For Desiree Akhavan, it was all about the tone.
The director fell in love with the tone of the novel, “The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” when she first read it.
By 2015, she optioned the book.
The film adaptation is opening in Albuquerque today.
“I loved the book, and it’s been on my mind since 2012,” she says. “Putting together 90 minutes was so much harder than I thought it would be. It took us a while to figure out what wasn’t making it work. We fought to keep the tone just right. Comedy, teen drama with the most heightened stakes. It required a difficult approach, and we made it happen.”
Akhavan directed and co-wrote the film with Cecilia Frugiuele.
“The Miseducation of Cameron Post” follows Cameron Post, played by Chloë Grace Moretz, who is caught in a compromising position with another girl at prom night.
Her aunt ships her off to God’s Promise, a gay conversation therapy center, where she is supposed to be “cured” of her “same-sex attraction.”
She is surrounded by troubled youths who have been abandoned by their guardians; some of them are trying to drink the Kool-Aid and fit in with the rest of society, and some are resolute in maintaining their true selves.
Post falls in with misfits Jane Fonda, played by Sasha Lane, and Adam, played by New Mexico native Forrest Goodluck.
The trio strive to break free.
Casting was a big deal for Akhavan.
“There were speed bumps along the way,” she says. “I started seeing actors to play Cameron, and I didn’t know if anyone was right for the part. Out of nowhere, I heard Chloë wanted to make the film. She hadn’t done a role like this before. I wanted her to take the role and shed a brand-new light.”
After Moretz was cast, Goodluck and Lane were cast.
“I was lucky to find both Forrest and Sasha, because they rounded out this amazing group of characters,” she says. “The film quickly became an ensemble cast. They worked really well together and captured the tone of the novel.”
Akhavan aimed to create a teen film that resonates with everyone.
“The best of those films take you back to a place where you can identify with what’s going on,” she says. “This film is very important to the narrative today.”