Is Can’t Hardly Wait a True Story?

‘Can’t Hardly Wait,’ directed by Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont, is a teen romance and comedy-drama based on a bunch of high school students who are finishing their graduation. To celebrate the offset of a long journey of fun and cheer before sauntering into adulthood, they gather at a classmate’s wealthy house to indulge in a long night of drinking and partying. The plot discusses multiple characters and their individual stories, which form the overall narrative. It is funny and absolutely relatable, and we wondered where the inspiration for this movie came from. Is ‘Can’t Hardly Wait’ a true story? Let’s find out.

Is Can’t Hardly Wait Based on a True Story?

No, ‘Can’t Hardly Wait’ is not based on a true story. It is an original screenplay, written in 1996 by Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan, who were searching for a project they could create and execute on a minimal budget. The title of the movie is eponymous to a song by The Replacements, from their 1987 album ‘Pleased to Meet Me,’ which accompanies the film’s closing credits. The story is centered around a high school graduation party reenacting experiences parallel to high school movies in the 80s.

The filmmakers were struck with the realization that the best scenes in teen movies included a party and developed a movie set that was entirely based on it. Elfont mentioned that the idea behind the movie was mostly based on practical feasibility and convenience. They wanted to minimize expenses, and eventuating the movie into a party scene seemed economical so that all progressions were made within a single location.

This was followed by a general urge to create a high school movie because no one had done it for a considerable period. ‘Can’t Hardly Wait’ was originally titled ‘The Party.’ Both Elfont and Kaplan had intended it in a way that all of the movie’s main characters—Preston (Ethan Embry), Mike (Peter Facinelli), William (Charlie Korsmo), and Kenny (Seth Green)—were friends, and Preston’s love interest would be his best girl friend, Denise (Lauren Ambrose).

The story, after being placed like that, seemed a bit unsettling and lacking in potential. Elfont said that it felt like just a subsection of the whole high school experience. The plot did not seem wholesome. That is when they decided to divide the characters and assign each individual a significant narrative to carry the story forward. The characters representing different high school archetypes hence became the stories. The characters in the movie are based on collective high school experiences, fabricated through ideas and vague recollections.

However, there is one scene that is derived from a real experience at Deborah Kaplan’s house. The movie has a scene where Kenny and Denise get locked up inside a bathroom. Kaplan had a similar experience when she threw a rager during a time she was home alone, and one of her friends got locked inside the bathroom. She had to stay inside for hours. Nobody heard her because everybody was completely hammered.

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