On March 3, Amy Poehler’s new film Moxie hits Netflix. (Based on a 2017 young adult novel by Jennifer Mathieu, it’s Poehler’s second directorial effort, following 2019’s Wine Country.) The opening scene takes place in a quiet pocket of Oregon trees. “It was beautiful. Very mossy and very rainy, as expected. I loved it,” says Hadley Robinson, who appeared briefly in 2019’s Little Women and plays Moxie’s young lead, Vivian Carter.
The film revolves around 16-year-old Carter and a group of her friends, including Lucy Hernandez (newcomer Alycia Pascual-Peña), who unite to crush their high school's racist, sexist status quo. Their preferred method of activism is a zine, published anonymously, and modeled after the example set by Carter’s fiercely feminist mother (played by Poehler). “To be a part of a film that celebrated [feminism] and amplified my voice as an artist and as a woman, hopefully now it gets to be in the hands of women who are young, and empowers them,” Pascual-Peña says.
Robinson also believes the film offers something valuable for younger generations. “The main theme is about finding your voice and finding what you believe in as a young person. Especially as a young girl,” she says. “I hope that when people watch the film, they leave hopeful because that’s how I felt leaving set each day,” Pascual-Peña adds.
Robinson and Pascual-Peña first met on Moxie, and Pascual-Peña says they connected as if they’d known each other from another life. Adding to the lovefest was Poehler, their A-list costar-slash-director, who both actresses say was an equally strong mother figure onscreen and off. “She’s a great role model for us all, we’re all really lucky that we had her to look up to. A true leader,” Robinson says. “There was a lot of love on set, and it started from her.” Pascual-Peña adds: “There was professionalism on set, but also this duality of some of the best outbursts of dancing and singing I’ve ever had in my life.”
Beyond new friendship and dancing outbursts, Pascual-Peña says the film's riot grrrl leanings (one memorable moment features a triumphant performance of Bikini Kill's "Rebel Girl") reminded her of the power in naming problems and addressing them head-on. “It just empowered me as a young woman and artist to continue to do that throughout my life,” she says. “I was so inspired by these phenomenal women be so talented and be so adamant about wanting to change the world around them in the industry that we’re in. I was completely empowered and inspired.”