Stars Talk Growing Up, Gender and Sexuality at 'Blockers' Premiere

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Ike Barinholtz, Leslie Mann, and John Cena in 'Blockers'

“The message to young girls all around is that if you’re a woman, you have to realize that you’re in just as much of a position of power as any man is,” said Gideon Adlon.

The cast of Universal's Blockers, (including Leslie Mann, John Cena and Ike Barinholtz) turned out at Regency Village Theater on Tuesday night for the film’s premiere. The R-rated comedy tells the tale of three high school seniors who all pledge to lose their virginity on prom night, but this time it’s the girls, not the boys, who are eager to lose their v-cards.

Gideon Adlon, who plays Barinholtz's daughter Sam in the film, said Blockers is all about teenagers supporting each other through their own journeys.

“The message to young girls all around is that if you’re a woman, you have to realize that you’re in just as much of a position of power as any man is,” Adlon told The Hollywood Reporter. “You have the right to make your own choice, and you should make your own choice. And that’s what this movie really shows. Young women making choices for their own bodies. It’s pretty special.”

Kay Cannon made her directorial debut in Blockers and received nothing but praise from her co-workers on the carpet. With Cannon’s direction, Blockers evolved from a male-centric comedy to a story about young women taking control of their bodies. Thinking of her 4-year-old daughter, Cannon told THR that she wants Blockers to facilitate conversations between parents and their children about sex.

“I hope it bridges the communication gap between young women and their parents, in terms of not treating them like damsels in distress, and listening to them, and not being afraid of them and their sexuality,” Cannon told THR. “That would be a nice evolving of us as a gender.”

Jim Kehoe co-wrote Blockers with his brother, Brian, in 2012. After nearly six years in the making, the pair was thrilled to be at the premiere. On the carpet, they complemented Cannon’s ability to constantly revise the script to accurately reflect changing times.

“In our original drafts, we had written three young women characters, but I think she brought specificity and more reality to it,” Kehoe said. “And of course we wrote it back in 2012, which was a very different time than it is now. So as time went on, she kept working on the script, improving it, and making it more real and timely. If we had made the movie with the 2012 script, we wouldn’t have focused as much on the female character.”

In the 2012 version of the script, Blockers producer Jon Hurwitz said it was originally written with three fathers. They decided to instead make it two fathers and one mother because “everybody has anxiety about their children.”

Mann, a mother of two daughters herself, is pleased that a film finally shows the girls’ perspective.

“I think it’s a good representation of what it’s like for young women nowadays and always, really,” Mann said. “I wish we had this movie come out when I was a teenager because it seems like a lot of focus in the past has been on what it’s like to be the boy, so this is really nice.”

If nothing else, Cannon hopes Blockers will make people smile. Before the screening in Westwood on Tuesday, Cannon stood before the crowd and called on Cena to get everyone hyped up. He shouted, “Are you ready?!” twice before tossing his popcorn into the air. The audience collectively burst into laughter and was ready for much-anticipated reveal of Blockers.

“I really feel like we need to be laughing. And I feel like people are laughing in this movie, and that makes me really happy,” said Cannon. “So I want people to know if they need to take a break from the burdens of their life to come see this movie.” 

Blockers is set to hit theaters April 6.