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Old School - 'This is not a message movie'!



Feature by: Jack Foley

"WE kind of pride ourselves on the fact this this isn't a message movie," says Luke Wilson, when describing Old School, the latest in a long line of gross out comedies from the Hollywood production line.

Directed by Todd Phillips (of Road Trip fame), the movie follows a trio of men - Wilson, Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn - as they make one last ditch attempt to cling on to their youth, by starting an off-campus fraternity, and indulging in all manner of laddish pranks.

The film has already taken in excess of $80 million in the US, despite some lukewarm reviews, but remains a hopelessly enjoyable and, yes, message-free, laughter trip through mid-life insecurity and male angst.

As such, audiences are 'treated' to sights such as a naked Will Ferrell streaking down the street, wrestling in a pool of KY Jelly, and all manner of physical degradation, designed to make you laugh as hard as you'll wince!

For Ferrell, in particular, the prospect of appearing nude alongside a car full of women, and in front of Snoop Dogg, offered an interesting set of personal challenges that he felt compelled to rise to.

"Once I wrapped my head around the fact that I actually had to do it, and got comfortable with getting through that scene, I actually crossed into another dimension where I actually just showed up nude on set for the next two weeks," he told a press conference at London's Dorchester Hotel, recently.

"But backing into the car with the women was more likely to get a laugh; while Snoop's more likely to have you beaten down by his boys, who would just stare at you for a long time," joked the former Saturday Night Live star.

And as for the notion that it was a cold night on-set, as suggested by one of his female co-stars?

"That was an ad-libbed line, and not a particularly polite one, that wasn't even that funny," he remarked, in a completely deadpan manner.

In terms of what the movie represents, however, it seems that the only real underlying theme is that men just never want to grow up and, given the opportunity, would be content to remain boys forever (witness any father playing X-Box with his son, or the joy of being unleashed upon a football pitch with friends!).

So is it true to say that both Ferrell and Wilson feel the same about the prospect of growing old?

"For me, it's like, I've never really had to make that decision, where it's kind of like I've had to buckle down and live an adult life," says Wilson.

"When you're an actor, a part of it is that you have to be open to the idea that you're going to be, for lack of a better word, pretending a lot, so I never really had to choose a path of going to do something that I didn't really want to do, or say to myself, 'ok, it's time to grow up'."

Likewise, Ferrell, who has spent the past seven years of his life as a member of the Saturday Night Live crew, which is kind of like a fraternity all of its own.

"That was definitely a fun, sometimes wild, experience, so I've had a lot of opportunities to continue my sustained adolescence," he added.

With that in mind, however, there is a serious side to the pair, in spite of the brilliant double-act which exists between them.

Ferrell, for instance, was attracted to the role of Frank the Tank in Old School not only because of the fun nature of the project, but because it offered him the chance of working with stars such as Wilson and Vaughn.

"That was one of the truly exciting things for me, getting to work with these two guys," he explained.

"You can admire someone's work and then find, for whatever reasons, that you don't click. But we had a great time right from the beginning, and we also share the same comedic sensibilities."

Wilson, meanwhile, recognises that appearing in hit movies such as Old School, opens up the possibility of pursuing other, more personal projects further down the line.

"That's how I think about it," he says. "But I have fun on those movies, too, and I like getting to work with Reece [on Legally Blonde 1 & 2], she's real smart, and the same with Cameron [Charlie's Angels 1 & 2].

"I mean, it's interesting for me to work with someone like her, because she's a real bona fide movie star, so I feel that I kind of have to focus in a different sort of way.

"And to work on a huge budget movie, with a crew of hundreds, like Charlie's Angels, is cool for me, and I learn something on every movie that I do.

"But, yeah, if you do more commercial stuff like that, it can help you get something maybe that's not as mainstream made. But I would never do something just for the money, because that's no fun."

Wilson is currently finishing work on The End of the Summer, a script he has been writing, and then may appear alongside his brother, Owen, in Jackie Chan vehicle, Around The World in 80 Days.

It seems the actors have been able to strike a near-perfect balance of clinging onto their youth, as well as being men...

 

 

 

 

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