Cher Horowitz is back. 28 years after Amy Heckerling’s cult classic “Clueless” premiered, setting the bar for modernized Jane Austen adaptations and inspiring decades of Halloween costumes, Silverstone is set to reprise her role as the sweetly well-intentioned Valley girl — not for a sequel film or one of her TikToks, but rather for a Rakuten spot that will air during the Super Bowl.
The teaser for the commercial opens with a classroom of students chattering amongst themselves. A school bell rings, the iconic yellow plaid emerges into frame and Cher strides down the aisle, holding one shopping bag in each hand. She reaches the front of the classroom and sets them down, then whirls around to face the camera. The opening chords of “Alright” by Supergrass begin to play as she fixes a steady gaze.
“Don’t bug,” she says. “Your girl is back.”
The 30-second ad spot will play on Sunday, Feb. 12, during the championship game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs. On a crisp morning in December, the actor, also known for her roles in “The Baby-Sitters Club” and “Blast from the Past,” sits down with Variety in her on-set trailer at a high school in West Los Angeles to chat about the legacy of “Clueless” and why she chose to revisit her role in the commercial for the cash back shopping platform.
Dressed casually in a soft-looking sweater and seemingly unperturbed by the fire alarm blaring across campus, Silverstone reveals how she became involved with the ad.
“Rakuten came to me with this idea, and I thought it was really clever,” she says. “When I think about Cher and about how she’s film’s most historic shopaholic, the idea that she would be able to use this app is the greatest hack ever, getting cash back on all your shopping. I feel like she would want everyone to know that.”
The ad also represents a callback to the film’s legacy, as well as a nod to the resurgence of ’90s culture and fashion trends. Did she know at the time she filmed it that “Clueless” would be so successful?
“I didn’t make movies thinking they would do well or not,” Silverstone says. “I had no concept of that; I was just acting because I liked it. But then it very quickly became clear that it was taking over.”
One of the more well-known narratives surrounding the making of “Clueless” is that 20th Century Fox had initially tried to develop the project as a TV series and a film before passing on it overall. Director Amy Heckerling said in Jen Chaney’s book “As If: The Oral History of Clueless” that Fox executives had “a concern that it was too much about one female.” After Fox passed, Paramount picked it up. Nearly three decades later, “Clueless” remains a teen comedy classic.
The habits and values of a 2023 shopaholic, however, look different from those of a 1995 shopaholic. How might Cher approach shopping today? Silverstone is quick to weigh in.
“Cher, in the end of the film, really evolves. She always has compassion, but she really awakens to what matters. I think that she would be buying the really eco[-friendly], animal cruelty free clothes.”
When asked what she thinks of the revival of ‘90s fashion trends, Silverstone admits, “I couldn’t even tell you from I’m trying to think of — what is something from the ‘90s?”
After offering low-rise jeans as an option that crossed over from the ’90s to the 2000s, Silverstone responded: “I had all low-rise jeans, that’s for sure… If you’re a woman over 25, you want the high waisted jeans… I don’t know that we want the low-rise jeans. I don’t know that that’s going to work for us, with older women.”
In an era with ’90s reboots galore, from the short-lived “Heathers” television series to the more recent “That ‘90s Show,” what makes it tricky to recapture the energy of that decade’s teen films and shows?
“Amy Heckerling never wanted to do ‘Clueless 2.’ She got asked so many times and she just refused,” Silverstone says. “She just felt like there’s magic in what we did. So I don’t know why or how that works… You can have the most incredible cast, the most incredible script, the most incredible director and still those movies don’t work sometimes. So when it does, it’s really special.”
Watch the teaser trailer for the Super Bowl ad below: