Chris Klein, like his “American Pie : Reunion” co-stars, burst onto the scene over a decade ago with his role of a perplexed teenager out to find both love and that ‘warm feeling’ (the other one) in the comedy classic “American Pie”. All these years later, the gang get back together for an ever-so-welcome ‘Reunion’. CLINT MORRIS chats to Klein about returning to Oz.
Why do you think ”American Pie : Reunion” happened – especially after all these years? Why do you think it came about? Was it the script you think?
I’m not smart or savvy enough to even begin to speculate. Those decisions come from way above my head, but I will say the way that it came about and the result, the movie that we have because of the decisions of those up in the upper echelons of Universal green lighting this project, I’m very honoured and grateful that we have this latest piece of the franchise.
I think, as the filmmakers say, the time factor has done it good too. Whereas first three films were just punched out, this came 12 years later?
Thirteen? Wow. So when you got the script for this, there was something there for you to do? A reason to return?
There was more than that, there was more than that. I give Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, the writer/directors of this movie all of the credit. They built a beautifully crafted screenplay that matched totally what Chris Paul Whites achieved in the very first… So if we take away the brand, and if we take away the franchise, and if we take away the profit margins, and get back to what was it in the beginning, that was Jon and Hayden’s goal. That’s what they pitched to me when they there in the midst of writing this. And I believe when I read the shooting draft of the script, the production draft that I got, that’s what was in there.
I could feel palpably in my heart the same feelings that I felt when I was 18 years old within that first movie and I thought there’s something here and there’s something in this part and I want to play it and I’m going to go fight to try and play it and here we are.
Yeah. I totally agree with you. It really does have that balance of the silly and sweet down pat- as the first film did. And I think that’s why this one works where the other sequels failed. And this is what you felt something again, I think for these characters, you know? Not cartoons or it wasn’t about money and everything else you just felt this was a nice movie again to remind you it’s the real people.
I hope so, I’m really grateful that you say that because not just as a willing participant of these movies but as a fan of these movies. That’s what I want and so to hear to that is tremendous.
Did you work out for this movie?
Yeah. I’m 32 years old and I’ve always been interested in fitness, always been, as an actor, always concerned with staying fit. But as a young man, and we all know, when you’re 22, it’s easy, it’s easy and you might not have to do anything. When you’re 32, its time to start worrying.
And it’s now or it’s never and I believe that. And when it’s time to change habits or when it’s time to up your game there’s only one way to do that, and that’s to get off your ass. I spent a couple of years reading magazines like Ironman, in the States, Men’s Health and I love those magazines. I’d read them and I’d say, “Oh, that’s interesting. Oh, that looks like a really good workout.
“Oh, yeah look at that. That’s a smart thing. Oh yeah, eight hours of sleep, that’s probably a good idea. Oh yeah, protein the right mix, plenty of green vegetables, lots of water, Yeah, good. Those are all good ideas.” You don’t get it by fucking reading it.
You could read it all you want, you’ve got to get out there and do it. And the hip-hop dancing, look, I’m a 32-year-old man, six feet, one-inch tall, attempting 22-year-old moves that dudes who are five-foot four do. Funny shit to try.
I’ll try anything once. And what amazed me about it is I was doing some bulking at the time, I wanted to put on man arms, I wanted to put on man legs. I wanted to find a bit of chiseling here. I wanted to compete with these guys not because I want to be in a fitness competition…
But because I’ve… Listen, you know, I want that in my portfolio. I want to be able to say, “You want that? I can give you that.” I can never say that before. And it was time for that. And then hip-hop dancing, what I found was… Guess what? We don’t have any fast twitch muscle. In our lives we are not required to have any fast twitch muscle.
I could not do it. I didn’t have the fast twitch. I needed to develop the fast twitch. Now all I think about is fast twitch because what we’ll learn is that when you organize your programs to utilize your fast twitch muscles, all of a sudden your body is really grateful for so many reasons.
Now, I’m not a scientist, but what the experts in the muscle mags say is right. It’s right and if you read it, the next step is to get off your ass and do it. I had a wonderful opportunity to meet a couple of the players on the Magpies the other day. These are legitimate athletes. Australian rules football, you need two things, you need height and you need speed… Sorry, three things, and you need to be tough as shit.
Okay, so you need to find tall men with athletic ability who have speed and toughness. Wow, you take a look at these blokes and you say, “These guys are fucking athletes.”
And know not all of us can play Australian rules football at all but we can work out the way they do.
Oh yeah sure.
We can work out the way they do. And guess what? If we do, we’re gonna get some fast twitch. We’re going to find some lean muscle. We’re gonna lose fat.
That’s what’s gonna happen. So, and then…
Are you still working out?
Yeah, I do. Yeah, there’s gyms in the hotels. I use them. There’s… We’re on the Yarra River, right? We are. There’s a walkway, a beautiful… In front of the river. That’s cardio.
When I look at that nowadays, sure there was a time where I was in my 20s and I was having a lot of fun, there’s a time for that. And I would see the pubs and the restaurants and say, “Look at the river walk.” Now I’m 32, I see cardio. I see a great place to do a cardio.
And that’s a natural shift that for me as a man I needed to make for my health and I needed to do it sooner than later. And I did it and the results are I’m thrilled with it. And nothing is free. You got to do the work.
You do. You do.
Have you found that exercising has helped you destress?
It’s an outlet. There’s no question about it. And it’s a wonderful outlet and it’s a healthy outlet. I eat better. I sleep better. I feel better. I fuck better.
Listen, that one alone…
Fellows reading this, that one alone, if that’s not enough, then… Yeah, you know what I mean?
My quality of life today is better and… But it’s growing up, isn’t it, too, there’s that aspect of it. We become professionals at whatever we do. We get married. We have children, some of us. That’s not my experience. My experience is unique. I travel. I’m traveling. I need to be cognizant enough, “Okay, you know what, I had the pappardella yesterday, a big plate of it, a heaping plate of it. It was wonderful. Wagyu beef, ragu in there, delicious. Tonight, I’m gonna have some white fish and steamed vegetables,” then to find that balance. And when the experts advised the men, say, “Guys, if you want to build muscle, you need to eat your body weight times two grams of protein. If you’re a 200 pound man, you have to eat at least 200 grams of protein.” It’s not a myth. And then, when we actually do it and we find out how hard that is, that’s what separates the men from the boys. That’s where the rubber meets the road and that’s where the guys that get it, and that guy that you see in the gym and you say, “Fuck, he’s fit,” where the rubber meets the road. He said, “That’s tough and yeah, I’m gonna do it.” And that’s… There’s a lot of competition out there.
Well, look, the next action here is sitting across from me.
Man, no, listen, listen, thank you for saying that. Look, I also want to add too, you don’t have to be an actor. I mean, my trainer, Jon Shane, who I have to give all the credit to in the world, he told me… He said, “We don’t stop playing because we get old. We get old because we stop playing.” So…
For me today playing — surfing, swimming, hiking, biking, mountain or road, skateboarding — that beautiful morning cardio on the R river, which I’m gonna… My goal, and I’m gonna do it, is I fly home tomorrow, I’m gonna make sure to plan my day to get one more in. First of all because it’s a merit badge. The other day, I took a cardio around the Sydney Opera House.
I’m sorry. I’m an American. Okay? That’s fucking awesome.
And because finding the love within the exercise, you find something you love, you’re gonna stick with it.
AMERICAN PIE : REUNION is out April 5