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 Seann William Scott and Eddie Kaye Thomas talked about how easy it was to slip back into their characters, how exhausting Stifler can be to both play and be around, what they were able to bring to their roles from their own life experiences, what they think today’s high schoolers will think of this film, and whether they’d be up to doing more. Check out what they had to say after the jump:
EDDIE KAYE THOMAS: Yeah. The thing about this whole movie is that, once we were all back together and seeing everyone, it didn’t take long.
SEANN WILLIAM SCOTT: I had thought about Stifler because I was lucky to be a part of the process, early on, in putting this thing together. It wasn’t like I had just gotten the script, a couple months before. I was excited to play the character and I thought about what I wanted him to be. But then, actually doing it the first day, I didn’t know what I was doing. I was tripping over myself a little bit. After a day, we were all back, having fun.
Seann, do you find Stifler exhausting to play, and Eddie, do you find him exhausting to act opposite?
SCOTT: Yeah. The first couple days were exhausting because I over-thought it. In the third one, I was almost like a cartoon character, which I thought was fun, but I was like, “I don’t know how to do that. I’m 35 now. It would be really annoying to see him like that again, at this age.” But then, after a day and everyone pointing out that I was drinking a lot of coffee to try to sustain that energy, I was like, “Okay, maybe I’ve gotta chill on this. Everybody changes, so he doesn’t have to be as high energy.” And then, it became really fun.
THOMAS: I’m lucky that Seann burns so many calories playing his role ‘cause it’s very relaxing and easy playing Finch. I get to be quiet and subdued. They call it cool and sophisticated, but I think it’s just me being lazy.
Now that you’ve grown and changed and had your own new experiences, what were you able to bring to this that you wouldn’t have, if they’d done a fourth film right after the third?
THOMAS: What was nice about this one was that it didn’t seem like we were making a fourth one, as much as an homage to the first one. We understood that the first one touched on this great period in everyone’s life, when you’re going through that period in high school where you’re terrified that you’re not cool enough and you haven’t become what you hoped you would. You’re like, “Oh, my god, I’m going to graduate high school a virgin and nothing could be worse than that.” This movie touches on the fact that, “Oh, my god, I’m 30 years old and I’m nothing like what I thought I would be.” I think it takes getting older to recapture that awkward, terrifying period. That’s why this movie is more of an homage to the first then a fourth in a series.
SCOTT: Stifler hasn’t grown up a whole lot, which is the key to it, for me. But, my sense of humor and things that I find funny have changed. I’m sure all of us, as we get a little bit older, we get a little bit more self-awareness and more experience with things, so I could bring that to it. He’s not so one-dimensional. He’s just a little bit weirder. The character or what I would have done, would probably have been different, had we filmed it five or six years ago.
Seann, what did you think about where Stifler is in this film, in comparison to where you had thought he might be, before reading the script?
SCOTT: I think the character is effective when he’s used just the right amount. I wanted him to be the guy that puts his friends in these situations that they have to get out of. I didn’t want him to have too much of a story arc because he’s not really the kind of guy where I really want to know why he is who he is. He shouldn’t grow up too much because then he’d be boring. I don’t want to watch that guy. He’s fun when he’s an idiot. That’s where he works the best. Although, the story arc that he has in the movie is effective. It actually makes it a little more interesting. The whole storyline with the job was (writer/directors) Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg’s idea. I was like, “A job? He doesn’t really need the money. His mom is rich.” But they were like, “Well, he probably has a job just because everybody else has a job. He just thought, ‘Well, maybe this is what I should be doing. I’ll just get one of these job things.’” He is that voice for a lot of guys for whom high school was awesome, but he doesn’t quite know what to do now, with his friends getting married, having kids and having jobs. That works and makes him a little bit more human.
Do you ever wish Stifler had stayed more of a background character?
SCOTT: Well, it’s more fun, having a chance to do more things. I think he works well, in this film. I’ve seen the film three times and, as much as I like how the Stifler stuff came off, I love everybody in the movie. There’s so many jokes. I’m thinking that he wasn’t over-used because I didn’t feel like it was detrimental to the project. I came away and was like, “Wow, the movie has got a lot of romance, it’s got a lot of heart to it, and there’s a lot of nostalgia.” I think it worked all right.
Why do you think audiences love Stifler so much?
SCOTT: I don’t know why people like the character so much, at least in the first two films. Maybe it’s because he gets to say the things that we want to say, but if we do say them, we get into trouble.
Most franchises run out of steam before a fourth film, but this one seems to really be going strong. Would you be up for more movies?
THOMAS: I don’t think that’s up to us to decide. We just keep on doing what we do. Since 1998, when we made the first one, it’s always been about just trying to make each other laugh and make the crew laugh. If America and the rest of the world responds, that’s great. If not, I guess it’s time to hang up our Finch and Stifler hats.
SCOTT: I like this movie so much, and I hope we have that situation where this movie is well-received and people dig it as much as we like it. And then, who knows? I’m at a point now, as much as there are all sorts of roles I want to do, having this much fun with these guys means more to me now, as an actor, and more than anything. I’d be happy to do this, as long as it lasts, because I have so much fun. I’ve been stressed about, “I don’t want to be known as this character forever,” but now I don’t give a shit. The character is fucking fun! I love these guys! I’m never going to win an Academy Award anyways, so I might as well go have fun with my friends. Well, you know, Melissa McCarthy did shit in a sink and I shit in a cooler, so you never know, man. I could fucking win an award with this thing! That’s why I did this movie. I was hoping to win an Academy Award ‘cause they shunned me in Dukes of Hazzard, they shunned me in Dude, Where’s My Car? and they shunned me in Bulletproof Monk.
THOMAS: I think some of the stuff Seann does in these movies is a lot more difficult then a lot of stuff that a lot of dramatic actors do. It’s hard to get laughs. It’s not an easy thing to do, and he’s consistent.
THOMAS: I feel so out of touch. Are there really movies for high schoolers coming out right now? We’re way cooler than High School Musical. We’ve got more boobies than Project X. I think high schoolers still like breasts, so I think we’ll be all right. When the first film came out, I think a lot of middle-aged people liked it, as well as high schoolers. There’s a universality to these stories, and that’s what makes it work. I don’t know. I don’t know what makes movies work and what doesn’t. But, we were honest and tried to make each other laugh, so if 14-year-olds laugh, that’s nice, as long as they’re accompanied by a parent or guardian who also buys a ticket.
In 13 years, who has changed the most in the cast?
THOMAS: What was crazy was getting on set and showing up like you would for a reunion, and being like, “I’m going to show them how cool I am and how much I’ve grown,” but then you’re like, “I’m still an idiot!” I felt like everyone was themselves. People stayed pretty consistent. Seann’s beard is getting a little grey, though. That’s wild!
SCOTT: I’m getting a lot of grey! The amazing thing was that at the table read when we all got together and read the script for the first time, I hadn’t seen a lot of people for 10 years, and I could tell that everybody was in such a good place. All the characteristics that we loved in each other were all there, but more grown up. It made the experience even more fun because there was just more substance to the conversations we were having. Although, a lot of times, [Jason] Biggs would be hitting us in the balls or doing “the self-hating masturbator.” It’s a good SNL skit.