymore and that’s the process, the normal process, of saying to your mother, ‘I’m your child but I don’t want you anymore.”’ She then adds, “But the funny thing is, with teenagers, you have to be there as soon as they call you.”
Image Courtesy of LOL The Movie