Sex, Censorship and 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High'

by David Weiner 9:30 AM PDT, August 15, 2012
Playing Sex, Censorship and 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High'

Hey Bud, let's party! Fast Times at Ridgemont High first arrived in theaters 30 years ago this week, and to celebrate we're flashing back to a vintage ET interview with Jennifer Jason Leigh in which she defended her character Stacy's graphic sex scene that was trimmed from the final cut of the film.

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"It wasn't at all romanticized; it wasn't pretty to look at; it was instead the clumsy, awkward reality of what sex is for young kids," said Jennifer of the scene that initially earned the film a surprising X rating by the MPAA. "It was no more graphic than, for example, The Blue Lagoon or Endless Love. It just wasn't pretty. It wasn't romanticized. So that's shocking. It was brilliantly cut, and I think it's a shame that it's out because I think it was a classic in its own right. … it was so real and honest and sad and funny."

Director Amy Heckerling's 1982 high school comedy classic was written by Cameron Crowe and starred an ensemble cast featuring a young Sean Penn, Phoebe Cates, Forest Whitaker, Judge Reinhold, Eric Stoltz and Anthony Edwards alongside Leigh. Also starring Robert Romanus, Brian Backer, Vincent Schiavelli and Ray Walston, the film followed a group of teens as they make their way through the school year, learning about life and love and they endure bad jobs, bad dates and tough teachers.

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"It's about growing up in the '80s, about trying to cope with the uncertainties and all the terrors and joys and frustrations of being an adolescent," explained Jennifer. "I think it's a lot harder to be a kid today. Kids are pressured into being adults before they're finished being kids, and it shows that."