By Kavi Shekhar Pandey, Daily Arts Writer
Published April 6, 2012
“Hey, do you want to have sex with us right now?” Jason Biggs asked. “I know we just met, brother, but there’s a fucking lock on that door, right?”
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Since it would be a blatant breach of journalistic ethics, this writer for The Michigan Daily respectfully declined, politely pointing out that the windows in the group-study rooms at Ross are in fact, two-way, before proceeding with an interview with the cast and crew of “American Reunion”: writers/directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (“Harold and Kumar” films), star Eddie Kaye Thomas (Finch), and the apple pie paramour himself, Jason Biggs (Jim).
It’s been a long 13 years since the first “American Pie” launched a new generation of teen-sex comedies and nine years since the last non-direct-to-video sequel, “American Wedding.” But the original cast wasn’t always keen about reuniting for yet another installment.
“No one thought after (“American Wedding”) that there was going to be one, and the idea, on the surface, wasn’t that appealing,” Thomas said. “(Hurwitz and Schlossberg) wrote a quality script, and I know that’s what got everybody on board. It’s hard to find good movies, period, to make. Whether it was ‘American Pie 4’ or a whole other film, it’s just a good, funny script, which got everybody to say ‘Alright, I’ll do it.’ ”
Because of storytelling and scheduling issues, members of the core cast were dropped for 2003’s “American Wedding,” including Chris Klein (Oz), Tara Reid (Vicky) and Mena Suvari (Heather). But Hurwitz and Schlossberg were insistent that they and everyone else were game before “Reunion” moved forward — this meant everyone, including Jim’s foreign exchange crush Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth), the MILF Guys and The Sherminator.
“You wanted to bring back all the favorites from that first film,” Schlossberg said. “The hope was that once you started getting some of the cast, the rest of the cast would jump on board.”
Hurwitz added: “If these guys hadn’t signed on board, Tara Reid would have played every character. It would have been Eddie Murphy style.”
As newcomers to the “American Pie” franchise, Hurwitz and Schlossberg were brought on for their dual-threat capability — not only did the duo create, write and direct the entirety of the legendarily raunchy “Harold and Kumar” trilogy, they are devotees of the “American Pie” films.
“These guys know these movies better than any other human being walking on the planet — to a scary degree,” Thomas said.
Biggs related an anecdote from their flight to Detroit that explicated the breadth of the pair’s fandom.
“I looked over, (Schlossberg) puts his earphones into his iPhone,” Biggs recounted. “I’m like ‘What’re you watching?’ because I’m nosy as shit. And it’s ‘American Pie 1.’ He was like ‘I just wanted to double check the Uncle Mort reference in ‘American Pie 1’ and see what scene it was in.’ ”
“When you’re doing a sequel, you want to make sure …” Schlossberg began.
“Yeah, especially six, seven, eight months later, after the movie’s already been locked into the can, you want to be able to reference it on the flight,” Biggs interrupted.
“I was sitting next to Jason Biggs, I wanted to impress him,” Schlossberg said.
But when it came to writing the story, the duo knew they had to inject fresh material among the recurring jokes and callbacks to the previous films.
“When we were first approached with the idea of doing the movie, Jon and I started thinking about different ideas, and the first idea that came into our heads was that Jim’s mom is dead,” Schlossberg said.
“You sick fucks. You sick, sick, fucks,” Biggs exclaimed.
“The truth of the matter is, when you have someone like Eugene Levy (Jim’s Dad) and you see that he’s been put in the position where he’s been doing the same thing every movie,” Hurwitz said. “We were looking to give Eugene (more to do).”
“It’s kind of a genius idea — to introduce death into the ‘American Pie’ franchise is conceptually ridiculous,” Biggs said. “But it’s so smart and so good, it’s one of my favorite things about the movie because, first of all it adds some poignancy, which there is a lot of in this movie, despite what you may have gathered from the present company.”
Though pathos is pumped up, so are the sex-crazed shenanigans that would make even Tracy Morgan blush. While Jim romancing a pie was boundary-pushing in 1999, Jim running around in a gimp suit for an extended sequence is one of the tamer scenes in 2012.
“When we were on set, you shoot those long days and like, on hour 15, I’d have a long conversation with Biggs,” Thomas narrated. “I’m like ‘Yeah, I think the country is headed in the right direction, how do you feel about Obama’ and he’s got leather studs on his cock.”
Now with kids and careers, the hormonal teens from “American Pie” have certainly evolved and matured — thankfully, the humor hasn’t one bit.