Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut “Booksmart” is a high school film for the current generation, but the longtime actress was inspired by other classic adolescent films making the comedy.

“It’s a film that is supposed to be the way that ‘Fast Times’ and ‘Dazed and Confused’ and ‘The Breakfast Club’ and ‘Clueless’ was for all of us,” Wilde told press, including International Business Times, ahead of her win for CinemaCon’s breakthrough director of the year award at the film event in Las Vegas last week.

“It is a film that embraces this new generation which is all about fluidity and intelligence and politics incorporated into day-to-day life,” she added. “It’s smart being [expletive] and all of the things that make this generation truly evolved and wonderful. It’s my kind of love letter to them.”

The film follows two seniors, Amy and Molly, played by Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein, respectively, on their journey to have one big adventure before finishing their high school experience. “It represents the types of movies that I always wanted to make,” Wilde explained, calling John Hughes movies her biggest inspiration to get into the entertainment industry in the first place. “It’s only logical that’s that is where I would begin as a filmmaker,” she said.

While “Booksmart” was her ideal first project, it wasn’t lost on Wilde that venturing into the comedy genre would be difficult.

“I would say the thing that’s the most challenging about making a film is that comedy, particularly, is entirely subjective. You’re making something that you want people to love and experience together but you can’t claim that everyone will love a certain joke or resonate with a certain character or emotions,” she explained.

Ultimately, Wilde said it was important for her to make something “entirely personal,” adding, “If anyone else can tell the story, then it’s not worth telling. ‘Booksmart’ was my story that I wanted to tell and the way that only I could tell it along with the most extraordinary group of collaborators...”

While Wilde faced a sharp learning curve when it came to editing her film due to the “embarrassment of riches” she discovered in post-production, she said going into another project, she will leave more time for a film to evolve.

“Our film has a completely different opening shot than I thought it would have... There are parts taken out of the second act that I thought were essential that when I put it all together realized I didn’t need,” Wilde explained. “I think that’s what directors find when they get to the edit it’s like ‘Wow, I have to make tough choices here.’ I think if I learned anything for the next time it’s just to give myself the kind of time necessary to allow for that evolution.”

Wilde may have a chance to make another film sooner rather than later. The filmmaker acknowledged the growing trend for actors to start directing, specifically mentioning her longtime peers Bradley Cooper (“A Star is Born”) and Jonah Hill (“Mid90s”).

“I feel like it’s just a flood of content that has the opportunity to be made…I feel like studios are taking risks on new talent… That’s where it starts. It starts with the studios giving opportunities to new filmmakers but I think actors are feeling inspired by each other as well. It feels like we are all stepping into our own and saying, ‘Hang on, we know a lot about this process. What would happen if we took over?’”

booksmart "Booksmart" actor Beanie Feldstein is seen with director Olivia Wilde on the set of the Annapurna Pictures film. Photo: Francois Duhamel