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Best Friends & First Kisses
When Bliss begins sneaking off to Austin for Hurl Scouts' practice, things slowly begin to unravel back in Bodeen, starting with best friend Pash, who has her own dreams of escaping the small town.

Playing Pash is Alia Shawkat, best known for her acclaimed role on television's "Arrested Development.” Barrymore chose her for the way she and Page played off each other with perfect ease. "Chemistry is so important,” says Barrymore "and when we did the screen test with Alia and Ellen, it was completely there. Alia has great range – she can be serious and funny, an older sister figure to Bliss and a bit of a wisecracker. She has a personal style that you can't fake.”

Shawkat was attracted to the project because it was so completely different from every other coming-of-age story she'd seen. "They're rarely from a girl's perspective -- and especially not a girl who goes into such a rough and tumble world,” she muses. "The characters in this movie are strong and independent and just as tough and smart as any boy.”

She also found herself adoring Pash. "She's the friend who allows Bliss to be herself,” says Shawkat. "Yet, their goals are different. Pash might be alternative in her dress and like pop music, but she is also determined to get into an Ivy League college. She loves Bliss but she knows what she wants, and she's not letting anything get in her way. She's strong-headed, stubborn and very smart.”

Still, when Bliss becomes wrapped up in the derby world, Pash feels she's being left behind – quite literally. "Pash feels like she's losing her best friend, the one person in the world she's connected to. She understands that Bliss needs something to give herself over to, but she is not willing to risk everything for her,” says Shawkat. "Luckily, Ellen and I just had a connection that was really natural and she's so genuine – she doesn't say anything without really meaning it – so that made it easy.”

As Bliss finds new friends in Austin, she also finds something else – Oliver – an indie-music-loving lead singer with a thing for derby girls. Oliver is played by real life Nashville musician Landon Pigg, who was so real that Barrymore was instantly won over

Mendel and Barrymore had talked from the beginning about trying to find a real musician to play the part. "My point was that no matter what, when you see an actor playing a musician in a movie, especially when they have to play music, no matter how good an actor they are, you know it's fake, and the spell is broken,” said Mendel.

"I said, no matter what, I did not want an actor for Oliver; I wanted a real musician because actors and musicians are totally different,” she notes. "I went on a nationwide search for a musician who'd never acted before, who could create a song for the film and really play it in the movie, and that's how I discovered Landon. I knew immediately he was the one. We worked very closely together and it was one of the best relationships for me in the movie. He brought so many elements to the role and wrote a fantastic song called ‘High Times.' He possesses something fresh and unique.”

Pigg understood exactly why Oliver falls for Bliss, despite being surrounded by Austin hipsters. "There's something just a little off, a tiny bit different about Bliss. She's quiet yet also strangely more confident than Oliver. There's a tension there and Oliver is drawn to that,” he explains. "Then, he shows her some of his favorite music, which is a secret code. It says so much and surpasses multiple conversations that might be had. Oliver is in love with her responses and things take off from there. She's full of contradictions and he just wants to go along for the ride.”

Even if Bliss isn't quite sure if she can trust Oliver, Pigg says that Oliver isn't necessarily what he appears to<

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