The day before the release of 21 & Over, I sat down with the three stars of the sure-fire-quote machine movie of early 2013, Miles Teller, Skylar Astin and Justin Chong, for an insiders look at wild off-camera antics, awkward on-camera moments and obviously, drinking. The flick was everything you’d expect from Hangover super bros, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. The duo debuted their directorial skills with this film, and if you’re a fan of their work, then 21 & Over is worth a gander.
The three up-and-coming actors thrive off each other’s character traits and flaws which make for good ad-libbing, while never losing sight of Jeff Chang, the epicenter of the plot. Usually actors manage to squib playing the drunkard by over acting, but Justin Chon does a somewhat believable job of portraying the belligerent birthday boy. Justin’s strong points come about during the bar scene montage, which had the audience bellowing a sizable amount. Teller’s role as the quick witted instigator, Miller, keeps the comic relief flowing, while carrying the dry, buttoned up and soft, Casey (Astin). Overall the coming of age, college cliche, holds your attention enough for the movie to fly by and definitely holds its own in the comedy realm. I give it 71 zillion out of 95 zillion goats. The movie is funny and you know what to expect. Go see it.
Q. What was a wild story that happened during filming?
Teller: I was run over by a golf cart. At the scene with the pep rally, with the gun and the buffalo, I was sitting in the golf cart, Skylar swerved to avoid an extra and I fell out and he ran my ankle over. I had to go to the emergency room, They thought I shattered my ankle. I did the rest of the movie in a boot. That was f*cking crazy.
Astin: To add to his story, it was on my birthday, so I turned 24 and was so exited to be filming on my birthday and they got me a cake, then I ran Miles over and no one cared about the cake any more. So everyone was like “How’s Miles doing? I heard he’s in the ER” and I was just like… Happy Birthday to me…
You filmed at U of Washington, was school in session while the three of you were running around campus?
Astin:It was summer, but school was in during the end of the movie, so the tube sock scene was filmed while everyone was kind of getting back in.
Did you do any method acting, drinking with some undergrads?
Astin:Dude, I drink. I don’t need much of an excuse to drink. I think thats the best way to bond with people, to just go out and get hammered with them. We did a lot of that, Seattle is a great city to go out drinking.
Seems like the chemistry between you guys was pretty natural, can you relate to your characters in real life?
Astin: Yeah, you can go out with us and realize, “Oh my God, they’re not that good of actors.”. We went out last night and Miles was dancing at a bar that was kind of empty, but was making it look like a legit rave. Justin got kicked out of the bar and I had to find his bag at the end of the night. So there ya go.
There’s your sequel.
Are you an actual break dancer?
Chon: Yeah, I mean I used to be in a breaking crew in high school called Asian Fusion, so that was me in the movie. I’m 31, dude, my back hurts, so I was like I need to see if I can still do this sh*t, but I’ve been breaking since like half my life ago, when I was 15. They actually wanted me to break dance for the car scene, on top of the car, but I said that wouldn’t be funny, I said the robot would be way funnier.
How many takes did it take to complete the throw up scene?
Chon: A lot, man. At first they had this tube taped to the side of my face, but it was just… unhuman, So I was like, lets just do it the old fashion way and I’ll put it in my mouth, and that stuff was gross, Like tapioca and banana pudding and bread pudding. It took so many takes.
There was one take where I threw up and It landed on my face, like all over my face.
How did you get involved with this?
Teller: I originally auditioned for Casey, and in the original screen play Miller was a big Phish fan, so I walked into the interview with a big tie-dye shirt on and told them I thought Miller is really fun and I’d much rather do that, then read with Skylar and Justin and they said lets do it. I probably had 12 auditions. Me and Skylar just clicked immediately, we could ad lib and have fun with it. Then Justin was the only Jeff Chang I read with. Once we carried him, that was it.