An Interview with the Team Behind "PROJECT X"
Published: Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Updated: Saturday, March 3, 2012 14:03
You don't know Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, or Jonathan Brown yet. But as the leads in "PROJECT X" (where the characters – Thomas, Costa, and JB, respectively – are named for themselves,) they are poised to make a major impression on anyone who recognizes the power that comes with throwing and insane party. And "X", produced by frat-pack maestro Todd Phillips ("OLD SCHOOL", "THE HANGOVER") is without a doubt the craziest party of the year – from the never-ending nude women who frolic throughout the setting to the fiery conclusion that brings things to a close. Make no mistake - "PROJECT X" is the wildest film of the year thus far. And just like the characters they play in the film, Mann, Cooper, and Brown are about to become very, very popular for it.
The Voice: So, let's get the most important question out of the way first: who hit on the most extras?
Oliver Cooper: You would be shocked by how many women this kid has had sex with. [About JB]
Thomas Mann: Oh god.
Jonathan Brown: Stop that, stop that.
OC: He's a closer.
JB: I'm not gonna comment on that.
OC: He pitches nine innings. For a chubby Jewish kid who looks 14…
JB: That's better than being a chubby Jewish guy who looks 40, ok?
OC: He's got no shame, it's unbelievable. I went to Vegas with him for his 21st birthday…
JB: YOU'RE talking about shame on our Vegas trip? [to me] Have you seen "SHAME" with Michael Fassbender?
The Voice: Of course.
JB: It was just like that.
The Voice: So what's it like doing a nationwide press tour for your first major roles?
JB: It's only day two and it's already like… aah!!
OC: The thing that we say about Jonathan is that a decade ago, he would've been in a mental institution. You know? And nowadays, it's like you're a movie star! If you tried this a decade ago, he'd be…
JB: In a sanitarium.
The Voice: Well you've got Judd Apatow and "AMERICAN PIE" and all them to thank; your look is kind of in vogue right now.
OC: I mean, me neither. I don't know that I would be in a mental hospital, but I definitely wouldn't be in movies.
JB: You'd be an outpatient.
OC: But yeah, all of a sudden it's cool to be an ugly Jewish guy. Thank you, Seth Rogen.
The Voice: So it seems like a lot of stuff got cut out of this movie – did you see any ridiculously long cuts of the finished product?
JB: We did shoot like 80 hours worth of stuff! But the producers were stingy and didn't show us anything until we were almost at the final cut.
TM: There was a LOT that was cut.
OC: We did see clips the whole way, throughout. Starting from like, two weeks after we shot.
TM: We saw dailies while we were filming.
OC: We got a vibe of what the movie was going to be about, but you can never really know…
The Voice: Especially with something like this, where you can cut around things so easily. So what was the craziest thing they asked you guys to do?
TM: Anywhere where I had to dance, really.
JB: Probably getting kicked by a midget…
The Voice: Yeah, about that. Did you all actually have to get kicked in the balls by a midget?
JB: Yeah, and he kicked hard.
TM: That was not fun.
OC: It is a studio movie, so for that it's crazy but there was nothing where I was like "I can't believe they made me do this." I actually heard in "THE HANGOVER", during the taser scene, that Phillips wanted the real reactions and he really wanted to shock those guys, like Bradley Cooper. So then they all flipped out and had to get on the phone with their agents…
JB: A lot of crazy stuff got cut. Like, I don't know if it's still in the movie, but I know at one point we had a shot of a girl peeing…
The Voice: That is in the movie.
JB: And she's actually peeing! Like, I'm surprised that's even allowed in the movie. There was another shot where a kid was drunk, his head was passed out in the toilet, and we had a bunch of people peeing on him. THAT got cut – that didn't make it.
The Voice: And speaking of such debauchery, I have to ask about Todd Phillips. Because even before "OLD SCHOOL" he was dealing with stuff like this, and this is as insane as he has ever gotten. What did he bring to the project?
TM: Man, have you seen "FRAT HOUSE"? [Todd Phillip's documentary on frat hazing]
The Voice: I have not. It's hard to find!
TM: I don't know – for someone who is all about controlled chaos, he was very specific. He knew what he wanted, and if he didn't get it he would tell you right away.
JB: He's a great writer. He came up with some great lines.
OC: Like, when I drop the N-word in the movie – that's Todd. And you know, kids talk like that.
JB: Headline tomorrow: "Oliver Cooper uses n-word, Jesse Jackson demands apology".
The Voice: The coolest part of this movie is that it seems like you guys really fucked that neighborhood up. No CGI on this one?