Bo Burnham & Elsie Fisher on ‘Eighth Grade’ and Avoiding Teen Tropes

     August 17, 2018

I love talking movies period, but this latest interview was quite the treat because Bo Burnham‘s feature directorial debut Eighth Grade is one of my favorite films of 2018. It stars Elsie Fisher as Kayla, an eighth grade student who’s trying to find her place in the school social scene right before making the move from middle to high school. It’s a breakthrough performance in a film that hits all the right notes when it comes to recreating the eighth grade experience with such honesty and respect that you deeply feel Kayla’s struggle while also feeling encouraged to reconnect with your own middle school days.

Eighth Grade kicked off its theatrical rollout back in mid-July, continued to pick up steam and just recently held some free screenings where the MPAA’s R rating would not be enforced so that actual eighth grade students could check out the movie. Collider was lucky enough to get Burnham and Fisher in studio to talk about these unrated screenings, delivering an authentic look at the eighth grade experience, share some surprising reactions to the movie, and so much more. You can check out the full interview at the top of this article and a breakdown of our discussion below. And in case you missed it, click here to watch Burnham and Fisher give the Collider Video crew some advice on how to deal with their in-office issues.


Image via A24

Bo Burnham and Elsie Fisher:

  • Burnham on making the decision to direct his first feature film.
  • The key to getting his first feature off the ground.
  • Burnham and Fisher discuss the audition process and the script sides used to cast Kalya.
  • Treating the eighth grade experience with respect and avoiding the “wise beyond their years” trope.
  • Were there any reactions to a particular scene in the movie that surprised them?
  • The elements of the movie that brought them right back to their own eighth grade experiences.
  • Kayla’s relationship with her father played by Josh Hamilton.
  • Does Burnham have any interest in making another feature film?
  • If approached, would he direct a Star Wars or superhero movie?
  • If Fisher could be in a big blockbuster film, which one would she choose?
  • Burnham’s experience sharing those free screenings without the R rating.

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