Diablo Cody talks bringing "Sweet Valley High" to theaters

Diablo Cody arrives for the 17th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards at the Hollywood Palladium in Hollywood, Calif., on Jan. 12, 2012. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Could the humor of "Juno" work in the fictional town of Sweet Valley? Diablo Cody seems to think so.

During the opening night of the Athena Film Festival at New York's Barnard College on Thursday, the 34-year-old screenwriter and director spoke to CBSNews.com about some of the reasons why she wants to bring the popular teen book series to the big screen.

"On one hand, ['Sweet Valley High'] is a guilty pleasure," Cody said, "And on the other hand, it's a really interesting, psychological, study of women and how we tend to compartmentalize ourselves as fun, boring, good, or bad."

Often seen as the precursor to works like "Gossip Girl," the "Sweet Valley High" series (created by author Francine Pascal) captured a generation of young (mostly female) readers with the high school shenanigans of protagonists Elizabeth (the good twin) and Jessica (the bad twin) Wakefield. A TV series loosely based on the books ran from 1994-1998.

Cody, who won an Oscar for her screenplay for 2007's "Juno," says production is expected to begin on the "Sweet Valley High" film adaptation as soon as a director is in place.

Cody has already finished work on her directorial debut: An as-yet untitled film starring Julianne Hough, Octavia Spencer and Russell Brand. Cody also co-wrote the screenplay for the upcoming "Evil Dead" remake, which comes out April 5.

And even though none of her own projects were being shown, Cody says events like the Athena Film Festival, which showcases female filmmakers, remain important.

"I think, based on the data coming out of Hollywood, it's pretty obvious that female filmmakers are pretty underrepresented in that space," Cody said on the red carpet. "So to me, [the Athena Film Festival] is inspiring, it's educating. I'm a big fan of this Festival, obviously."

The Athena Film Festival will run until Feb. 10.

Tell us: Are you looking forward to Cody's big-screen adaptation of "Sweet Valley High"?

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    Ken Lombardi is an entertainment reporter for CBS News. He has interviewed over 300 celebrities, including Clint Eastwood, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks.

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