"It was the closest I've ever come to something being in my head and being on the screen," says the "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" creator, now in her early 50s. "It was exactly the way I wanted it."
Pope explains the all-ages appeal as, "We never thought of this as a teenage movie."
Heckerling, who makes a hobby of studying slang, says cracking the DNA code of teen linguistics was no big whoop: "A lot of words that come from teenagers are about throwing up."
Fashion designer Mona May recalls the "Clueless" outfits as "not really what the kids were wearing" in the drab era of Nirvana -- "it was a hyper-look." Of Silverstone -- hired after she turned heads as
rock-video Betty -- May says: "I couldn't have dreamed of a better little Barbie doll to dress."
Heckerling says Silverstone "was so cute ... on the verge of womanhood but she's also got such a little girl quality. It's that thing that famous women sex symbols have where women like them also." Pope graciously says "Clueless" "really is Alicia's movie."
The project started life as a TV pitch called "No Worries." (Like "Ridgemont," it eventually spun off a series.) The many "Emma" parallels were added as the series concept morphed into a film script. But, "Unconsciously, I'd been writing an Emma-like character" from the beginning, says Heckerling.
The writer-director found her script "hard for people to understand" since it lacked the usual teenage-wasteland raunch. At Fox, "the men didn't get it." Producer Scott Rudin did, and Paramount won the ensuing budding war. "Clueless" overcame its chick-flick veneer via enthusiastic reviews and word of mouth, and went on to gross $57 million in theaters.