In the hilarious sequel, “American Reunion,” all the original “American Pie” gang from the Class of 1999 return to East Great Falls for their high-school reunion and to reminisce about the hormone-fueled recklessness of their adolescence. These lifelong friends will discover in one long-overdue weekend what has changed, who hasn’t, and why time and distance can’t break the bonds of friendship. Seann William Scott reprises his role as the culture-defining Stifler and also earns his stripes as an executive producer on the film. Eddie Kaye Thomas, who has worked on all three Harold & Kumar films, is also back as the lovelorn Finch whose dark and mysterious past finally catches up with him.
MoviesOnline sat down with Scott and Thomas to talk about their vulgar and heartwarming new comedy and what it was like reuniting with the original cast for the fourth entry in the American Pie franchise. They told us how it felt to return to their characters, what they think it is about Stifler and Finch that continues to appeal to audiences, and why they might consider doing another sequel or two before hanging up their characters’ hats. They also discussed the inspiration behind the self-hating masturbator and why shitting in a cooler might just be worthy of an Academy Award.
Q: Are Stifler and Finch easy characters to slip back into?
SWS: Oh, I’m sorry. I was thinking something else because you just like set us up to sound like I could slip right in…
EKT: Yeah, that was some set-up. The thing about this whole movie, just once we were all back together and seeing everyone, it didn’t take long for us, it was like “Oh right, I do this, and then Biggs does something ridiculous and embarrassing, and then Seann hits me in the balls, and then we make a bunch of money at the box office.
SWS: I don’t think I ever hit you in the balls. Not really.
EKT: That’s not true.
SWS: There’s still time.
EKT: There’s still time.
SWS: I would say the first day I thought about Stifler because I was lucky to be a part of the process early on putting this thing together. It wasn’t like I just got the script a couple of month before or I was doing something else. I mean, I was excited to play the character and I thought about what I wanted to be. But then, actually doing it the first day, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I was tripping over myself a little bit. Then, like you said, after a day, all of a sudden we were all back having fun.
Q: Seann, do you find Stifler exhausting to play, and Eddie, do you find Seann exhausting to act opposite?
SWS: Yes, definitely at times, well the first couple of days because I over thought it. I was like would he be as high energy, and by the third day I was like a cartoon character almost which I thought was fun. It’s just that I don’t know how to do that. I’m 35 now. That’d be really annoying to see him like that again at this age. He kind of got away with it the one before. But then, after a day, after you guys pointed out that I was drinking a lot of coffee to try to sustain that energy, I thought okay, maybe I gotta chill on this. Everybody changes so he doesn’t have to be as high energy. And then, it became really fun.
EKT: I’m lucky that Seann burned so many calories playing his role, because it’s very relaxing and easy playing Finch, and I get to be quiet and subdued, and they call it cool and sophisticated but I think it’s just me being lazy.
Q: After not having played these characters for such a long time during which you’ve grown, changed and had new experiences, what were you able to bring to this that you would not have had you made a fourth film right after the third?
EKT: I think what was nice about this one was it didn’t seem like we were making a fourth one as much as an homage to the first one, and we understood that the first one touched on this great period in our lives, in everyone’s life, where 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. It’s 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 am nothing like I hoped 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 than a fourth in a series.
EKT: Stifler hasn’t really grown up a whole lot which was kind of key to it for me. But I think my sense of humor and the things that I find funny changed. Just as I’m sure all of us, as we get a little bit older, gain a little bit more self awareness and just more experience with things. So I think bringing that to it so he’s not maybe so one dimensional. He’s just a little bit weirder. Then maybe it would have been different. It definitely probably would have been a different character or what I would have done had we filmed it five or six years ago.
Q: Seann, was there something that you expected your character to do differently in the new movie or did you think he should be in the same place as he was in the earlier movies?
SWS: I think the character is effective when he’s used just the right amount. So that was one of the things. I wanted him to be the guy who just 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 I don’t think he’s the kind of guy I really want to know why he is who he is. He shouldn’t grow up too much. That would make him boring. I don’t want to watch that guy. I just want him when he’s an idiot.
Q: So you wanted him to stay a loose cannon? Is that the fun part of it?
SWS: Oh yeah, I think so. I just think that’s where he works the best and I didn’t want him to have too much of a story arc, although what he has in the movie, I think, is effective. It actually makes it a little more interesting. It was Jon and Hayden’s idea, the whole storyline with the job. Because I was like “What job? He doesn’t really need the money. His mom’s rich.” And they’re like “Well he probably has a job just because everybody else has a job. So he’s just thinking well maybe this is what I should be doing. I’ll just get one of these job things.” But then, I think he is that voice for a lot of guys who are going “High school was awesome.” He’s got that line. When everybody else is doing all these things, having kids and marriage and jobs, he doesn’t quite know what to do which works and then makes him a little bit more human.
Q: Do you ever wish that Stifler had stayed more of a background character even though it’s been such a great opportunity for you as an actor?
SWS: Well it’s more fun having a chance to do more things. But I think he works well in this one. I have to watch it again. Truthfully, I’ve seen it three times, and as much as I like how the Stifler stuff came off, I love everybody in the movie. I was like wow, there’s this relationship, everything he does, there’s so many jokes. So, I’m thinking that he wasn’t overused because I didn’t feel like it was detrimental to the project. I came out and I was like wow, the movie’s got a lot of romance. It’s got a lot of heart to it and a lot of nostalgia. I think it’s worked alright.
Q: Do you think Stifler’s character works because he’s in the middle of all these guys that are trying to get their act together and he’s the only one who’s still acting crazy and doesn’t want to grow up? Is that why audiences like him?
SWS: I think a little bit of all of that. It’s also the characters and how they react to him. They accept him for who he is so he can get away with these crazy things and you forgive him for it. I think because he’s the instigator of a lot of the shit. He’s also just a nut so he gets the chance to do a lot of weird things in these movies. The other part is I actually don’t know why people like the character so much, at least in the first two. Maybe it’s because he gets to say the things you want to say, but if we do say it, we’d get in trouble.
Q: Most franchises run out of steam fairly early on, but this one seems to be going strong. Are you guys up for another two or three?
EKT: I don’t think it’s up to us to decide. We just keep on doing what we do. I think since ’98, when we made the first one, it’s always been about just trying to make each other laugh and trying to make the crew laugh, and if America and the rest of the world respond, that’s great. If not, I guess it’s time to hang up our Finch and Stifler hats.
SWS: 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, in terms of the sort of roles that I want to do, having this much fun with these guys means more to me now as an actor, more than anything. I’d be happy to do this as long as it lasts because I have so much fun. I’m not going to be stressed about well I don’t know, I’ve been doing this character for so long. I don’t give a shit. The character is fucking fun and I love these guys. I had more fun doing this movie. I’m never going to win an Academy Award anyway. I might as well go and have fun with my friends.
Q: You can’t say that.
SWS: Well Melissa McCarthy did shit in a sink and I shit in a cooler. So you never know. I can fucking win an award in this thing. It’s why I did this movie. I was hoping to win an Academy Award because they shunned me on “The Dukes of Hazzard,” dude. They shunned me on Dukes, they shunned me on “Dude, Where’s My Car?” and they shunned me on “Bulletproof Monk.”
EKT: I think some of the stuff Sean does in these movies is a lot more difficult than a lot of the stuff a lot of dramatic actors do. It’s hard to get laughs. It’s not an easy thing to do. He’s consistent.
Q: How do you guys think today’s high schoolers will react to this film? Do you think they’ll be able to connect with it as much as those of us who grew up with it do?
EKT: I feel so out of touch. Are there really movies for high schoolers coming out right now?
Q: There’s “Project X” and “High School Musical.”
EKT: We’re way cooler than “High School Musical.”
SWS: That’s a pretty good movie, dude. A pretty good movie. Zac Efron…
EKT: We’ve got more boobies than “Project X” and I think high schoolers still like breasts. Yes?
EKT: Okay, good. So I think we’ll be alright.
SWS: So I can still be in high school then. I’ll fit right in.
EKT: I think when the first one came out, 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 what makes movies work and what doesn’t. But, like I said, we were honest and tried to make each other laugh. And if 14 year olds laugh, that’s nice, as long as they’re accompanied by a parent or guardian who will also buy a ticket.
Q: Of all the cast in thirteen years, who’s changed the most?
EKT: I’ll tell you what was crazy was getting on set and you show up like I think someone would for a reunion. I’m going to go to set and show them how cool I am and how much I’ve grown and I’m still an idiot. I felt like everyone was themselves. Oh yup, there’s Klein. There’s Biggs and there’s Seann. People stayed pretty consistent. Seann’s beard is getting a little gray though.
SWS: Yeah, I get a lot of gray.
EKT: That’s wild.
SWS: A lot of gray. But it’s true, that was the amazing thing. It’s that I could tell pretty much … (to Eddie) Well you weren’t there. I think you were working. We had a table read. This was the first time we all got together and read the script for the first time and I hadn’t seen a lot of people for ten years. What was great was that everybody was in such a good place and all the characteristics and all the things that we loved about each other were all there but kind of more grown up. It made the experience even more fun because there was just more substance to the conversations that we were having. Although then there were a lot of times where Biggs would be hitting us in the balls and doing…not the fake masturbation?
EKT: I can’t do that here in front of all these people.
SWS: No, you don’t have to do it.
EKT: I can’t!
SWS: What is the name of it?
EKT: The self-hating masturbator.
SWS: These guys came up with the self-hating masturbator.
EKT: I can’t do that in front of these people.
SWS: Just do it!
EKT: Absolutely not. That was the last question, wasn’t it?
SWS: Clearly we haven’t grown up that much. The self-hating masturbator!
EKT: You can imagine Jason Biggs as a self-hating masturbator.
SWS: It’s good!
“American Reunion” opens in theaters on April 6th.