Shonda Rhimes Opens Up About Writing 'Crossroads' and Working with Britney Spears

Man, guys, remember Crossroads?!

Hair, Nose, Mouth, Mammal, Facial expression, Fashion accessory, Vehicle door, Car seat, Automotive window part, Windshield,
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In a new interview with Broadly, Hollywood power women Shonda Rhimes, Ann Carli, and Tamra Davis open up about their experience working on Crossroads—yes, *that* Crossroads—and with the post-Mickey Mouse Club, pre-umbrella Britney Spears. In a weird nexus between flop and blockbuster—Crossroads made $61 million—the film seems to be a soft spot for many.

"It wasn't snarky. There's no snarkiness whatsoever. We weren't ashamed to be corny," Carli explains. "'Corny' would maybe have been someone else's judgment of it, but we weren't afraid to be heartfelt. We didn't need to be smarter than anybody else. Young women, they're surrounded by judgment and snarkiness, so it was important for us to show the ups and downs of real relationships."

For Rhimes, who penned the script and who has been lauded as a champion for diverse casts and writers, the number-one idea was that it felt real and authentic. "It wasn't that it was important to show people from diverse backgrounds—it just felt like the movie should look normal. Most movies didn't look normal, they all looked very oddly homogenous in a way that didn't feel realistic to me," she says. 

I don't think anyone at the time was looking at her—because it's such a misogynistic society—as a person.

As for writing for Spears? Rhimes wanted that to feel real, too. "I was much more interested in the young woman that I met than the image that people had of her. She was a person, and I don't think anyone at the time was looking at her—because it's such a misogynistic society—as a person," Rhimes recalls. "The idea that we could portray her as a three-dimensional young woman was interesting to me. To have mean-girled her and turned her into a caricature would have been a mistake."

While there are no current plans for a sequel (sorry, Brit Brit), the women behind the film are proud of their project and wouldn't mind doing another one. 

"We've actually talked a little bit, in a weird way, about a sequel. There's a lot of people [involved], and they're really busy," Carli explains. "Who knows? I think it would be a lot of fun, but everybody's in different places, from Taryn to Zoe to Britney to Shonda."

Read the rest of the film's fascinating history over at Broadly.

Follow Marie Claire on Instagram for the latest celeb news, pretty pics, funny stuff, and an insider POV.

Samantha Leal
Senior Editor

Samantha Leal is the Deputy Editor at Well+Good, where she spends most of her day thinking of new ideas across platforms, bringing on new writers, overseeing the day-to-day of the website, and working with the awesome team to produce the best stories and packages. Before W+G, she was the Senior Web Editor for Marie Claire and the Deputy Editor for, with bylines all over the internet. Graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University with a minor in African history, she’s written everything from travel guides to political op-eds to wine explainers (currently enrolled in the WSET program) to celebrity profiles. Find her online pretty much everywhere @samanthajoleal.