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 Thomas Ian Nicholas and Tara Reid talked about how easy it was to reunite with the American Pie ensemble for a fourth film, feeling like this time they really pick back up from the original and stay true to the characters, how they had wondered where there characters might be now, and how they’ve grown and changed as people, in their own lives. Check out what they had to say after the jump:
TARA REID: Once I knew everyone was back, it was an easy yes. There’s magic in this cast. When you put all of us together, there’s this great chemistry that comes out, and it’s just so much fun.
THOMAS IAN NICHOLAS: When I first heard the rumblings of it, even four years ago, that there was this idea that we might do a reunion, I was excited and I thought it would be fun. I just thought it would be very difficult to bring everyone’s schedules together, and I was curious if everyone would want to reprise their roles. I was surprised to find out that everyone had a special place in their heart for their character and this franchise, as I did.
Was there any fear about playing the same characters that you started playing 13 years ago?
REID: No. I’ve always liked Vicky and I’ve grown up with her. I started 13 years ago with Vicky, and she’s been in my heart ever since. So, it was a lot of fun, going back and playing her again.
NICHOLAS: The only concern that I had was just doing the character justice and doing the film, as a whole, justice and staying true to that. Obviously, through the course of the films, we’ve noticed the growth of Stifler’s character, for instance, and how much more he’s in the film, as compared to the first one. But, it’s also very important to maintain Kevin as the straight man in the comedy group and not give into the humor. He’s still that sounding board, so that Stifler can still have those funny jokes and make fun of my beard.
Was it difficult to find these characters again, or had you always thought about them and wondered where they might be now?
REID: Before I got the script, I was wondering, “Oh, god, how is she going to come back?” We didn’t know who was going to be married and who was not going to be married, and who was going to have kids. I had no clue how they were going to bring her back, and I think (writer/directors) Jon [Hurwitz] and Hayden [Schlossberg] did an amazing job because I really feel that Vicky has gone from a little girl to a woman. You’ve really watched her progress. I feel like this movie really picks back up from the original and stays true to the characters.
NICHOLAS: For me, as an actor, the most challenging thing is creating the character in the beginning because you have to write their backstory. The easy part about doing a sequel is that you’ve done the film, so you already know their backstory. With so much history behind us, all the homework was done for me and I got to just show up and find Kevin’s niche back in the group, which happened very naturally.
When you first got this script, did you wonder how they were going to be able to push the envelope this time?
NICHOLAS: The biggest set piece in the first film was obviously Jason and the pie. Lots of films since that time have pushed the envelope to new levels, so Jon and Hayden wrote the only thing that they possibly could when everything has been seen. They showed everything. In regard to that, the American Pie films have so much heart in them. With this one, you can really see how we were able to capture the heart of the first one. American Reunion is a great sequel to the first movie, in that regard. It’s not just a fourth film, but this amazing second film, more than 10 years later.
Had you been worried about the quality of the script, before you got it?
NICHOLAS: Oh, no doubt. When I learned that Adam Herz wasn’t writing the script, I had a lot of anticipation for what we would have and what we would create. I had actually spoken to Herz, and he’s friends with Jon and Hayden, and they respect the franchise so much and they’re big fans of it. Once I saw that they cared as much as I did about it, I knew that we were in good hands. When I saw the film, I thought they not only achieved it, but they over-achieved it. It was beyond even my expectations of what I read. You can make or break a movie in the editing process, and they actually improved on their own writing. You don’t find guys like that, who can write and direct, and then choose the right cuts. It’s pretty rare.
REID: I think that Jon and Hayden did a wonderful job. They really attached the first film to this one and it really wraps the characters up completely, with where they started and how they’ve grown. Not only did they get the comedy and the gross-out humor, but they captured the heart of the film.
NICHOLAS: We made American Reunion for the fans because they still like these movies. It’s a weird thing because the pressure is there, in a different way. Instead of being, “Okay, we’ve got to make a good one, so people will see it,” it’s like, “Wow, people are going to see this movie. We have to make it good because they’re going to pay their hard-earned money to go.” So, we all deliberated over every little thing, every single day, and made sure that we stayed true to and respectful of what we’ve been blessed to create.
NICHOLAS: Jon and Hayden knew about my band before we started, and they’d mentioned that they liked the music. But, I have tried to get songs on the soundtracks of all of the American Pie films, and this is the first time that it’s worked out. We had such a great time on the set. This was the first time we had shot on location. I’ve never done this before, but I ended up performing at the wrap party. I played an hour set, just acoustic. That was where Jon and Hayden came up to me afterwards and were like, “Wow, we knew your music was good, but we saw you live and you’re so amazing. We want to put a song of yours on the soundtrack.” At the time, I tried to pitch them a cover of “Laid,” since that’s the American Pie theme song. I just thought, “If I’ve tried to pitch a song for every movie and it hasn’t work, maybe if I pick a song that I know will be in the movie, that will work.” But, they ended up going with an original, which is really more of a kudos to my songwriting then a cover.
As your characters have grown up and developed different views, how has your view of this industry changed since you started the franchise?
REID: I think the industry, from the franchise on, has dramatically changed, not just with us, but with social networking. We didn’t have Facebook or Twitter back then. You didn’t have such immediate access as you do now. The social working has changed dramatically, especially in the way you promote films. It’s instant.
NICHOLAS: You flip channels now and it’s all reality TV, so that’s a huge change. Reality television has effected entertainment because now you have a lot more awkward characters. If you look at the American Pie movies, Jim (Jason Biggs) is the awkward character and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) is the aloof one, but now those are the lead roles that we see in everything. It’s nice that we’re able to bring back this wholesome sex comedy and that people are still interested in these characters, considering the shift in a lot of films.
How have you grown and changed as people, and what were you able to bring to the movie because of the person you are now?
REID: I think it’s evolution. A baby crawls and then it learns to walk and then it runs. We were all kids when we started these films. We were all living out our teenage years, and being crazy and wild. And then, you get older and new chapters of your life start and the problems are different. Now, it’s a whole different thing. Things just change, as you get older, and you have bigger problems.
NICHOLAS: During the filming of this movie, my wife was pregnant. Kevin wanted this weekend with his buddies from high school, and filming this was my long, three-month weekend, as an actor. My wife was pregnant and I was about to embark on a new phase of my life, of being a dad, so this was my last hurrah. And now, I have no sleep and I have a beautiful five-month-old son.