A charismatic comedic actor, Seann William Scott earned his loyal following of post-adolescent fans with likeable, bawdy hits like the American Pie (1999) franchise and Dude, Where's My Car (2000). He's also enjoyed successful detours into family films, voicing Crash in Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (2006) and has suggested that there's depth behind his Cheshire cat-like grin with several dramatic indie turns, in Mr Woodcock (2007) and The Promotion (2008). And yet he remains most popular for co-starring roles in sparring buddy comedies like The Rundown (2003) opposite Dwayne The Rock Johnson, the reboot of The Dukes of Hazard (2005) and, most recently, taking top billing in Role Models, opposite Paul Rudd. The film was a critical and commercial smash, taking over $65 million in the US alone.
You clearly had a lot of fun with Paul Rudd on Role Models, an amusing guy.
I loved working with Paul. He's a great guy. He's also an interesting guy, very bright, so I guess he's always thinking whereas I am stupid. I think about one thing only, women. That's also my only gift. It's my one superhero power.
You get to ogle a fair few women in the movie.
I did touch the blonde teacher a little bit. There's a scene where I'm taking this girl from behind, at the beginning, when I'm pouring alcohol down her throat. I think that should be in the deleted scenes on the DVD. I'm having sex with her, bent over a copy machine, and I'm wearing a Minotaur outfit, which is so wrong. The director was like, 'Have you ever seen a guy doing a girl doggie style, in a Minotaur outfit in a comedy?' We thought that was a little too weird - and I was mooing. I really hope it makes the DVD.
In this movie you're naked, dressed a chipmunk, a Minotaur and Kiss. Which was the most excruciating?
I'm just a glorified clown in this movie! It was definitely the Minotaur outfit. It was terrible. I was like, 'Where is my double? Why don't you get a guy with my build, I'll show him what to do, and that'll be fine!' You really can't move that much in there, but maybe this was my time to be a Method actor, to do my Brando! But the Kiss outfit was a little shitty, too, because we had to do the Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs 'dick-tuck', where you shove your balls between your legs, otherwise your kibble and bits are falling out of the ensemble. I really don't know how those guys manage - it's so uncomfortable.
Are you a Kiss fan? You look a rock'n'roll kind of guy.
I love the Rolling Stones. In fact, I thought that my character should be really into the Stones, but credit to the director because the stuff with Kiss works so well for the end piece. Also, for the scene with the kid about Love Gun; it's such a perfect way to connect to the kid, to talk about Paul Stanley's dick and that he's going to get more girls on his dick, and the kid's like, 'Yeah!' So the director was a huge Kiss fan. I quite like them now.
Did anyone get hurt in the battle sequences with the foam swords?
I don't know. I was only in the end scene. I never saw them film those first two scenes and I was like 'What the hell is this? This is so bizarre' which is great for the character, and then I was like 'I want to do this. I really want to rock people.' I would probably add some things in my foam axe to make it hurt a little bit more. It's kind of like the batter who adds a little cork in his bat to get a little bit more power. I would not be able to hold back. I remember just walking into this, and these people are serious about it. I don't begrudge them at all because I think it would be kind of great to whack people with foam swords.
Excluding your parents, who were your role models when you were growing up?
My brother, the one who helped start The Onion newspaper, and he was an athlete too, and a film and theatre major. He was so a role model. As regards sportsmen and things, I'd have to say Michael Jordan. Growing up in the US, he was just so huge, and so inspirational. My role model now is of course George Bush. Gosh, aren't I funny!
Does it feel weird having to swear in front of young children, like you do in the movie?
No, it feels great. That's the only reason I did the film! No, seriously, I do swear in front of my nephew, he's eight, which is a bit wrong. Although saying that I did make him watch Role Models three times, and American Pie. It's my brother's kid. And with the movie, the swearing is I guess one of main gimmicks, but I never thought it'd be so funny to hear this kid shout, 'Fuck you, Miss Daisy.' My family was so foul-mouthed that I didn't think twice when they were shooting the scene, but when I saw it in the theatre, and heard this kid swear like that, it did sound really funny. Maybe I should write a movie where all the kids do is swear!
Have you ever thought about writing a movie for real?
I'm actually working on one, a mockumentary called Jackpine Savages. It take place in Minnesota, where I'm from, and it's about ice-fishing, which is a really big thing there, and it's the most ridiculous pastime ever. It seems like a funny environment. It's the same format as a lot of mockumentary. I love The Office, the BBC version, and the Christopher Guest stuff, especially Best in Show and Waiting for Guffman. Working with [regular Christopher Guest collaborator] Jane Lynch on Role Models was amazing. She was the best comedienne ever, and I love Fred Willard. And of course I worked with Eugene Levy on American Pie, and I've worked with Jennifer Coolidge, so that's four of the Christopher Guest troupe! They're masters at improvisation - and it's something I like to do. Especially with my character in the film, I kind of know him! I might just have played characters like him before!
Talking of improvisation, did the director, David Wain, encourage that? It's not his natural habitat.
Actually, he became that way during the film. And he did a great job with the script - and we improvised at least 50 per cent of the stuff between Paul and me. It's often strange with a writer-director, because usually you have to try and convince them really hard that the stuff you're doing is better than what they wrote. But David wasn't so like that - although there were times you could tell that he really wanted to get his version in at least once! He was really collaborative and the movie benefited from that, because it feels fun. And a lot of people have said that the film feels very spontaneous, even when we're bang on the script, so that's been a nice compliment.
Was American Pie the first time you tried improvisation?
Yes it was. And since then, what I'll often do is try to write different ideas based on what is in the script already. Then I'll try and get those in, and they in turn will lead to something else. For example, we have the scene where I'm talking about the 'get out of jail free' card, which is David's line. But that led to me saying that Monopoly is based on real events, like 'Chance'. So we have just those two improvised lines, but they really help the scene. And of course, Paul improvises a lot and has a completely different delivery and jibe. I never really was a comedy guy growing up, so I'm no Eugene Levy.
Quite a few of your screen characters are pretty childish. Are you a bit like that yourself?
I think it's 50/50. I still feel like a kid but I think the only thing that I really share.I think a lot of guys are probably like Wheeler, you know, a lot of guys are just inappropriate guys-guys. There's an element of what I wanted to add just so he's not a Stifler rip-off. I think the big comparison between those two characters is that he swears all the time, he likes girls, he's a party guy. But he really is pretty optimistic. He doesn't really do anything bad in the movie. I mean, seriously, I was like, 'He's not really that bad of a guy'. He's been thrust into this situation and all he does is kind of leave this kid to hook up with a girl for five minutes. You know, is that terrible?
Probably! You've stepped outside comedy, with the likes of Mr Woodcock and The Promotion. Do you want to do more serious-minded movies?
Yeah, sorry about Mr Woodcock! But I liked The Promotion. Some people really liked it, some hated it; it divided opinion in the US. It has that vibe when people see that it's John C. Reilly and me that it's going to be some big, broad comedy. But it's a very simple story and my father was dying when we were making it, so it was very moving for me, personally. I do prefer those movies, but I'm not sure people want to see me in those movies.
Role Models is out in the UK on DVD 11th May 2009.
Click here to watch the trailer
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