Behind the Scenes of Valley Girl

Deborah Foreman reflects on the movie that made her famous, how she learned to talk like a Valley girl and sharing the screen with a then-unknown actor named Nicolas Cage.


When I think of the film Valley Girl, I think of Nicolas Cage and feel so grateful that he was my first leading man. As an actor you want to do your best, be authentic and believable. When on screen with Nic, these things were effortless.
I feel we were both lucky to have a soul connection as artists. You don’t get that with everyone. As an artist, you feel safe in that person’s hands—as if anything and everything is possible.
It is much like falling in love. You can let yourself go and trust that your leading man has your back.
I enjoyed my on-screen time with Nic. I delighted in his endless way of adding unexpected nuances to a scene.
There was one scene where Randy (Nic’s character) is serving food to Julie (me) and Tommy (Julie’s boyfriend).
He comes over to the driver’s side of the car where Tommy is seated. Nic, being the talent that he is, says his lines and purposely spits his gum at Tommy—but makes it look accidental. Our laughter was completely spontaneous when that happened. I knew Randy was trying to impress Julie, and I was tickled pink at Nic’s imagination on how to convey this.

Coming from Texas, I’d never heard of the “Valley speak” that became so notorious after the movie. During one of my auditions, Moon Zappa’s song “Valley Girl” happened to be playing on radio. Thank goodness! Her “Valley speak” in the song helped me get the role.
We began rehearsals two weeks prior to filming, and Nic and I worked to establish our on-screen rapport. Martha Coolidge, our director, insisted on rehearsing, because once on the set (as a lower budget movie), we’d be moving very quickly.
I remember going to Fairfax and Taft high schools to get a feel of local teen culture. We rehearsed together during the day and at night hung out at nightclubs in Hollywood such as Florentine Gardens and Seven Seas.
As Randy, Nic wrote a poem for my character, Julie, and gave it to me before we started shooting. I still have it and cherish it as a piece of movie memorabilia.
With the 30th anniversary of the film, it is awesome to reflect on that time in my life. Looking back, I feel nothing but love for the experience.

Deborah Foreman is a jewelry designer ( based in Big Bear Lake, California.