In the raunchy comedy American Reunion, East Great Falls High’s Class of 1999 is back, more than a decade later. Husband and wife duo Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) have come home to reminisce with Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Vicky (Tara Reid), Oz (Chris Klein), Heather (Mena Suvari), Finch (Eddie Kay Thomas) and Stifler (Seann William Scott), who out of all of them remains the same as he ever was, while Jim’s dad (Eugene Levy) gets to know Stifler’s mom (Jennifer Coolidge) a little better. In one long-overdue weekend, they will learn that time and distance cannot break the bonds of friendship.
At the film’s press day, co-stars Chris Klein and Mena Suvari talked about playing the most grounded couple in the American Pie franchise, how much they’ve both changed since they started this series of films, 13 years ago, what it was like to recreate the poster from the original, and how they had envisioned their characters, so many years later. Suvari also talked about what attracted her to her role on the first season of American Horror Story, while Klein talked about how he came to be a part of the comedy series Wilfred and how excited he is to be returning for Season 2. Check out what they had to say after the jump:
Question: The relationship for your characters is the most grounded of the whole franchise. Were you guys rooting for them to get back together?
MENA SUVARI: Yeah. When I read the first draft, I was honestly really impressed. I thought it was absolutely hilarious, and it’s turned out to be my favorite of the whole series. I liked how it didn’t just go into the reunion with the obvious, that Heather and Oz would be together. I liked that twist. I also really enjoyed how they gave Heather this moment of really breaking out of her shell and sticking up for herself and showing this different side to her. That was really refreshing. Of course, I think it’s only natural for Oz and Heather to come back together again.
CHRIS KLEIN: It’s a beautiful thing.
SUVARI: How could I let him go, with those dance moves?
KLEIN: I worked hard on that! I think that it’s beautiful that they do, indeed, rekindle this flame that was their first love, and the innocence of that. They’ve gone through some life and come back in a reunion, and that innocence and first love still exists and is being rekindled. That’s a cool thing to explore. If we’re going to explore those themes in American Pie, Oz and Heather are the character to do it. I was excited to play that.
Your characters are in completely different places, 13 years after when the series started. How much have you both changed since then?
SUVARI: We watched a clip from a photo shoot that we had done for Rolling Stone, so long ago, and it’s strange because, for me, when I heard about this idea and then went to Universal for our table read for American Reunion, even if we haven’t seen each other over the years, in five or 10 minutes, everybody is right back on the same page and it’s like no time has passed, but then it has and it’s been so many years. At the end of American Reunion, there’s a lot of photos from the first and second American Pie films in there. When you do look at those, it becomes a reality that it has been that long, but there’s so much of this essence that it hasn’t been. It feels like no time has passed at all. We have so much chemistry with one another that it’s so natural. It’s the same vibe.
KLEIN: The universe has been incredibly kind to this franchise, in that, organically, the premise of the very first movie lends itself to all of us moving forward and growing up. The universal themes that the first American Pie deals with – sex and relationships, and all of those things – are wonderful. What American Pie also does, in such a unique way with our brand, is that we laugh at that. Man, we get ourselves into some hectic situations, but it’s okay, it happens. Ten years ago, we saw Jim Levenstein turn around, and he had a pie in his crotch. Ten years later, we see him turn around, and we see his dick. Things are only getting worse, or better, depending on your perspective.
What was it like to shoot this poster in the exact same configuration as the poster for the first American Pie film?
KLEIN: At first, I didn’t get it! I was like, “Wait a minute! What’s going on? This feels strangely familiar.” I think I missed the note that we were creating the very first poster again. I was like, “This seems vaguely familiar. Maybe we’ve done this before. Shouldn’t we have an original idea?” And they were like, “No, the idea is to recreate the first poster.” I was like, “Oh, well, we’re doing a great job!”
SUVARI: It really was surreal. There was just so much magic around this film coming together that I was just really staying in this feeling of excitement and gratitude, the whole time.
KLEIN: We have such a beautiful time, making these movies. The chemistry that you see, as audience members, in these movies is palpable and you can’t create that. That is something that either exists in films or doesn’t. You’ve watched enough movies where the chemistry isn’t there, but in these, it is. We believe in these characters and we can follow these characters. To be a part of something like that, for 13 years now, and to revisit that, it’s a really, really cool thing. We’re having a lot of fun.
Chris, did you have to train for the dancing you had to do in the film?
KLEIN: Oz is such an idealist, isn’t he? He says, “If we all danced more, there would be no wars.” I read that in the script and I thought, “What a hysterical and ridiculously amazing thing to say.” The funny thing is, in the moment of the dance off, he believes it. That’s his truth. He’s so wonderfully naive. Heather sees his idealism, too. In terms of the physicality, for this franchise, that’s what I have to offer, as an actor. My acting style and my physicality lends itself to doing things like putting a scene together for a dancing competition. When Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg pitched that to me, I said, “Listen, if we’re going to do it, then let’s go as big as we possibly can because, 13 years later, we’d better push it.” With the first film, everyone gave us credit for pushing the envelope of teen comedy. Well, that created a monster because now all of us are like, “We’ve gotta push the envelope!,” staying within the brand.
Where had you envisioned your characters would be, this many years later, compared to what was in the script?
SUVARI: I honestly could see where Heather is at, and I do agree with it. I think that Heather was aware and appreciative of the opportunities that Oz was getting, for himself and for his career, and if you really love someone, you support them, no matter what. You love them unconditionally and you want them to live up to their highest potential. I think they agreed to separate. For Heather, she wanted to focus on her career. A lot of things look good on paper for her. She’s dating this really successful doctor, but she’s just been unlucky in love. They come together for the reunion and she sees Oz, and for her, it’s about fighting a little bit harder for what she really wanted. I actually did really agree with what Jon and Hayden had created for Heather.
KLEIN: I had zero preconceived notions, or any smart, savvy ideas, at all. But, when I sat with Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, for the first time, when they were constructing the production draft of the script, they said, “Listen, we think that Oz is in sports broadcasting,” and I said, “Great! I don’t have a pitch better then that idea.” And then, they said, “And we think he might do something like a dance competition,” and I said, “Great! I don’t have a pitch better then that.” And they said, “And he sees Heather at the reunion, and he still loves her,” and I said, “Great! I get to work with Mena Suvari again.” For me, just personally, as an actor and as a fan of this franchise, I love what the Oz/Heather story represents. Professionally, I love playing it out and feel especially fortunate to play it out with such a talented actress. I love Mena to death, and to share scenes with her is an incredible experience.
You’ve both recently done some great work in television, on really smart, original shows. Mena, what attracted you to American Horror Story, and Chris, what was the experience of doing Wilfred like?
SUVARI: I feel like, in the past few years, TV has changed so much. Whatever line or division there is between film and TV has really been blurred, and there is so much great material and so many great people working in television right now. I love playing characters, and I was obsessed with that show, before it even aired. For me, it’s never really been about the medium. It’s just really about the story and the character. So, to find something like that, in any area, it’s just wonderful to explore.
KLEIN: I’ve been a huge fan of the cable network FX for a very, very long time. I think their brand of comedy is incredible. For me, as an audience member, that’s a go-to channel. In exploring television opportunities, I was really excited to see what was going on at FX. My favorite shows are on it, I love how they run their network, and I love everything about it. I found Wilfred, and Wilfred found me. Jason Gann and I found each other, and we were actually talking about me maybe coming in for the part that’s played wonderfully by Elijah Wood. And then, I thought, “No, I wanna play the beer truck driver from Wisconsin. That seems to make more sense.” So, we went for it. I’m having fun with that. I feel lucky to be invited back for another couple episodes in Season 2 because that’s a fun character to play.
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