Interview: Jason Biggs On How American Reunion Led To A Not-Quite Strip Club
Jason Biggs know you will always remember him as the American Pie guy. He's been the American Pie guy for so long that he's gone from thinking he needed to get away from it, after the first movie became such a huge hit, back to embracing it in American Reunion, which reunites the entire original cast of the first film and brings them back for a slightly oddly timed 13 year reunion. When I spoke to Biggs a few weeks ago, I asked him about that slacker timing for a reunion, the stories swapped on set about their time making American Pie as kids, and of course, how his wife busted him for going to a strip club while on set in Atlanta. Well, it wasn't exactly a strip club. You'll see what he means.
American Reunion opens in theaters this weekend.
Was there an attempt to make this movie in time for the actual 10 year reunion?
Yeah. This idea has been kicked around by various people at various times over the last couple of years, and especially as the actual 10-year mark was approaching, there were people that were trying to put it together. Unfortunately it's tricky. There's a lot of pieces to this puzzle. One of the prerequisites was getting everybody back, so obviously that's an ambitious task. And there was just a lot of stuff. Finally the stars aligned, unfortunately it's just a little bit behind. So we have a little wink at that fact, there's a little mention to it in the film.
Is there a getting-the-band-back-together story about everyone coming in place for this?
For the most part, once John and Hayden came on board, and once they started sitting down with everybody and pitching them their idea for this reunion movie, people were really excited. Their idea was super solid. My favorite thing about this movie is it doesn't just bring every character back, but you feel like all of their appearances are earned. There are a couple of pop-ups that feel more like cameos, but even those feel real. They really wanted to take the tone and energy back to the way it felt for the first movie, and part of that involved giving all of the cast members their due. Once they started pitching this, and especially once everyone read a script, it was pretty easy to get everyone on board. Then it became a matter of logistics and timing and negotiations.
Did it take some convincing for you to come back to this, and believe that it would be anything other than you guys just slinking back to the project because you have nothing else to do. Does that question make sense?
No, believe me, 1000%. For us, this is a very personal thing.It defines me as an actor and in a lot of ways as a person. It's a huge part of all of our lives. And we worked really hard, and it's tough to do a sequel. We might have digressed a little bit with part 2 and 3, and that's why I really love this movie because I really feel like we've gotten back to the energy of the first film. It's tough to do a sequel. When the direct to DVDs started coming out, you start going, "Awww, really?" Looking at it now, they actually I think helped develop a new set of fans. There was basically a new movie every year, albeit on DVD, for a younger generation of kids. Now this American Pie will be the first time that these people will get to see it on a big screen. It might have even helped us for where we are right now.
In the time between the third one coming out and now, did you have to actively distance yourself from it? Did you need that distance to come back to it?
I felt that at first, before, maybe during the first run. When the first movie came out you think, "Do I need to consciously make a decision to do other things?" I have been able to do other things, but they're always going to be a challenge. Even if I didn't do any sequels at all, it will always be a challenge. Maybe it's just because I'm getting older and more philosophical about it and more grateful, I'm truly like, 'You know, I am a lucky son of a bitch." If I only do American Pie films for the rest of my life, I am a lucky dude. I love this character, I love this role, but of course I want to do other things. It will be challenging because of peoples' association with me with the franchise, it always has been. But fuck it, I'm up for the challenge.
When I Googled you, it didn't take long to pull up the TMZ story about you guys going to the Clermont Lounge in Atlanta. I've been to that place, and it's amazing.
You've been? So you understand it's not really a strip club. So here's the thing. I go to a strip club in Atlanta, like a real strip club, and I'm telling my wife about it, and she's like, "You know, while you're down there, do me a favor and don't go to any strip club." And I'm like, "You've got it babe. Absolutely fair request." Maybe a week or two later, we end up at the Clermont Lounge. And this is not a strip club-- you know!
Yeah, there was a live band when I was there.
This is not a strip club. We go, hang out, it's a total shit show this place, but a blast. We're drinking PBRs and shots out of Dixie cups. Next thing you know we're up onstage, people whip out their camera phones, and it's on TMZ that we're dancing on the bar at a stripe club. And I'm like, "Fuck me, my wife just said…" And I've got to call her and do damage control. I had to put out that fire real quick.
It kind of fits in with the narrative of the movie, you guys out there and getting in trouble again in real life just like in the movie.
Totally. And listen, it was a reunion for us. Eddie Kaye Thomas is one of my best friends, so I see him all the time. And Chris Klein I see occasionally. But the rest of the cast I don't see, so it really was a reunion for us. And we get along great when we're together, there's no beef. Even if we're not best friends off set, we're great. And this was the first of the four movies that we shot on location, so when you're on location, you have a tendency to hang out and do stuff. That coupled with the fact that it was a reunion with us, we got into a little trouble, it was fun.
This movie made me really nostalgic for high school, and even though you didn't have high school like most of us, did you get that nostalgia for your past?
It was trippy because I got nostalgic for my own high school experience, but I got nostalgia for my own American Pie experience. You're around these people you had this experience with when you were super young, and it's defined us in so many ways. It's defined me, it's defined my career, defined me as a person in so many ways. And I share it with only a handful of people, and it's this group of people. Especially because everyone was back on this one, we're sitting around telling stories from the first American Pie.
You guys feel like part of my high school experience, and I feel like I can't be the only one who remembers the movie that well. Do you get that a lot from people?
Not only do I get that a lot, but I get that everywhere. We'll be in X country and people will say, "I'm the Sitfler in my group, or I relate." I meet these adults who are like "That was my movie growing up," and you're like, "The fuck? How old am I??"
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