The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Release date: August 28, 2015
Directed by: Marielle Heller
Written by: Marielle Heller
Produced by: Bert Hamelinck, Madeline Samit, Miranda Bailey, Anne Carey
Genre: Drama
Running time: 1h 42min

Kristen Wiig as: Charlotte
Other cast: Bel Powley, Alexander Skarsgård, Christopher Meloni

The coming-of-age story of Minnie Goetze, a teenager growing up in 1970’s-era San Francisco. Searching for direction in life, she chronicles her daily trials through expressive drawings and painfully honest missives confided to a tape recorder. But when an evening alone with her mother’s opportunistic boyfriend becomes intimate, Minnie is confronted with her burgeoning sexuality for the first time, beginning an affair that casts her in way over her head.

Production Notes

Director Marielle Heller talks about working with Kristen Wiig: “Kristen is a dear friend of mine and I’ve never wanted to talk about work at all, because we just have a personal relationship. But early on I got really excited about the idea of her in this part because it felt like a surprising choice. And there would have been a lot of dramatic actresses who people would’ve expected me to go to for with this character. I actually thought Kristen would tow the line in a much more interesting way, and could create this charming weirdo that I wanted her character to be — and make her so much more relatable and interesting — which she does beautifully.”

“I gave her the script and a little teaser that I had shot for the movie and she just loved it. It was so exciting because with her involvement it was like, ‘Oh, now we can really move this along.’ I was going to make the movie no matter what and was pushing it forward. But Kristen signing on was definitely like ‘Alright here we go, this is going to happen quickly.’ Kristen’s character had a daughter when she was 16 and she never grew up. Her emotional growth stopped the moment she had a kid. She’s not a responsible parent in anyway. I think that was very common after the free love movement. There were sort of a lot of kids around where it wasn’t really planned. People weren’t making conscious decisions to have kids. It was just kind of happening, and all the rules were being thrown out the window. Those parents didn’t want to be an authority to begin with because they hated authority— so then how do you be a parent? It was just a really confusing thing. And I think San Francisco is kind of a city with a lot of lost kids and not a lot of parents, especially at that time.”

“Kristen was unafraid to go to dark places with the character, which I love. She came into the filming with all of these ideas about Charlotte’s gestures and physicality. She came in with these long dark fingernails that helped inform this way of being. We put her in all of these incredible 70s outfits. It’s like she was meant for that era. Every costume fitting with her was such a joy because every weird jumpsuit we put on her looked amazing. We had too many things for her to wear. We wanted her to be in every different outfit, weird big coats and crazy things. The scene where Bel returns home and they reconnect felt particularly honest, and it’s done in very few words.”

“It was a really difficult scene to write, to figure out how we could get an incredibly honest reaction from this character, because I do think at the end that Kristen’s character has not necessarily grown. She’s the same that she was at the start. But Minnie has changed, and learned to accept her mom for who she is in a different kind of way. But it was really important to me that it didn’t feel like this bullshit thing where everybody learns their huge lesson and comes out on the other side of this experience a changed person. Because that’s not reality, and Kristen totally understood that impetus of emotional denial kicking in and coping mechanisms and how do we do things just to move forward. So yeah, it’s such a powerful moment. We all have that moment where we kind of rise above our parents. And that’s so painful.”