‘Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion’ turns 20: Lisa Kudrow and Robin Schiff tell stories from set

Lisa Kudrow is perhaps best-known for starring as lovable space cadet Phoebe Buffay in “Friends,” but in 1997, she won acclaim for playing another ditz with a heart of gold: Michele Weinberger in “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion.”

In the comedy, which premiered 20 years ago today, Kudrow and Mira Sorvino co-starred as two off-beat, fashion-obsessed best friends who go to great lengths to impress their former classmates at their 10-year high school reunion.

Thanks in part to regular showings on television, the film, which Kudrow described as “candy,” developed a cult following, and the actress told ABC News that even today, people come up to her to recite their favorite lines.

“I think it was really funny and then also there was heart,” she said of the film. “They were these two people [who] loved each other.”

However, even the biggest fans of the film may not know everything about it. ABC News spoke with Kudrow and the film’s writer and executive producer, Robin Schiff, about the production.

1. The film began as a play: About 30 years ago, Robin Schiff wrote a popular play called “Ladies’ Room,” which took place inside the women’s bathroom. Two of the most popular characters in the show were Romy and Michele: vapid friends intent on picking up high-earning men. Kudrow originated the role of Michele, and her friend, actress Christie Mellor, played Romy. After the idea of a TV pilot focused on the characters failed to take off, Touchstone film executives approached Schiff about making a movie about the pair, hoping she could create “a female ‘Wayne’s World.'” Noting that she knew she wanted to do a movie focused on universal issues rather than the ones more often explored in female-driven films, Schiff admitted that the details of the plot stumped her. “I didn’t know what to do, so I said, ‘Romy and Michele Go to Japan,’ ‘Romy and Michele Go to College,’ and I’m driving one day and I think to myself, ‘They are invited to the reunion and they don’t realize that their lives have amounted to nothing until they fill out the questionnaire!'” she told ABC News. “It made me laugh out loud. I had gone to my 10-year reunion and so I was able to pull off real emotions even though it’s done in a heightened way.” Ironically, the film will soon find its way back to the stage: On June 8, “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion: The Musical” will open at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle.

2. A line about vomiting proved to be very important: Kudrow was asked to read the part of Michele during a backer’s audition, which was meant to raise money for the production. At the time, one exchange in the script struck her as particularly hilarious: Romy tells Michele that she hates throwing up in public, to which Michele responds, “Me too!” “It just seems very funny if you were really enthusiastic about, ‘Oh my gosh, we have so much in common! I also hate throwing up in public! That’s so unique to both of us!'” Kudrow said with a laugh. “That’s why I…

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