‘This One Time at Band Camp’: 15 Trivia Tidbits About the ‘American Pie’ Movies
With four official feature films and a whopping five direct-to-video installments, American Pie might just be the single biggest modern film franchise to cash in on gross-out humor and oedipal jokes. While the 1999 original remains beloved by many a person who was once a horny teen at the turn of the millennia, it has also garnered a lot of criticism since that first feature. In regards to the webcam scene, Shannon Elizabeth (who played the saucy Nadia) told Page Six in 2019, “If this had come out after the #MeToo movement, there would definitely be a problem. I think that it would have gone down differently.”
Whichever way folks today feel about these movies where teenagers are viewed through the lens of dumb, raging puberty, the franchise has endured, and so have those images of Jason Biggs destroying an apple pie. Since it’s July 4th, we collected a bushel of trivia that we heard one time at band camp about the most American of movies…
‘The Fabelmans’ Monkey Is in ‘American Pie’
Bennie’s pet monkey in Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans is the female capuchin monkey actor known as Crystal. She has starred in everything from George of the Jungle and Malcolm in the Middle to The Hangover Part II and Part III and, of course, alongside Blink-182 in American Pie.
One of the Likely Inspirations Behind Stifler Ended Up Killing a Guy
We know; that is one helluva headline. Apparently, Brian Krebs, the man who stabbed a local drummer in a Florida bar in 2011, went to high school with American Pie writer Adam Herz. It’s alleged that Herz partly based Stifler on Krebs, even though he would neither confirm nor deny it following the bizarre murder. “It’s not something I feel comfortable talking about,” he told New Times, saying he was mostly shocked that someone he went to school with committed such a terrible crime.
The Condom Conundrum of ‘American Pie 2’
For the second film, Universal made a product placement deal with Ansell Healthcare, the manufacturer of LifeStyle condoms. The deal included TV commercials that would link the product to the film. It was reported, however, that Universal pulled out (not sorry) at the last minute because the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) did not allow condoms in commercials viewed by general audiences. The company was livid, and its spokesperson released a statement, saying, “Using flagrant sex to sell and entice young people while denying them information about products that can protect them is irresponsible.”
The Full-Frontal Nude Scene That Was Scrapped from ‘American Pie Presents: Girls’ Rules’
Mike Elliot, the director of the 2020 direct-to-video installment, revealed that Zachary Gordon’s character, Emmett, initially had a full-frontal nude scene (with a prosthetic in place) but that Universal ended up cutting it. Elliot called it a classic Hollywood double standard: “Ever since there’s been movie ratings, there’s been this uncomfortableness that applies to male nudity, and not female nudity. It exists at the filmmaker level, the studio level and the ratings board level. I was hoping to break that, but I couldn’t in this case. And I thought it would be great for Zach to do because he was in all of those (Diary of a) Wimpy Kid movies, and it was time for him to finally burst out! Maybe it’ll end up on a director’s cut someday because it’s pretty funny.”
The Writer Wrote and Sold the Script in Less Than Two Months
The initial idea for the movie came from Craig Perry, who ended up as an executive producer on the film. “My old partner and I kept a list of random thoughts, and one of them was about four guys doing everything they can to get laid before they graduate,” Perry has explained. “We gave it to Adam Herz, he had only written a couple of scripts for TV pilots at that point, but we liked his voice. He wrote a draft, and we ended up keeping the first 10 pages, which are the 10 pages where Jim’s parents catch him masturbating into a sock while watching scrambled porn. He rewrote the rest.”
Herz’s spec script for the first American Pie movie landed on the executives’ desks with the title, Unfitted Teenage Sex Comedy Which Can Be Made for Under $10 Million That Studio Readers Will Most Likely Hate But I Think You Will Love (coincidentally, it was made for $11 million). The script spawned an actual bidding war, one that Universal would ultimately win. “I graduated in 1996 from the University of Michigan as a film studies and communications major. I never even considered writing for movies,” Herz told Movieline. “But I started writing the script on December 6th of last year, and it was sold on January 23rd. It’s been like a cliché because it’s gone so smoothly. I’ve tried to keep cool, thinking, ‘This is the way it’s supposed to happen.’”
Chris Klein and Seann William Scott Trained for Weeks to Play Lacrosse
And yet, they still ended up needing stunt doubles for the scene. Scott said that he was horrible at the sport and that the three weeks of training did nothing to help. “It was all sort of for naught — thank God for doubles,” he admitted.
The First Movie Initially Had an NC-17 Rating
Given all the raunch (and there was loads more to start), the MPAA at first slapped the dreaded NC-17 rating onto American Pie, mostly because of the famous scene in which Biggs assaults an innocent pastry. The filmmakers were told to cut some of the filling thumping to get an R-rating.
And to think, the scene wasn’t even in the first script. “It wasn’t in my original draft,” Herz told The New York Times. “There was this line somewhere early in the first act where the kids are talking about rounding the bases of sex. I wanted this line to show Jim’s naïveté but also show, do the other guys know what they’re talking about either? I wrote this line, ‘What does third base feel like?’ And Chris Klein was like, ‘Warm apple pie, dude,’ and he does this gesture. That line always stuck with me.”
Why Chris Klein Wasn’t in ‘American Wedding’
Klein was suspiciously left out of the third film (no way Oz would miss his best buddy’s wedding), and many moviegoers were under the impression the actor had moved on from the franchise. However, fans became puzzled when he popped up in American Reunion. Klein eventually revealed to HuffPost that he would’ve loved to do American Wedding, but he was left out. “I sure wish that they had invited me to play Oz at the wedding,” the actor admitted. “Unfortunately, that was a creative decision made way above my pay grade. Had there been a part there for me to play and a part for Mena to play, and a part for Tara to play, we absolutely would have jumped on board.”
He added that he had zero hard feelings about being left out of the third installment, saying, “That’s not who we are. That’s not how we got cast in these movies. These movies to me, personally, are incredibly special. As not only a willing participant in these movies but also as an audience member. And I cherish my moments in the American Pie franchise, and I’m really grateful that I get to be a part of it.”
A Different Jim Levenstein?
Biggs said that there was another big-name actor at the time who he was sure would get the role of the pie pervert. “It was brutal because the feedback I had gotten was that I was the director’s first choice, but the studio was still potentially holding out for a ‘name’ in the role,” Biggs said. “The name that I was hearing the most at the time was Jonathan Taylor Thomas, who was at the height of Home Improvement fame. There was at least a month where I was just waiting around.”
The Directors Advocated for More Sex Positivity from a Woman’s Perspectives
“We didn’t think we were going to get the job, which actually freed us up to say what we thought we could bring to it,” Chris Weitz explained, saying that he and his brother, Paul Weitz, hadn’t directed anything up to that point (they had just finished writing Antz). “We wanted to make it more palatable to girls. We started from the position that no one had ever done a sex comedy that wasn’t chauvinistic. In American Pie, the girls are in control of, and enjoying, having sex. They’re not just tools for the boys.”
The Body Double for Biggs’ Sex Scene Was Fired
“We hired a body double for a scene where Jason and Alyson get it on,” Paul Weitz revealed during an interview with Bullet Media. “But the body double showed up, and when he stripped down, we saw, like, an 8-inch-long scar across his stomach. Jason ended up doing it in the end.”
Alyson Hannigan (who played Michelle) added, “It was a lot of fun taking Jim’s virginity! On the day of the shoot, I started improvising: ‘What’s my name? Say my name! Say my name, bitch!’ There was no dialogue in the script, just quick shots of us basically tearing the room apart.”
Eugene Levy’s Character Was Originally Way More Creepy
If it weren’t for Levy protesting his original character and the Weitz brothers taking in everything he was saying, Jim’s Dad (Noah Levenstein) would’ve been a real weirdo. “The dad had a little bit of an edge,” Levy once explained. “A little nudge-nudge, wink-wink with the son. So I said, ‘I don’t want to play the character that way, really. I’ve got a problem with it, so maybe I shouldn’t do the movie.’”
The Weitz brothers ended up collaborating with him to hone his character. “All the scenes in American Pie came out of an improvisation,” Levy continued. “I wanted the character to be a real dad. Like a real, corny dad who cares about their children. I wanted to be the kind of parent that the kids didn’t want to hang with. (The original version) was a little creepy. So I made him more square.”
What Was Really in the Pale Ale
It’s the gagging scene where Stifler unknowingly drinks a cup of beer with another man’s juice in it.
When asked during an interview what was really in that drink and what it tasted like, Scott revealed, “It was egg whites, and I really tried not to think about what it was supposed to be. Every time we did a take, I just drank it and pretended it was beer.”
’American Pie 5’ Is in the Works
Pitched by Sujata Day from Insecure, American Pie 5 is reportedly going to be a fresh take on the franchise, with a different cast who has yet to be announced. As reboots go these days, however, it’s likely we might still see a few legacy characters pop by to make some silly joke about baked goods. Of course, there’s also Scott’s idea of finding out what a 40-year-old unchanged Stifler would be up to these days, which, given that he’s unchanged, we probably know already.
Biggs Is Selling Frozen Pies Now
In a move that can only be termed as the film franchise’s “logical conclusion,” Biggs has become the official celebrity endorser of Edwards Desserts and their perky pastries. Together, they came up with their signature delight called Pie Lovers Passion Fruit for the Fourth of July because, in Biggs’ own words, as seen below, “Apple is so 24 years ago.”