Eugene Levy and Jennifer Coolidge talk about getting together as Jim's dad and Stifler's mum in American Pie: Reunion and why some of their scenes together had to be cut. Eugene also reflects on the success of the series and why, initially, he was reluctant to become a part of it because of the way it pushed the envelope.
Eugene, how was it getting Jim's dad together with Stifler's mum? Was that always planned?
Eugene Levy: I don't know - this didn't come from us. I heard about it when the story was pitched to me by Jon [Hurwitz] and Hayden [Schlossberg] way back before they started writing the script. There were a lot of great things that I was hearing then, like: 'Woah, they're getting me out of the house! That's good. It'll be a lot of fun.' And then I was at a party and I open a door and there's Stifler's mum and I went: 'OK'. I would never in a million years have guessed that would happen. I just didn't see it happening because I assumed she would always be with Finch and that's the thing. I thought it was brilliant, though. So, that was their doing. I wish I could claim it was mine.
And how was it for you, Jennifer?
I like that I get to corrupt a sad man who has lost his wife and looks like he needs some cheering up! You can tell that he's innocent and by far the kindest guy I've ever gone out on a date with.
Was your final scene in the script?
That was improvised!!! Without giving too much away about what that scene entails, I also pitched the other version of that scene - with the roles reversed! I'm not kidding. You have to realise how many male executives were hanging out on that set and they really didn't like that idea. They didn't think it was real enough.
Eugene Levy: It wasn't in the original story pitch when they were laying it out. All I remember was walking in and meeting Stifler's mum and I thought that moment alone was brilliant... that's all I thought it was going to be. They just meet and the audience is left to go: 'Ok, well who knows...' If there's another one, maybe something is going to happen. But when I got the script they really gave us some stuff to do at the party and then that final scene ended the whole movie. I knew it was funny and then started to think that maybe it was a little too much. But then I realised that the way this thing was going it was perfect.
Would your characters ever consider a spin-off?
Eugene Levy: Wouldn't that be fun? We've talked about it, thinking where these characters might go and we kind of thought a Bonnie and Clyde thing would be good [laughs]. The chances are this is probably the last one but if it does well I wouldn't be shocked if they said 'we're doing another one'. So, then it's finding out where it starts and what it's about. I think it would be crazy not to keep us together. First of all, there's more stuff that we actually did together as well. We had one great drinking scene but there were others that we did that were cut from the movie and I think more of that in another movie would be fantastic. There was a scene involving us getting stoned that was cut and I understand why it went because, in movie-making, if it ain't moving the story forward it's going to go. They had a two-hour cut and they had to trim. So, usually if there's a scene that's not moving the story... although I like to think we are a part of the story. But when it came to the main story, we weren't and we lost that scene.
And Jennifer, what are your thoughts on a spin-off?
Jennifer Coolidge: I would love to go on the road with him and shoot up a bunch of... well, it wouldn't matter. Shoot 'em up and spit 'em out! I always feel we don't go far enough... I mean, there's a lot of really good nudity and funny scenes with Jason [Biggs]' real penis and all of that but I'm surprised that our getting stoned scene was cut down.
Do you still relate to these movies at your age in life? Or has American culture changed a lot over the years for teenagers?
Eugene Levy: It's an interesting question. As an adult, do I find this kind of comedy funny? I think I was surprised when I first read the script for the original American Pie I went: 'Hmm, I don't think so...' There were things in that script that I had never seen in a movie and I thought 'Boy, this is really pushing the envelope!' My part was also written altogether different and it just wasn't appealing. But when I saw the movie ultimately I really did laugh. I loved it and I thought it was great. Yes, it was pushing the envelope, like 'whoa!', but these characters were so real, these kids were so great, that I enjoyed watching everything. So, in this movie I think I do find it funny, although generally I'm not big on bodily function humour. I think that this movie was done, much like the original movie, with kind of an intelligence to it. I think originally American Pie could have gone south if the guys running it, like Paul and Chris Weitz, weren't really smart guys that had a great sense of comedy and kept everything kind of on the good side of bad taste. That's why it worked. But you've got be really, really careful with it. If you're throwing this stuff in just to get a laugh I think I would have a problem with it. If it's an integral part of the characters and it's all organic and grounded, then I think it's fine.
When it comes to your eyebrows, do you cultivate them yourself or do you have a team that look after them?
Eugene Levy: Velcro! They just come on and off! [laughs]
Interview: Rob Carnevale Photo: Universal
American Pie: Reunion is out in cinemas Wednesday 2 May