Valley Girl  (Martha Coolidge, 1983)

There’s a story about Martha Coolidge which speaks volumes. She was casting her first narrative feature, Valley Girl (1983), and was stuck finding an actor to play Randy, the male lead. She glanced at the “reject” pile of headshots, picked up the one on top, and said, “We need someone like this guy.” “This guy” was an unknown named Nicolas Cage. His audition was phenomenal, and his chemistry with Debbie Foreman (cast as Julie, the “Valley Girl” of the title) was electric. It was only later that Coolidge realized he was a Coppola. (She had worked for Zoetrope for a couple of years, but had never met him.) Cage has said he felt weighed down by his last name, and this was the first time he was cast in something “on his own.” An interesting side note: the producers of Valley Girl were men, and hesitant about Cage as a romantic lead. They didn’t…

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