We first saw Jason Biggs’ Jim and Alyson Hannigan’s Michelle find each other in 1999’s American Pie. In American Reunion, the couple are married with a baby as they head back to their hometown for their high school reunion. Movie Fanatic caught up with the two stars recently to talk about the Pie legacy and what it was like to get the entire gang back together for what is a reunion on many levels.
Biggs for one believes that although in the American Reunion trailer it may seem otherwise, he believes Jim has grown up. “Jim and Michelle are married now, and they’ve got a kid and he means well. In his mind, he has grown up,” Biggs said.
“But, the problem is that he finds himself, much like in the first film and all of the American Pie films, 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, we make a film. The truth is there are still sexual problems that arise for guys."
Hannigan was compelled to return to the franchise when she read a certain scene in the script that involves her character trying to spice up her sex life by playing the dominatrix. “She is feeling responsible for letting the spark fade a little, in their sexual life,” the actress said. “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.”
“She made me her bitch,” Biggs added and laughed.
The actor also was drawn to the scene when he first read the script and felt it was the perfect melding of what the Weitz brothers established in the original film coupled with what new directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas) brought.
“The dominatrix scene was in the earlier draft and I was like, ‘Great! I think that will be really funny, but what’s the next step? There’s more to do here.’ When I read the script, I was like, ‘Did these guys write the first American Pie?’ I felt that they had done such justice to Adam Herz’s original screenplay and the character 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.”
Biggs clearly cherished how Hurwitz and Schlossberg's fandom for American Pie is felt on every frame of American Reunion. He also found that what was on the page would accurately reflect how these characters would be 13 years after the original debuted. “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, aren’t awkward and aren’t illegal, in some way. They’re older,” Biggs said. “Some of the things they did in the previous films would be not acceptable for a 30-year-old. So, they had to update it, if you will. That’s why the penis scene works, organically. Organ being the appropriate root word there.”
The scene he’s referring to is in some ways, a continuation of the famous pie-loving scene from the first film. In American Reunion, Biggs' Jim awakes in his childhood kitchen, naked from the waist down after a night of revelry with his high school buds. As Michelle and a friend walk into the kitchen and Jim awakes, he frantically avoids showing off the full Monty… and fails.
“The pie got to see it, so it was about time that we all get to see it,” Hannigan said and laughed. And we do see it… all of it.
“The penis has been a major player in the American Pie franchise. It has been its own character,” Biggs said.
“It’s the Rosebud,” Hannigan added, referring to the iconic item in Citizen Kane.
Biggs wasn’t shy about showing off his nether regions -- in fact, he felt it was appropriate given how sequels must push the envelope of their originals.
“I said to the directors, ‘What’s going to be the pie scene this time, guys?’ Some earlier drafts felt like it was missing that, so I gave them carte blanche. I was like, ‘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 I think it’s funny,’” Biggs said. “Jon wrote me one day and said, ‘Would you be willing to show your penis?’ I said, ‘Yes, absolutely!’ I laughed out loud when they pitched me the idea. I was like, ‘That sounds great!’”
“That was my first day of shooting, by the way,” Hannigan recalled.
“Welcome back to the franchise, Alyson,” Biggs added. “Here’s my penis!”