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American Pie: Reunion – Eddie Kaye Thomas interview

American Pie: Reunion

Interview by Rob Carnevale

EDDIE Kaye Thomas talks about his initial reservations about making American Pie: Reunion and why they were quickly dispelled and he also reflects on why the franchise has enjoyed such longevity.

He also talks about the fun he had on-set while making it and pays tribute to the comedic talent of Jason Biggs.

Q. Why do you think there’s still a fascination with these characters?
Eddie Kaye Thomas: No. I’m trying to figure it out myself. My best guess is that the first movie did such a good job of identifying this very vulnerable thing in all of us, where we’re going to graduate High School and we’re terrified that we’re not going to be normal – ie, we’re not going to have sex like everybody else and we’re going to be left behind. And it wasn’t just a case of watching these guys make fools of themselves. It was: “Let’s watch these guys struggle with becoming adults.” And the women too. This movie is the same thing. It’s: “Oh my God, I’m 30-years-old, what the hell happened to my life?

I’m not who I thought I was going to be!” So, along with Jason Biggs making an absolute fool of himself, there is a genuine vulnerability to all of these people, whether it’s Finch making up stories to get laid, or to impress his friends at a reunion, or Oz not getting over the love of his life, or Jim trying to make his wife happy. I think those three things are something we’ve all gone through – not being able to get over a woman, and trying to make the woman we’re with happy and lying. Or am I the only one that lies?

Q. What did you think when the idea of a fourth film first got pitched? I gather Seann William Scott was instrumental in bringing it to the studio?
Eddie Kaye Thomas: Yeah, Seann and Jason… it doesn’t get made without them. My first thought was that this probably isn’t a great idea – let’s not tarnish something good. Once I got involved, or once I saw what we were doing, I realised we weren’t tarnishing anything. Once I read the script and spoke with Jon [Hurwitz] and Hayden [Schlossberg] I realised that a good movie is a good movie, whether it’s American Pie or anything else. So, American Pie 4 in theory was much different for me than American Pie: Reunion, the script that I read.

Q. If you’d been asked to do the full frontal scene like Jason did would you have done it? He seems totally fearless….
Eddie Kaye Thomas: Well, you’ve phrased that question wrong. The question is would you approach a director and say: “Would you like me to show my penis in this movie?”

Q. Would you do that?
Eddie Kaye Thomas: I haven’t done that in my career! So, I think Biggs asked Jon and Hayden – but you’ll have to speak to them about that. And I’m not kidding, by the way. Jason brings something to it, of course. I remember [referring to the pie scene] the ‘it’s not what it looks like’ scene. The reason that’s funny is because Jason means that… “No, no, there’s a whole thing behind this! Oz said…” Isn’t that beautiful that Jason does that? There are a million and a half actors that cannot do that – have sex with a pie and make it seem like it’s a giggle. Biggs actually makes you think he’s really meaning it. We hear so much that ‘we grew up with you guys’… when teenagers were going through that awkward thing, whether it was getting caught masturbating or getting humiliated by a girl by being rejected or something, I think Biggs embodied that in that ‘it isn’t what it looks like moment’ because of the way he played it. There’s a genuineness about the way he does it that I think people responded to, going back to the first question. That’s what it is… there were kids going: “Oh f**k, I’m not the only person who is terrified of being 17-years-old!” I feel like I owe Biggs money now! Jeez!

Q. It seems like you have a lot of fun making these movies, so what was it like being back together with everyone?
Eddie Kaye Thomas: I’m really excited because I hope when the DVD comes out that a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff that they shot makes it on there. Some of the laughter, when [Chris] Klein is in full voice, he has one of the greatest laughs you’ll ever hear! You’d hear that laugh a lot. We were oftentimes literally falling out of the director’s chairs that we get to sit in. And what’s good about that is that you forget that you’re making a movie that’s going to be shown around the world. It’s just a bunch of guys making each other laugh.

It makes me think of a scene where me, Seann and Chris are helping Jim get the girl in the house, there was a very late night where we were shooting the part where just me and Chris were left sitting on the couch, while Stifler’s upstairs… we were working very late, until 6am, and I was so tired I was delirious and Chris and I were sitting next to each other for a while and I literally started talking to myself a little bit [laughs]. Chris looked at me [mimics surprise] and we had the biggest laugh of it and that’s something that had nothing to do with the movie… but then when you cut to me and him on the couch, we really were having that amount of fun. I think those energies do translate and it is just guys making each other laugh.

Q. When you think of American Pie you think of good, wholesome sensibilities…
Eddie Kaye Thomas: The words ‘American Pie’, not the film [laughs]!!

Q. How well do you think the films represent youth culture in America today?
Eddie Kaye Thomas: This film is very popular in America but I would say it’s more popular in Europe. I feel like the reaction here is much stronger. The box office around the world is incredible. So, I guess my answer is that it touches on universal themes. We all can relate to that awkwardness of being a teenager that we were talking about earlier or the 30-year-old thing. I think a 30-year-old in Michigan or in New Delhi probably has the same: “Oh man, I’m 30, what have I done with my life?”

Q. Did you have much input into how your character was developed?
Eddie Kaye Thomas: 100%! When Jon and Hayden decided to make the film they made a very big point to have lunch and sit down with each one of us and say: “This is what we’re thinking, what are you thinking?” It was part of their process.

Read our review of American Pie: Reunion

Read our interview with Chris Klein