Even star of the show Eugene Levy admits that he was shocked to hear the American Pie team were making another outing, their fourth, onto the big screen.
But Levy, a familiar face as Jim's Dad from the Pie series as well as a comedy stalwart in Bringing Down the House, Father of the Bride II, and the more offbeat delights of Best in Show and For Your Consideration, reveals he was pleasantly surprised when he got hold of the script for American Pie: Reunion, the fourth in the series that started way back in 1999.
Eugene Levy in American Pie: Reunion with his screen son Jim (Jason Biggs)
I had trepidation, because I didn't know exactly how they were going to stretch this thing into yet another instalment. So I had a lunch with the writers, and they told me what they were planning, and I got very excited.
These two guys were huge fans of the original American Pie, they loved the franchise and were very protective to make sure that this movie was not going to be just another Pie, but as funny if not funnier than the very first one.
Levy's character - Jim's Dad - is a widower in this fourth instalment, based - as it sounds - around the reunion of the class of '99, whom we first met over a decade ago. This has pleased Levy no end...
"I thought, 'Woah, that's interesting.' The reason it's so brilliant is it created some great comedic paths for this character - he's now single, and may be able to go out and start dating, which tickled me. It kept it fresh, gave me things to do that I'd never got the chance to do before.
"It also turned the tables with me and my son. He takes the reins now, and gives me a pep talk, telling me that it's ok to start going out, that enough time has passed. He becomes the philosopher spouting lines that I used to spout."
Jim's Dad (Eugene Levy) finds himself in a whole load of unchartered territory this time around
This new set-up gives Levy the chance to share more screen time with his on-screen son Jim, played by Jason Biggs, a young man of whom Levy admits he is very fond...
"I was telling him this today," he chuckles. "My familial feeling was there for him from the very first day, before we started shooting the first American Pie, when we improvised all the scenes together. I was shocked that this kid looked like he could be my son, he's a dead ringer, and the second thing he was so eager and adept at improvising and just such a loveable kid, that a bond was there from the very beginning."
... and this film finds the tables turned, with Jim's Dad the one receiving advice from the younger generation
The rest of the crew, Levy usually only got to see on "press junkets, passing in hallways". That's all changed this time around, with the whole team travelling around together "jumping on London busses... I've never felt like such a tourist... we passed a big tall pointy building earlier... amazing."
This new off-screen bonding is reflected in the film, too - with writers ensuring that every single character from the original films is included. Does that mean, then, that American Pie: Reunion will be the very last we see of these people, or is another one already in the tank?
"For me, it's a long shot," reflects Levy. "But they said the third one would be the last, so I guess it comes down to money, and if this one's successful. But I know there's a real audience fondness for these characters, so I wouldn't be shocked..."
American Pie: Reunion is available on DVD now. You can see all your favourite American Pie characters in action on our gag reel below...
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