Jason Biggs: The RT Interview
RT sits down with one of the stars of Over Her Dead BodyOver Her Dead Body. While run-ins with jealous spirits are unfamiliar territory for most mortals, moviegoers can find solace in Jason Biggs' big screen return to his physical comedy roots. A few films and ravaged baked goods away from his role as Jim Levenstein in the American Pie series, Biggs plays Dan, a clumsy, well-intentioned, catering business partner with a cloudy sexual orientation that has stumbled deep into the "friend zone" of the film's main love interest, Ashley [Lake Bell].
RT had the opportunity to sit down with Biggs at a roundtable interview about the film where he discussed his character's sexual survival, his post-American Pie career, an impressive list of hottie co-stars, and upcoming films that could add a few more memorable, some might say outrageous, scenes to his cinematic CV.
What attracted you to the Over Her Dead Body script?
Jason Biggs: Well, for comedies, if you read a script and you laugh, it's funny. If you don't laugh, it's not funny. I laughed a lot and that's a good starting point. I thought for romantic comedies, there is a certain formula that you generally need to stick to and the best romantic comedies will play with that formula a little bit. They'll do their best to be original where they can be and play with things.
While this may be a recurring theme, I feel like Jeff [Lowell, writer/director] put a lot of original ideas and original comedy into it and it just stood out. Part of that is that he [Jeff] is just so smart and edgy. The first scene is Eva [Longoria Parker] getting crushed by an ice angel and it's pretty morbid and dark. You could be like "Is this movie going to be too extreme, too edgy?" But he was able to keep the right amount of edge but keep it accessible, fun, and entertaining I thought.
The role was really interesting for me because it actually was one of the toughest roles that I've done because it was really layered. I'm playing a straight guy who's playing a gay guy because he's in love. I had to figure out what Dan's impression of homosexuality was or how he would want to perform it. It had to be credible. I didn't want to go over the top with it. I didn't want to go stereotypical clichéd places where you'd wonder, "How could you keep up that ruse for five years?" There had to be a bit of ambiguity so it was actually really tough. So the director and I kept talking about it. I kept soliciting his advice and asking his opinion because I was concerned that I either wasn't doing enough or was doing too much. In the end, we decided that less was more and the more subdued the better... The role was interesting for me, I just thought this could be a really, really fun role to play.
Did you do much back story? This guy is in love with this woman for five years, what did he do when he wasn't around her? Swoon?
JB: That's a really good question. I didn't really think about that actually, maybe I should have. Are you saying I should have? What about when he was not with her? Did he have to keep that up? At a certain point did it come habitual for him and he just kept it up everywhere he went? Also, what about how many people did they have in common? How many thought he was gay in her circle or their circle? Interesting... I didn't think about any of that.
What about the sex?
JB: The sex! Is this guy masturbating for five years? Or did he decide, "You know what? What's wrong with a little homosexual sex? Might as well do it, I've got to get some." I mean, what did he do? That's a great question. I'm assuming he just masturbated to Ashley just non-stop. I'm assuming he had plenty of material because they'd go shopping together and she'd be wearing a g-string. I'm assuming he had enough to work with that got him through his five years of abstinence.
One of the great things about the movie is having the surprises of Lake [Bell] and Lindsay Sloane.
JB: Lindsay is one of the funniest people I've ever met. She and I have such an amazing back and forth. We're trying to work with each other again [on a television show]. She's hilarious and I had seen her work before.
Lake, this movie for her could be the sky's the limit. She's got this Julia Roberts quality, you know? Very funny, very pretty, approachable, relatable, sort of not afraid to make a fool of herself. Lindsay is the same way. Lindsay is so much fun. There really is a dearth of funny, pretty, young actresses out there. I mean there's not too many. If you are that? You're psyched. I wish I was a funny young actress.
You do a lot of physical comedy, which is what people have got to know you for from the American Pie movies, are you looking for that in scripts? Or are you trying to get away from that?
JB: No, physical comedy is my favorite thing to do in the world, without a doubt. I was so excited for that scene. I came in that day and Jeff is such a great collaborator and he wanted your ideas and improvisation. He really respected all of his actors and respected the fact that I do physical comedy and love doing physical comedy.
So when I came in that day, we went over the objectives of the scene, but then, he gave me the freedom. In the fall, afterwards, and all of that, he was like, "I'll be back here shooting." I'd be like, "I think I might fall and we'll have the camera pan down." He just gave me that freedom because I love physical comedy.
I love falls and stuff. It's so much fun for me, but I take it seriously. It's a whole choreography that needs to be done and I like going in a little early and scoping out the lay of the land to figure out what I can do and what I might be able to add to it. He [Jeff] gave me that freedom and it was really cool. I love, love, love, physical comedy.
So we can always expect to see doing something like superglue-ing your hand to your balls or something like that in every movie?
JB: Something close to it! Ideally, yes. I imagine there will be films that I don't, but it will probably be a film that I only did for the money.
In the next two movies I'm in, in one, my character shaves his eyebrows off. In another movie, I, among other things, masturbate into a sink. You know, it's what I do. It's my bread and butter.
What are the names of those upcoming films?
JB: My Best Friend's Girl with Dane Cook, Kate Hudson, Alec Baldwin, my character shaves his eyebrows off accidentally. Well, the first one accidentally, the second one... well, you'll see. Then, Lower Learning, with Eva Longoria Parker, we re-teamed and I, among other things, during a flashback to my high school days - ugly prom tux with pimples all over my face - am masturbating into a sink while crying hysterically.
In addition to the physical comedies, you're always in movies with really hot women.
JB: I know.
Is that a coincidence? Or is that you living the best life ever?
JB: That's being the luckiest son of a bitch in this hotel.
Are you and Lindsay an item?
JB: Me and Sloaney? No, she's married. I've got a serious girlfriend. But if not, I would bang her anyway, I think. No, I'm actually really good friends with her husband. So I'm thinking a four-some, a little orgy style might be in order. For now, nothing's happened.
Is your girlfriend in the business?
JB: She is. Her name is Jenny Mollen. She was on Angel for a little while, kind of a sci-fi girl. She's got a couple movies coming out. She's in My Best Friend's Girl as well, has a cool little part in that.
How do you feel about your transition from the American Pie guy to actor Jason Biggs? Are you always going to be proud of the American Pie guy?
JB: I'm totally proud of being that guy. The comedic muscles that I used in those teen movies, I still want to use today in my physical comedy - playing the sort of underdog, all of that stuff I feel like is going to part of my career for as long as people keep hiring me. As far as the genre, the teen movie genre, I'm at an age now where I can't really be a part of that anymore. I'm fortunate that I've been able to make that transition into more young adult or adult comedy, that people are actually hiring me now as a 30 year old as opposed to a 17 year old. So that's good news. As far as the kind of comedies, there will always be a bit of the sophomoric comedy in me. I love that stuff.
Are you keeping in touch with that ensemble cast?
JB: Eddie Kaye Thomas [Finch] is one of my best friends. Chris Klein and I still chat occasionally. He's a great friend. The rest of the cast, I don't talk to as much. My girlfriend is actually friends with Alyson Hannigan from that Buffy/Angel world, so I saw her recently, which is cool because I hadn't seen her in a long time.
For the most part and it's a good thing I guess, everyone's busy kind of doing their own thing and living where they're living, that happens. But whenever we do reconnect, we'll always have that bond. I mean, that was crazy and we all have it shared.
In terms of expectations, when you're going to the movies with your friends, are they expecting you to raise the bar every single time they see you on screen?
JB: I don't know if they're expecting it. They're hoping. I haven't always done that. I think the reality is that the bar was set really high with American Pie. Any movie I've done after that, that people are like, "That was funny," I'm psyched because I know for myself as well, I've set the bar really high and people set it for me.
American Pie, people loved it! I'm so fortunate and if some peoples' opinions are that nothing else holds a candle to that, that's ok with me. I'm proud of that movie. I've since had people come up to me and compliment me and say something like "Saving Silverman is my favorite movie you've done" or this or that, and it's just awesome. That's so cool, you know? As long as I stay employed. I just want to keep working. It hasn't been a hindrance. People asked about being pigeon-holed or type cast, I'm still working. So, I'm lucky. I can't complain.
So you see a steady stream of scripts?
JB: Yeah, some of them are incoming. Sometimes, I have to go after them. The best things, I go after. The things that I really want, I go after them. I'm not afraid to do that or afraid to audition. I grew up doing it since I was five years old, I don't expect anything otherwise. I love it. It's part of my job. It's my livelihood.