Wedding Daze - Jason Biggs interview
Interview by Rob Carnevale
JASON Biggs talks about appearing in sequined panties in zany new comedy Wedding Daze, co-starring with Isla Fisher and why he takes his comedy seriously.
He also reveals why finding real-life romance hasn’t been quite so easy and his passion for all forms of entertainment, from TV and theatre to movies…
Q. How did appearing in red sequined panties and being covered in baby oil for the opening scene of Wedding Daze compare to some of your more risque endeavours with the American Pie series?
Jason Biggs: [Laughs] You know, I gotta tell you it was probably physically more uncomfortable than any other scene because the sequined pants, or panties, or manties as I call them, were really, really uncomfortable. The sequins were kind of getting in there and there was some chaffing going on! It wasn’t fun. I was also wrestling around with [co-star, Michael] Weston on the ground – and he’s a grown man!
The other thing about that scene was that it was one of the coldest days in New York that year! It was literally freezing, freezing cold and I was topless and wet with lubricant and water. I think my nipple got frostbitten at one point. So between the chaffing in my groin and the frostbitten torso it was really, really bad news. But in terms of embarrassing moments, it was just another walk in the park for me [laughs].
Q. Did you work out much in the lead up to that scene?
Jason Biggs: As you can tell from watching the movie, no. At that point I’d actually been on a diet of fast food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I remember the week before filming I thought that maybe I should starve myself for a minute… but I didn’t.
Q. You don’t seem to mind yourself being put in those kinds of embarrassing predicaments…
Jason Biggs: There’s obviously some appeal in scenes like that for me – there’s something I respond to. I keep doing those films where I put myself out there like that. I guess I look for those kinds of moments and I pride myself on being an actor who will do just about anything for a laugh – so long as it’s within context of the scene in the movie and it’s not gratuitous. I have to feel it’ll make people laugh but when I see those kinds of outrageous moments it gets me more excited about the project truthfully.
Q. Are you drawn to outrageous acts in your personal life?
Jason Biggs: I’m actually no stranger to outrageous moments – not to the same extremes but I’m notorious for putting my foot in my mouth and saying things that I probably shouldn’t say. I’m a big fan of shock value humour and I find myself being most comfortable when I make other people uncomfortable. Is that sick of me? I really like it.
Q. The film is about big romantic gestures… what’s the biggest gesture you’ve done?
Jason Biggs: There was this one time where I held a girl’s hand… it wasn’t in public! But still, I was crazy about her. But I’ve also done the take a girl halfway around the world at the last minute sort of thing. I’ve also taken a girl that I’d just met on a road trip – so I’m pretty spontaneous in that sense. But Anderson [Jason’s character in Wedding Daze] is very rigid and set in his ways. The proposal is more of a dare. I consider myself as more of a spontaneous person throughout. It’s a defining characteristic.
Q. Writer-director Michael Ian Black had to wait to get you on Wedding Daze. Is that flattering?
Jason Biggs: Yeah, I had scheduling conflicts. But we’d met about it and totally hit it off and it was obvious straight away that we had very similar comedic sensibilities and it would be a wonderful collaboration. But it couldn’t happen at first. I think it was a full year later that we were actually able to revisit the idea and get it going.
Q. Was it a help or a hindrance having a director that’s also a stand-up comedian?
Jason Biggs: It was amazing. Michael wears many hats. He’s a stand-up comedian, a comedic actor, he’s now a writer-director so he knew how to work with all of us. And furthermore, because so much of his career is based on improvisation he gave us the freedom to do that as well. It was a really fun, collaborative set to be on. We’d improv stuff on the day but we’d always come back to his stuff because he’s just funnier than us!
Q. How did you enjoy having Isla Fisher as a romantic co-star?
Jason Biggs: That was great because the thing about her role is that if you don’t have an actress who’s willing to do anything for the joke and basically risk making a fool of herself then the movie doesn’t work in my opinion. Isla is part of a rare breed – the actress who is funny, pretty, young, smart and yet is willing to be outrageous and not worry about how she looks. They are few and far between. On top of that we had amazing chemistry, which is also integral to the movie and whether or not it would work. She was a perfect bit of casting.
Q. How easy is it to find a really good comedy script at the moment?
Jason Biggs: It’s difficult. It’s not the easiest thing in the world. I think there’s a lack of really, really good funny scripts out there that work on all the levels that they’re supposed to – which is to say that they’re not just funny but they have interesting characters that people are going to like and be invested in. I’ve done a bunch of movies that haven’t worked but I like to think I’ve done some that have worked and that’s because not only is the comedy there but the characters and storylines are interesting. The characters are real and relateable and people were invested in them.
The American Pie movies are the perfect example of the ones that have worked. The comedy is there but if it was just those ridiculous set pieces and a bunch of kids doing these absolutely outlandish things it would just get gratuitous. It would have been funny but we wouldn’t have been able to make two sequels. The reason people wanted to see more of it was because they really liked the characters. So, we were allowed to do all of those outlandish things because when you’re liked by the audience you have the freedom to go to those places.
Q. Do you ever get sick of the association with the American Pie movies?
Jason Biggs: Truthfully, it doesn’t wear thin. At this point, I’m just used to it. But I’m so proud of those movies and they are so responsible for my success today. Frankly, they’re the reason I have a career. And furthermore, the pie scene in particular is one of those seminal, iconic, pop culture moments. That’s pretty cool to be associated with that.
Q. What appeals to you about the rom-com genre in particular?
Jason Biggs: Of all the different kinds of things that I’ve done I guess there’s a reason why I keep coming back to this kind of role. It seems to be a natural fit for me. First of all, you need the comedy but the roles also require a vulnerability and a sort of likeability. I’ve always felt most comfortable in the hopeless romantic, underdog kind of roles who always gets the girl in the end. I don’t know what that says about me but for some reason it’s a natural fit.
Q. Do you get the girl in real-life?
Jason Biggs: Not at the moment. I just got out of a pretty long relationship. It’s been a couple of months. I’m still making the adjustment but I’m enjoying being single again. I’m still young.
Q. How’s the dating scene?
Jason Biggs: It’s scary, especially in LA, but it’s fun. Being single is equal parts weird, awkward and exciting, new and fresh.
Q. Do you believe in the film’s idea that you can look across a room and find the love of your life?
Jason Biggs: I want to believe it badly. But you’re talking to a real cynic, especially when it comes to romance. Look, you’ve caught me at an interesting time. Right now I’m like: “Relationships suck, they’ll never work and I’ll never get married!” I’m certainly open to the idea of it happening but it hasn’t happened to me.
Q. What are the qualities you look for in a woman?
Jason Biggs: The most important are smart and funny. After that, I don’t know.
Q. Do you fancy taking on more dramatic roles in the future, or perhaps writing your own comedy?
Jason Biggs: Yes and yes. I’d like to do more dramatic roles but I would never give up comedy to do it. I’ve seen a lot of actors that do a complete 180 [degrees] and say: “I’m done with comedy, I want to be taken seriously.” I take my comedy very seriously and I want to be taken seriously because of my comedy. I think it’s more fun for me. I enjoy laughing and attempting to make people laugh. So I’d like to do more drama but I’d never do the 180 thing.
As for writing, I have ideas and stuff. I’ve written some things but nothing that I’ve ever been able to flesh out either to the point of a TV show or a feature. I’d like to get more involved in that world. I’m better when I’m teamed up with an experienced writer – when I potentially have someone guiding me. But I’m getting involved and I’m learning a lot. I’m actually producing a TV show right now. We’re doing the pilot for it now and it’s fun. I’ve learned a ton and I get to tell people that I’m a producer. It’s even better than being an actor – the panties come right off!
Q. What’s the show called?
Jason Biggs: It’s called I’m In Hell.
Q. As an actor you’ve done TV, stage and film. Which do you prefer?
Jason Biggs: This is not because I’m being diplomatic but I love all three. There’s something about the discipline of the stage that’s totally incomparable – that audience interaction and how it affects you both negatively and positively in every performance. There’s something about it that’s so unique and challenging. That being said, I love the technical and photographic world of filmmaking and the environment that’s created on the film and TV set.
Ideally, I’ll move freely between mediums throughout my career. I’ve been lucky enough to do that so far. I tell you what, when I go a stretch without doing a play I start to really get the itch to do one. Conversely, I did The Graduate [on Broadway] for a year and a half and I was like: “I want to go and do a movie. I want to be on a set.” I guess the grass is always greener.
Q. Would you like to appear in the West End?
Jason Biggs: I’d love to, yeah. I wish I’d gotten involved in The Graduate in the West End. But I didn’t get involved until New York. But I’d love to.
Q. How far would your artistic endeavour take you? Would you consider going full frontal, like Daniel Radcliffe in Equus?
Jason Biggs: I don’t know, if it was the right part I guess. But my fear always with those things – especially with a guy doing full frontal – is whether it really works in the context of the show? Is it really necessary or is it simply to make a statement? When it’s done correctly, it doesn’t make a statement and it can work perfectly. It’s as comfortable for the actor as it is for the audience.