The entire American Pie gang returns for American Reunion, the fourth film of the comedy franchise which is hitting theaters nine years after American Wedding (aka American Pie #3). Heading up the R-rated antics are Jason Biggs, who will forever be known as 'The Pie Guy', and Alyson Hannigan who uttered the memorable "One time, at band camp..." line in the first film. Biggs and Hannigan play Jim and Michelle, the now-married couple who've hit a rough patch in their marriage after discovering that being parents has put a damper on their love life. They hope to reignite the spark at their 13 year high school reunion, however they soon discover that getting back together with the old gang is much more time-consuming and energy-sapping than having a toddler around.
Together at the LA press conference for the Universal Pictures release, Biggs and Hannigan discussed what it was like to revisit these characters and how it felt to play a couple once again.
Jason Biggs and Alyson Hannigan American Reunion Press Conference
Jason, can you talk about how your character has grown up but he still has that teenage boy part of his personality?
Jason Biggs: "I love that Jim has grown up and Jim and Michelle are married now and he’s got a kid and he means well. But, in his mind, he has grown up. The problem is he finds himself, much like in the first film, and frankly all of the American Pie films, he finds himself in a situation where he’s once again sexually frustrated. When Jim is sexually frustrated, he ends up making some poor decisions. When he makes some poor decisions..."
Alyson Hannigan: "We make a movie. "
Jason Biggs: "We make a film. When we make a film, we get rich. When we get rich... No, I’m kidding. The thing that I love now that Jim is 31 - how old would he be? 30, 31? We’ve been trying to figure out the age of our characters. We’re not exactly sure."
Alyson Hannigan: "We didn’t do much research."
Jason Biggs: "And so, the truth is, after you’re 30 years old, men still masturbate. There are still sexual problems that happen, that arise for guys."
Alyson Hannigan: "Jason, do you want to tell us something?"
Jason Biggs: "I’m masturbating right now as we speak, right under the table. Is that what you meant?"
Alyson Hannigan: "No."
Jason Biggs: "I don’t even know what your question was."
Jason, when you read the dominatrix scene, were you like, “Is that all you've got, guys? I’m Jason Biggs!”
Jason Biggs: "Yeah, I’m like, 'C’mon guys, step up to the plate. Don’t be a pussy. Let’s do this, all right?' Sorry about my language. It’s that time of day. I’m also that type of person always so… Actually, it’s funny because the dominatrix scene was in the earlier drafts and I was like, 'This is great. This is funny. I think that’ll be really funny. But what’s the next step? There’s more to do here.' And so, if there was any sort of concern I had with the very, very early drafts, and I mean a minor concern, because when I tell you that this script was in the shape it was, it blew my mind. Jon and Hayden came in and you read the script and I was like, 'Did these guys write the first American Pie?' They did such justice, I felt, to Adam Herz’s original screenplay and the characters that he had originally created, and I think it comes across on screen. I feel like this movie is more like the first one than any of the other ones."
Alyson Hannigan: "They were like the perfect combination of the Weitz Brothers and Adam."
Jason Biggs: "Actually, they were. The Weitz Brothers directed the first film and Adam wrote it. I’d say that’s pretty accurate. So, if there was anything, I was just, 'Okay, let’s keep [going]. How much further can we go?' That’s one of the biggest challenges because now that you have these characters who are in their 30s, it’s tougher to credibly find these situations where you can push these boundaries and put them in these ridiculous scenarios that are believable, aren’t gratuitous, that aren’t awkward/just illegal in some way. I mean, they’re older. Some of the things they did in the previous films would be not acceptable for a 30 year old. They had to update it, if you will, so that’s why the penis scene, I think, works organically - 'organ' being the appropriate root word there."
Alyson, in that scene was it natural to you that Michelle would become the dominatrix?
Alyson Hannigan: "Yeah. I mean, she was in the first film, right?"
Jason Biggs: "She was. You made me your b*tch."
Alyson Hannigan: "Absolutely. Still are."
Jason Biggs: "I always will be."
Alyson Hannigan: So yeah, I definitely am, and especially if she is feeling responsible for letting the sparks fade a little on their sexual life because she’s been so focused on being a mom. So she sees this weekend as a way to reinvigorate their lives and remind themselves of where they started. So yeah, definitely."
There are a lot of themes in the movie that are very relatable, that are real life problems. What did you gravitate towards the most?
Alyson Hannigan: "Definitely balancing the married relationship now with parenthood I could relate to. My situation wasn’t as extreme as Jim and Michelle’s, of course, but when my daughter was first born, we were definitely all-consumed with just her. It was probably like quite a few months where we realized, 'Okay, wait, we do need to actually set aside a date night instead of trying to fit it in between diaper changes or whatever?' But you just get so wrapped up and it was brilliant and there was no problem there, but it was like, 'Okay, we can’t do this for 18 years. We need to still have our couple times.' So we try to have a date night every week, even if it’s just going to dinner and having a dinner that’s not interrupted by a 3-year-old. That’s just nice."
What about you, Jason? Was there anything that you related to, such as the dad/son relationship or somebody still trying to find themselves as an adult?
Jason Biggs: "That’s certainly a good one. For me, the biggest change in my life personally since the last film has been getting married. Getting married for me has kind of shifted my focus in such a profound way. You just realize you can’t be so selfish anymore. There’s someone else. And it’s not just about the other person, but it’s about the relationship as well. Your priorities are realigned. Now the next step will be kids and I can’t imagine what that’s going to do, but that’ll be a game changer. It’s just interesting to see Jim wrestle with those same sort of big ideas where it’s not just about him anymore."
"You think about the first movie, the whole movie rests upon how all these guys just want to get laid. It’s very me, me, me. Get me laid. You mentioned Jim and his dad, too. That’s really interesting. That’s a great part of the film for me. I’ve actually found this, as I’ve gotten older too, that my dynamic with my parents has changed quite a bit. There’s a beautiful moment in the film. It’s funny because a lot of my favorite moments in this movie are not really the funny ones but the more poignant, sweeter moments. Actually, that’s always been the case with the whole franchise. I love when Jim offers his dad advice in this movie and it’s kind of flipped. I think that’s really, really cool. That’s another genius thing, I think, from our writer-director guys that they came up with. I found that my relationship with my old man has changed considerably. As an adult, it’s a different thing. It’s like he’s a new person to me and it’s great. We have a totally different relationship than when I was growing up as you’re supposed to. But that resonates with me quite a bit. That’s cool."
Are there any characters that you wanted closure for?
Alyson Hannigan: "I love the MILF guys’ storyline. I love that we really don’t know why they broke up but they’re back together."
Jason Biggs: "And when we say ‘broke up,’ listen, Johnny Cho plays the role in a way that maybe is a little…I don’t know what you guys thought…but we’re not saying they were gay. We’re not saying that they broke up."
Alyson Hannigan: "No, just their friendship."
Jason Biggs: "We never intended that. I mean, they’re buddies."
Alyson Hannigan: "We weren’t saying that they were in a relationship."
Jason Biggs: "Right. But people have been questioning. I’ve heard that people have been like, 'Is he gay or…?' And then when you just said broken up, I was like I wonder if people are going to think that’s what we’re trying to imply."
Alyson Hannigan: "No."
Jason, what was the conversation like when you were discussing how to show your junk and the variations on how the lid would smash it? And Alyson, now that two of your onscreen husbands, Jason Segal and Jason Biggs, have both shown their goods, do we have you to blame for that?
Alyson Hannigan: "I guess."
Jason Biggs: "She brings it out in guys. I don’t know what it is."
Alyson Hannigan:" Obviously, I think with this, Jason Biggs, it was about time - because we’ve spent three movies listening to and talking about it and the pie got to see it - it was about time we all got to see it."
Jason Biggs: "The penis has been a major player in the American Piefranchise."
Its own character?
Jason Biggs: "It has been its own character."
Alyson Hannigan: "It’s like the Rosebud."
Jason Biggs: "Yeah. Nailed it. So it was about time."
Alyson Hannigan: "We needed the reveal."
Jason Biggs: "Yeah, it was about time. The conversation went something like I kept pushing the guys, Jon and Hayden, our writer/directors for that pie scene. 'What’s going to be the pie scene this time, guys?' Some earlier drafts felt like it was missing. I gave them carte blanche, just a blank canvas. I was like, 'Guys, I will literally do anything as long as it makes sense in the context of the film and for the character and as long as it’s funny. As long as I think it’s funny.' Jon wrote me one day and said. 'Would you be willing to show your…?' I was like, 'Yes! Absolutely! If it’s funny.' I laughed out loud and they pitched me the idea and I was like, 'That sounds great.'"
Alyson Hannigan: "And as far as the technicalities of doing the scene, which was my first day of shooting by the way..."
Jason Biggs: "Yeah! Welcome back to the franchise, Alyson! Here’s my penis."
Alyson Hannigan: "Yay! It was quite technically difficult because I had to sort of become his eyes because he couldn’t lean down and see, because then he wasn’t squishing it enough."
Jason Biggs: "It was not easy."
Alyson Hannigan: "And there are so many positions and we had to decide which one was the funniest."
Jason Biggs: "Yeah. Two o’clock, or the Eiffel Tour, or the Sydney Harbor Bridge, or the straight-up hot dog bun."
Alyson Hannigan: "The dead insect on the windshield."
Jason Biggs: "Exactly. Yes. The drugged astronaut. The purple nurple. The options were endless. I should also tell you that I used to star in Puppetry of the Penis in Sydney, Australia when it first came out, so that’s why we had so many options. I was very skilled."
Alyson Hannigan: "It was good you took out all the piercings for the scene."
Jason Biggs: "Yeah, two of the holes closed. Bummer!"
Alyson Hannigan: "Not the hole he wanted to close either."
Jason Biggs: "Yeah, that’s right. I pee through my mouth now. It’s very strange."
Alyson Hannigan: "We’re a little punchy. Sorry!"