Chris Klein talks American Reunion
Thirteen years ago, the world was introduced to the embodiment of teenage insecurity, an awkward high-schooler named Jim Levenstein. Him and his friends set out to lose their virginity in the very first American Pie film in 1999. Now, in American Reunion, Jim and his friends are all grown up and living the adult lives they were so desperate for in high school, but it seems like there is no shaking their pasts.
Chris “Oz” Ostreicher (Chris Klein) has made a name for himself as a sports caster in Los Angeles, but when he goes back to East Great Falls, it’s back to the same feelings he’s had for Heather for thirteen years. Chris Klein talks about the parallels between himself and Oz and what he thinks Oz will be up to until the next East Great Falls High reunion.
CK: Hi Alexandria, how are you?
AG: I’m good, how are you?
CK: I’m doing just fine, thank you.
AG: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me today!
CK: It’s my pleasure! How is it down there in Houston?
AG: It is hot. It’s about 104 degrees today, so..
CK: Oh my goodness! Well, stay cool! I know Houston a little bit. My brother and sister-in-law used to live there. My brother used to work with Amegy Bank, so I’ve been down there quite a bit. It’s a beautiful town you’ve got there.
AG: Yeah, I love it, minus the heat.
CK: You bet.
AG: Okay, so talking about American Reunion, I’m guessing it was kind of like a reunion in itself being back with the rest of the cast, especially since you didn’t get to be in American Wedding because of what I understand were scheduling conflicts. What was it like being back together with everybody?
CK: It was absolutely fantastic to get together with all of these guys and these wonderful, talented girls in this franchise. Being a part of one movie or not, it doesn’t matter. Any time that I have the opportunity to get together with these guys, to work underneath the American Pie franchise banner, is a really exciting time, because it’s going to be fun. There are nine people specificially that know exactly what it’s like to go through the very first American Pie. We share an incredibly unique experience early on in all of our careers, and to come back a decade later and to really celebrate that with the help of two huge fans of the franchise in John Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, the writers and directors of American Reunion, they led us all in the right direction and came up with really, really beautiful ideas for every character. Anybody that missed American Reunion in the theaters will pick up the DVD on July 10th and see that what we’re doing is truly celebrating that very first movie which really captured the hearts and minds of America.
AG: Did you go to any of your high school reunions, and if you didn’t, what do you feel like they would be like?
CK: Oh man, unfortunately I was unable to attend my high school reunion, and I really wish I could’ve gone. It would’ve been a lot of fun. I talked to a couple guys that I am still in touch with from high school, and they said as much, that they had a ball. It was pretty laid-back, and I think it would be fun. I really am grateful that I have the opportunity to stay in touch, more than social networking but actually talking on the phone, which is a lost art in this country, with some friends that I grew up with. I think that any time that my close pals and I get together, it’s like no time has gone by at all. It’s a lot like when I meet up with Jason Biggs, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Thomas Ian Nicholas, and Seann William Scott to make these movies. What’s really cool about the American Pie franchise, more than any other that I’ve ever worked on, these really imitate life for me, and for all of us, in a way that’s incredibly special. I really think that translates to the audience, and that’s one of the reasons they really get a kick out of it. You know, so many people buy these DVDs – buying DVDs is kind of a lost hobby – and these DVDs fly off the shelves, as they will July 10th, because these are movies that hold a special place in people’s hearts, as rituals like reunions do, and that’s a pretty cool thing that we’re able to capture.
AG: Speaking of getting back together with all of the guys, out of all of the characters in the American Pie movies, Oz included, who do you think you would’ve been friends with in high school?
CK: Oh, you know what? My personal experience tells me that I probably would’ve been friends with all of these guys. I was kind of one in high school that wore a whole lot of different hats. Personally, I played sports, and then I was in the drama club. I swam on the swim team, and then I was in the jazz choir. In the late 90s when Adam Herz wrote the character of Oz and I got a hold of the script and gave it a read, I said, “I really know how to play this guy, because we have a very, very similar experience.” With all of these characters, the way that the casting went in that first American Pie was so special, because Joseph Middleton, the casting director, and Chris and Paul Weitz, the directors of first American Pie, really were able to find actors that not only had incredible comedic timing and were able to bring gravity to these characters, but they were really able to capture an essence that they were looking for that lends itself to the tone, which is the reason I believe the movie translated so well in the late 90s and will again today. Three generations of American Pie fans later, it’s really incredible how these movies continue to emulate peoples’ experiences, especially the original American Pie fans, who either have just gone through their 10-year high school reunion or are about to. It’s a pretty cool thing and pretty astute timing by Universal and the guys this time.
AG: Going back to yourself in high school, were you voted anything when you graduated? If not, what would you have wanted to be voted?
CK: You know, I was actually voted Most Likely to be Famous.
AG: Oh wow, so really life imitating art, huh?
CK: It is pretty ridiculous, and a whole heck of a lot of fun. Back in those days, when I was 18 years old, I had a very quiet secret that I really dreamed of going to Hollywood and being in the movies. To be able to see that through and still be here almost 15 years later is a really, really true blessing that I’m grateful for every day.
AG: These American Pie movies are always filled with several of you doing some really ridiculous and embarrassing things, so what do you feel is the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever had to do as Oz? Did you ever have a really embarrassing moment like that in high school?
CK: I kind of see it like in this franchise, I get off pretty easy playing the character of Oz. He doesn’t necessarily get into anything too, too crazy. I will tell you, though, for American Reunion, Oz is involved in a dance competition show, a lá Dancing with the Stars, and I had to train in hip-hop dancing. I’m not going to lie to you, that is incredibly hard work. Thank goodness it’s a comedy, because my dancing skills definitely leave something to be desired, but I had a really, really great time doing that. I remember with John Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, the writers of American Reunion, pitched me that idea, I just thought that it was the coolest thing. It makes sense! If Oz has garnered a little bit of B-list celebrity being a sportscaster in Los Angeles, it stands to reason that he would do something like that, to really want to compete and try and win it. That’s his good-natured style, and that was really fun to prepare. Actually, as the fans will see when they pick up the DVD on July 10th, there should be some beautiful bonus feature of me hip-hop dancing, which I’m really excited to see, because I haven’t seen it yet myself. It’s probably pretty ridiculous.
AG: This movie sees these really famous and relatable characters 13 years later. What would you say Oz has in store for him five to 10 years from now?
CK: You know what, I really don’t know. I think that it’s very funny, because those kinds of decisions, what happens with Oz, I can kind of have ideas, but Universal does such a great job of hiring such talented writer/directors that pitch me such greater ideas than I have, which is probably why I’m not a writer myself. Like John Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg that pitched the entire Oz story-line and did such a beautiful job with that, I’ll definitely let those talented individuals deal with that. Although I will say, I have a pretty good idea, that if we’re talking just five or 10 years, I think that Oz and Heather sure do try to make it work this time.
AG: Well thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me! I loved American Reunion, so I’ll definitely be getting that DVD.
CK: Terrific! Well, thank you very, very much for having me on. I really appreciate it, thank you!