Thomas Ian Nicholas and Tara Reid talk about returning to the world of American Pie for fourth movie Reunion and why they feel the characters have endured for so long. Thomas also discusses combining acting with music and why he feels it's getting harder to keep pushing the comedy envelope.
Why do you think people are still so interested in these characters?
Tara Reid: I think that people personalised these characters from the very beginning. I mean, from the very beginning it started off with losing virginity, which is something that most people do and the awkwardness of it... otherwise none of us would be here! And I think over the years, we've grown up with our characters and people have grown up with us and I think you can really relate to someone in the movie. You could say: ' am that person!' Or: 'I know somebody like that.' I think it's all very relatable. And another thing about American Pie is that we've never been malicious. I think that's what makes American Pie great, it does have a heart to it. And we've never hurt anyone... we don't bully anyone or hurt anyone. We make fun of ourselves if anything. It's good clean, raunchy, fun, sex comedy.
What was it like walking onto set for the first time after so many years and getting back together? Had many of you stayed in touch over the years?
Thomas Ian Nicholas: We'd seen each other off and on over the years but more on a one-on-one basis. But it's always been a warm 'hello' because it's a great group of people. But this was the first time that we'd all been in the same place at the same time and it was amazing. There's an intangible thing about the chemistry that we have as a group. I sort of think that in regard to the characters each person represents what you would kind of think as of a different clique in a high school setting, so therefore we all fit into a perfect niche and there's something that's amazing about all of us being together.
Do you prefer the music to the acting, or do you like juggling both?
Thomas Ian Nicholas: I love juggling both and this is the first time that the two have converged. To be on the same project, where I have a song on the soundtrack, is great. In fact, I actually just played my first show in London so I'm juggling both even while I'm here doing the press for American Pie: Reunion!
Is one easier than the other?
Thomas Ian Nicholas: They're very different. Acting is like a representation of my ability to create a character and bring that character to life and add all these layers in and make the performance interesting, whereas music is more of just a representation of me. I don't write the parts for the characters that I play but for music I write everything, so it's my thoughts and my opinions and therefore more of an insight into who I am outside of the characters that I play.
Does art mirror life in respect that back in 1999 you were all young and maybe partied while making it, whereas now - in your 30s - you've all grown up a bit, have families and refrained from partying?
Thomas Ian Nicholas: Despite the fact that I've been married for just a little over five years and I'm a dad now with a son that's six months old, this was the first American Pie movie that we shot on location. So, we'd do the first three and then go home and do our own thing at the weekends. We probably partied more on this one because we were on location. On the weekends, we were hanging out with each other. My birthday happened while we were filming this one so I had a big birthday dinner and it was good fun.
How were these parties? Wild?
Thomas Ian Nicholas: They were crazy, man! Crazy! They were so crazy that I'm not legally allowed to tell you about them! [laughs]
Tara, what did you take away from the Celebrity Big Brother experience?
Tara Reid: I took away Jedward! I love them.
Do you still see them?
Tara Reid: Yeah, I saw them last night. We're going to Dublin tonight. I absolutely love them and I have not one bad word to say about them.
Can you walk around the UK without being mobbed now?
Tara Reid: [Publicist advises to move on and not answer the question] I can still walk around, yeah. It's all good.
How much input did you have into your characters' progression?
Thomas Ian Nicholas: I think that what [directors] Jon and Hayden chose to do for all the characters is really smart. It works and it's right, so there's not really much I could add in that sense. I don't know how they were honestly able to create story arcs for a dozen characters and make them all complete and wrap them all up nicely and make you feel good at the end of the movie. I bow down to the talents that are Jon and Hayden.
Out of all the movies do you have a favourite scene you've been in or others have been in?
Thomas Ian Nicholas: There's tonnes of great moments but the thing that's interesting is watching the film and then remembering certain things that were happening that day. I can't really recite them now because there's four films spinning through my head now. But when I watch the film and I see someone like break character a little bit or I remember that was an ad-lib. There's a lot of that stuff that I think fans of the franchise can go and watch on the DVD extras or maybe even know about from the commentaries. So, while I feel like I know about the 'inside scoop' so to speak, other people can find out about them too. We've told all these stories!
This film has the exact same tone as the other three. But do you feel comedy has changed or can you still be as raunchy? Or is it more restricted now?
Thomas Ian Nicholas: Well, I think you can get away with a lot more. We pushed the envelope really far on the first film and that's sort of what we're known for, so each time we've had to go a little further. And then other films came that followed in our footsteps and they pushed the envelope too. So, now almost everything has been seen, which is why we had to show you everything [laughs].
When you're pushing to the extremes of gross-out, then, does it make it harder to keep it heartfelt?
Thomas Ian Nicholas: No because that's what these films have... that heart. Our job, Tara and I are the straight characters in the comedy group. Our experiences are more relatable; most people probably know someone life Stifler or Jim but they probably aren't relating to them... if it's a guy they probably relate to Kevin or if it's a girl they relate to Vicky. So, I think in that regard because we stay the course and allow everyone else to be more outlandish. And the more that we pull on the heart-strings, the more we can shock people as well.
Interview: Rob Carnevale Photo: Universal
American Pie: Reunion is out in cinemas Wednesday 2 May