Netflix’s new movie, Luckiest Girl Alive, stars Mila Kunis as a woman who confronts her past trauma. The story is based on author Jessica Knoll’s book and her real-life experiences.
Knoll wrote the screenplay and served as an executive producer. And the author recently revealed why she chose not to be on set during the sexual assault scene.
What is Netflix’s ‘Luckiest Girl Alive’ about?
Luckiest Girl Alive stars Jessica Knoll Chiara Aurelia, Mila Kunis, and Finn Wittrock | Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Netflix
Luckiest Girl Alive tells the story of Ani FaNelli (Mila Kunis), a go-getter living her best life in New York City. Ani has a coveted position at a top magazine and is getting married to her equally successful and beautiful fiancé in a dreamy wedding in Nantucket.
But Ani’s momentum takes a pause when a documentary filmmaker finds her and asks her to recall a traumatic experience she had in high school. As she revisits those dark moments, Ani’s perfectly curated life unfolds.
The film is an adaptation of Knoll’s 2015 novel, Luckiest Girl Alive. The cast includes Kunis, Connie Britton, Finn Wittrock, Jennifer Beals, Chiara Aurelia, and Scoot McNairy.
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Why Jessica Knoll wasn’t on set during the sexual assault scene in ‘Luckiest Girl Alive’
As a writer and executive producer, Knoll shaped the film in the way she wanted to tell her story. But when the sexual assault scene with young Ani was being filmed, she chose to be absent. The author told Pop Sugar that didn’t want to disturb the young actors during such an emotionally heavy scene.
“I wrote the scene in both the book and in the script,” Knoll said. “But I also didn’t go to set the day that they filmed it because I didn’t want to make the actors who were in that scene feel uncomfortable, because they’re between the ages of 18 and 22, and I’m 38.”
“When I was that age, someone in a position of power would intimidate me so much,” she continued. “It’s already hard enough to have to do those scenes, so I didn’t want to add to that pressure. So then when I watched the dailies later, I was like, ‘I’m really glad I wasn’t there.’”
Jessica Knoll found the ‘Luckiest Girl Alive’ scene hard to watch
Knoll based some of Ani’s experiences on her own. But when she finally saw the sexual assault scene — and the one right after in which teen boys are laughing at Ani — the author realized how coordinated her own assault was. And she admitted that it was not easy to take in.
“It was really hard to watch,” Knoll told Pop Sugar. “And it was sad for me in the way where I was like, ‘Oh, this is that thing that they say that you do where you normalize what happened to you, even to be able to live with it.’ You’re like, ‘Well, I’m sure it wasn’t, like, that violent, or maybe they were just a little bit confused.’
“And then when you really watch it — like that scene in the hallway, where they all see her and they’re laughing — seeing that actually happen, it’s just like, ‘Wow!’ It’s a real kind of coordinated effort,” she added. “That’s very disturbing.”
Luckiest Girl Alive is streaming on Netflix.
How to get help: In the U.S., call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.
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