LOS ANGELES – The stars of Dreamworks’ “Old School” (Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn) look hung over as they face the eager press. And they should, considering the new movie they have come to pitch is a college comedy with a demographic ranging between 18 and 30 years of age – ideal ages for heavy partying.
The film has Mitch Wilson) going through a miserable break-up, Frank’s (Ferrell) entrapment in a miserable wedding and Beanie (Vaughn) looking for something to distract him from his own marriage.
That distractive something – is a fraternity. Under Beanie’s leadership the three men endeavor to launch a fraternity, beginning with “Mitchapalooza,” a king-sized party devoted to Mitch’s freedom from marriage – the success of this party is the impetus for the formation of the fraternity.
But the film isn’t strictly grounded in the humor of its predecessors (films like “Animal House”). In fact, the cast recognizes director Todd Phillips desire to insert drama into what is otherwise – simply a comedy.
“I definitely think that’s what this movie brings (that’s) a little different than what you think you’re going to see,” Ferrell said. “It’s kind of what attracted the three of us to the material in the first place. There was a little more behind the characters than just going from one funny scene to the other.”
Luke Wilson breathes the same life into his reality as he does in the film. Like his character, Mitch, Wilson appears fatigued and worn out. His answers slip and slide out of his mouth, through the remains of a drawl acquired while growing up in Texas. “I liked the fact that Mitch is just a low-level office guy,” Wilson said. “That just seems like a tough thing to do, (to) just work in the middle of a company for your entire life.”
Will Ferrell’s Frank the Tank is a reformed, and now repressed, party animal. His candor is what one expects coming from a sketch show like “Saturday Night Live.” While Ferrell bares all in “Old School,” his fellow cast members didn’t seem up for the task of streaking. Vaughn quipped, “There’s not enough booze in this hotel,” when asked what it would take to get him to streak.
Wilson pointed out Ferrell’s use of an acting coach “from Kentucky, Jim Beam” in order to prepare for the scene.
With the over-the-top antics including aqua-lube wrestling, streaking and tying cement cinderblocks to pledges’ testicles and subsequently launching the blocks off a rooftop, one would expect that the set’s atmosphere would get sticky-icky-icky. The stars of “Old School” pointed at quite the opposite.
“We kept having this phrase like, ‘Let’s shoot this movie ’70s style. Come on, it’s us three, let’s have fun,'” Wilson said. “We got caught up in how well-behaved we were all the time. Really we were, and we never did manage to go ’70s style but that was our mantra throughout the whole movie. ‘Let’s get ’70s style.’ But we never really did do it.”
Which isn’t to say that the set was lifeless, “We had a lot of fun and were always joking around with each other,” said Vince Vaughn. “We call ourselves ‘The Wolfpack’ because we always turn on each other and make fun of each other. It was never safe who was getting picked on because five minutes later we would turn on someone else.”
“Will called one of my movies ‘Legally Bland,'” chirped Wilson. Neither actor disclosed which film Ferrell cracked-wise at.