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It was only a couple of hours after the producers and Universal execs met with Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg that they decided to hire the two to write and direct the ultimate installment in the American Pie franchise. The producers felt that the partners were a perfect fit for American Reunion.
âIâve known Jon and Hayden since they were in college,â remarks Perry. âIn fact, they submitted their first screenplay to me by cold calling the first assistant director on American Pie and asking him to pass it along! I hired them to rewrite another project of mine a few years after they moved to Hollywood.
So having them write and direct this latest installment of the Pie franchise is something akin to destiny. Their love and passion for these movies has come full circle.â
âThey play off of each other,â explains Moore. âYou donât have that normal thing where the writer or the director goes away by themselves and comes back with ideas. They actually worked any issue out through the filter of the other. Whoever had an idea pitched it to the other one to get a read on it.
âWe loved the Harold & Kumar movies, and luckily for us, Jon and Hayden were big fans of American Pie,â he continues. âIt was a great marriage of two paths. We needed some new blood who were fans, understood the characters and really wanted to work on the movie. They understand situational comedy, and they trust each other. They can also separate, so you can shoot more because you have two people at different places working.â
The two men agreed with the producers that it was vital to the premise to get all of the main cast members and as many of the supporting players back as possible. They appreciated being given a template while also being allowed to bring new characters into the mix. Says Hurwitz: âUniversal saw that we were legitimate, huge fans of American Pie, and so putting us at the helm was basically like putting the fans in charge.â
âYou donât see this usually,â adds Schlossberg, âespecially when itâs been over 10 years since the first movie came out. Youâll sometimes see that on a television show where they have a big reunion episode, but in movies you rarely do. Theyâll recast characters. To see the original actors playing those characters again is just a complete trip.
Itâs like youâre literally going to a high-school reunion.â It was a bit surreal for the directors to see the cast together again for the read through. Although many of the performers had kept in touch over the years, they hadnât been all together since American Pie 2. âThis is their 13th reunion,â Schlossberg laughs.
âHad they called us three years earlier, it wouldâve been a nice, clean number. All of these characters who were in high school are now in their thirties. In the first movie, it was all teenage issues; this is a completely new world for these characters.â
As the writers crafted the story, they were challenged to find out who the characters were more than a decade later, and to give new arcs to their stories. âLast time we saw Jim and Michelle, they got married,â explains Hurwitz. âNow we see they have a child and are dealing with the issues that brings aboutâwhether itâs a lack of closeness or, in their case, a lack of sex.
Stifler peaked in high school. Back in the day, he was throwing the parties. Now, heâs a temp and getting yelled at by the guy he wouldâve picked on in high school. Heâs no longer in touch with his friends and is a bit lonely.
âOz has become a big success,â Hurwitz continues. âHeâs a sportscaster and has been on Celebrity Dance-Off. He has a beautiful-but-crazy girlfriend, but heâs missing the comforts of home. Kevin is happily married, but his life is neutered. He feels like a housewife who watches The Real Housewives and The Bachelorette.
He needs excitement, and this reunion weekend brings that. Finch, well we all have that one friend from high school who falls off the grid and you donât know if heâs going to show up to the reunion. Finch was one of our favorites. He was unique and could have had any fate.â
âHe could have been the Unabomber or an Internet millionaire,â says Schlossberg. âWe liked the idea of keeping the mystery of what happened to himâthat he is this world traveler who has been out of the country for a period of time. Or at least thatâs what our guys think, and thatâs how he makes it out to be…â
Both men admit that the set was filled with unexpected requests. âI canât tell you how many times we had to pick out womenâs underwear,â laughs Hurwitz. âIt all becomes old news, like figuring out the lid to the pot that covers Jasonâs penis. We went to Jasonâs trailer and saw a puppetry of the penis,â where he was putting his penis in different directions and smashing it, and we had to decide the right angles for the film.â