Jennifer Love Hewitt on Where Her ‘Can’t Hardly Wait’ Character Would Be 20 Years Later (EXCLUSIVE)
By Rande Iaboni
The teen comedy genre is one that has spanned across all generations, from The Breakfast Club in the '80s to Mean Girls almost two decades later -- everyone has their favorite.
Look no further than the quintessential '90s hit, Can’t Hardly Wait, which just so happened to turn the big 2-0 this year, and ET caught up with film’s star, Jennifer Love Hewitt, to look back on the classic flick.
“I remember thinking, ‘Wow, this is like our generation’s version of Pretty in Pink and 16 Candles and all of those iconic movies that you just love,'” Hewitt told ET’s Leanne Aguilera at the summer Television Critics Association press tour on Thursday.
In the film, Hewitt portrays aloof prom queen Amanda Beckett, who is dumped by her quarterback boyfriend Mike Dexter (Peter Facinelli) just before graduation night. The breakup kicks off the most epic high school party of all time as every graduating senior vies for Amanda’s heart -- including the sensitive romantic, Preston Meyers (Ethan Embry), who’s crushed on her for all four years of high school.
“I filmed that at the same time that I was doing Party of Five,” Hewitt recalled of her tight scheduling at the time. “I would work all day at Party of Five and then I would go and I would film Can’t Hardly Wait. I remember being very tired."
The film opened on June 12, 1998 and grossed over $25 million at the box office (with an estimated $10 million budget) and went on to become a classic teen movie staple over the last 20 years, still resonating with audiences to this very day. It’s no surprise, given it captured high school graduation in its purest form. As the film’s slogan puts it: “Yesterday’s history. Tomorrow’s the future. Tonight’s the party.”
It didn’t hurt that it boasted one of the hottest casts at the time, with Seth Green, Lauren Ambrose and Charlie Korsmo rounding out the rest of the main players (with Melissa Joan Hart, Jerry O’Connell and Jenna Elfman playing supporting roles). While Hewitt was the biggest name in the cast, it was an ensemble at its core.
“It was really fun, I got to be with Seth [Green] again, who I had known from doing stuff, and Breckin [Meyer] and everybody, it was just great,” Hewitt gushed.
Ambrose, who portrayed artsy outcast, Denise Fleming, shared that sentiment when speaking to ET earlier this year.
“There are so many people that are in that movie, so many actors. Selma Blair was like an extra, and she’s amazing. The list is long of the people who have gone and had these great careers,” she said, adding, “It was like the second movie I was in so it was just amazing to see how it all worked and have all these young kids like in this big movie.”
“It was like a touchstone for peoples’ childhood,” Ambrose continued, reflecting on why the film still resonates with audiences all these years later.
The film wasn’t all just drunk teenagers breaking up and partying though, it had a deeper meaning to it: Fate. As Elfman’s stripper angel so eloquently puts it while consoling a heartbroken Preston, “There is such a thing as fate, but it only takes you so far. Then it’s up to you to make it happen.”
So where would fate have led Hewitt’s Amanda Beckett in the present date? “I think she’s one of the [Real] Housewives,” Hewitt quipped. “That’s my goal for her.”
However, the 39-year-old actress was quick to clarify that the Housewives franchise is not one she aspires for herself, noting, “No, we’ll keep that with Amanda.”
For now, the wife and mother of two is joining FOX’s 9-1-1 in its sophomore season and feels right at home. “It’s a perfect job for me to go into right now with my lifestyle as a mom to be able to work in LA, to be able to dip in and dip out and have it be an ensemble, it’s a great experience.”