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Cameron Crowe Reflects on Abortion Storyline in ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’

Fans remember”Fast Times at Ridgemont High” for its raunchy humor, loaded soundtrack and clever storyline, but an underlying subplot involving underage sex and abortion often flies under the radar — and that might be a good thing.

According to screenwriter Cameron Crowe, the film’s abortion side-story wouldn’t hold up with a modern audience.

“It would be outrageously controversial, and it would be protested, and there would be a mess over it,” Crowe said during an interview with Yahoo.

The storyline in question follows 15-year-old sophomore Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who starts off the school year as a virgin, only to become impregnated by fellow classmate Mike Damone (Robert Romanus). Following the pregnancy news, Stacy undergoes an abortion, which the film treats with a surprising lack of fanfare — a detail that Crowe attributes to director Amy Heckerling.

“We asked her about the abortion scene, and she said ‘you know what, this is life. I want to shoot this like life,'” he said. “She just quietly did it, and in an almost European way, she put this young girl’s life onscreen in a way for you to judge — this is just how life is. And it meant a lot when she did it at the time, and it still means a lot. It was a very courageous thing to do, and it actually is the one thing about the movie that I’m probably happiest about at this point.”

Crowe wrote the screenplay for the film, which was based on his own book about his time as an undercover reporter at a Southern California high school.

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