Jennifer Coolidge and Eugene Levy are possibly two of the most famous actors from the American Pie series that aren’t under the age of 35. Playing Stifler’s Mom and Jim’s Dad respectively, they have achieved almost a cult status in the gross out comedy world of dog poo, porn mags and laxative coffees. Reuniting for the fourth in the series, they spoke to View’s Matthew Turner about appearing in the same scene together for the first time, getting stoned on screen and why Jim’s on-screen penis was so shocking all those years ago.
Do you have a lot of affection for Stifler’s mom?
Most of the roles I play are losers, trophy wives or damaged plastic surgery ladies. So it’s like one of the only attractive people I get to play who actually has sex and is considered attractive. It’s one of the best roles I’ve ever had. Someone asked me if there was a boring side to Stifler’s mom that I had come up with for my own personal backstory for her, but really no, I don’t think so. I think there’s a sad side to her, sometimes she has empty sex with people, but I don’t think she’s boring at all. She’s always got something going. It’s nice to play a winner once in a while, I see her as a winner anyway.
Did they cut out more scenes between the two of you?
Scenes might be a bit much, but I know there was a scene which we did where we were actually smoking and getting high that I thought was pretty funny, so that didn’t make it. And then at the end of that, when I hear the cop car coming and get up, there was a freaking out bit that I go into and she’s laughing on the bed. I was so stoned, thinking I was going to jail.
Was that cut out? I’m so bummed!
Oh yeah. That was cut out! There’s a scene where you see me jumping up saying, ‘Oh it’s the cops,’ but you don’t see us smoking. But there’s a whole bit where I was freaking out and that was just a great kind of stoned scene.
Was there ever a scene with Jim’s dad asking Stifler’s mom out to the cinema, in the first place? That would have been pretty funny in itself.
Well, I think that was always designed as a kind of epilogue scene. I didn’t know it was coming up with the credits at the time. There’s an idea of capping the movie with the scene where now there’s a continuation of this relationship. So that’s what that was, but you know, what are you gonna do?
You looked like you were having such a great time, particularly in that scene where it looks like genuine laughter. Was there a lot of ad-libbing of getting drunk and building up to the scene?
Well, that was really fun to film, I felt like we were stoned. I really did. They give you stuff that really sort of smells like pot, you feel like you’re getting stoned.
But it was also late at night, it wasn’t like we shot it first thing in the morning. Anytime you’re shooting something last thing in the day, you feel like you’re stoned. So anyway, fun stuff, yes.
It’s interesting what they choose to put in a film. They wouldn’t let me smoke this time. You know, Stifler’s mom has smoked for three movies and they didn’t want her smoking cigarettes this time, that wasn’t my choice.
Do you think this movie is way less embarrassing than the last one?
Well there’s Jason’s penis. That’s a lot to take in.
Was that Jason’s real penis, or was it a stunt penis?
No, it was a real penis.
So, yeah. That’s something you don’t see every day. On the first film there was that first party scene, somebody doing something in the beer, and then where the ‘Bible’ comes from. Maybe it was, or maybe it was just because it was the first one that seemed shocking.
Do you think the script had to mature? The audience have obviously grown up too.
They’re ten years older supposedly, actually thirteen. They can’t be as wacky and adolescent as they were, because they are ten years older. I don’t know where that fine line is between, 'Is it as outrageous as the original?' It’s mixed with a lot of nostalgia and probably a bit more sentiment in this one than the first one. When you balance it all out, what you lose there, you gain here.
There’s also a more serious tone, particularly with Jim’s dad who’s obviously lost his wife. How did you balance the comedy with a big tragedy?
The way it was laid out to be honest, it was kind of scripted that way. Not in any great detail, but I guess the way they directed it, it was just the way it came out. We weren’t afraid to play the sentimentality of when the wife is mentioned, that he would get a little bit emotional about it. Then it kind of slides naturally into something funny, as it does in life. If you’ve ever been to a wake you can cry and laugh at the same time. I think that’s probably what it was, but I liked that aspect of it. It just makes everything kind of human and real. I think you feel more for the characters when you see that they are three-dimensional and human.
Both of your characters are so hugely loved, particularly in the UK. What kind of fanbase do you have now? Are there any weird fans?
I know that every time we go up in front of a live audience the biggest scream of the crowd is for Stifler’s mom. They go nuts when Jennifer goes out, it’s pretty amazing.
I think it’s because people talk about her so much in the movie. I have to say, when we’re out and people want pictures and stuff, I think Eugene wins.
I’m not complaining, but I think that there is a ‘WOAH!’ reaction from the audience when Jennifer comes out.
The cool thing about England is that boys really do want to sleep with an experienced woman. It’s more of a fantasy here than it is in America where the guy wants to seduce the younger girl. I think we have young boys in the audience, I think that’s what you’re referring to. But my fans are all young boys and I very rarely have an older guy come up to me and go, ‘I dig you.’ I think it like stops at 28 or something. I’m not kidding, no one my age has asked me out in the last ten or fifteen years.
Do you have a favourite scene in the film?
A favourite scene? You know what I can’t limit it to one, honestly. There are some scenes that I do with Jason that are great. I love my scenes with Stifler and I love my scenes with Stifler’s mom. I don’t think one stands out, I was fortunate.
I’ve never had a scene with Eugene in a movie. We’ve done eight films together and I’ve never done a scene with him. I kinda liked “popcorn day” [at the end of the film]. It was fun, that kinda broke the barriers.