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INT: Chris Klein

11.23.2005

Chris Klein has come a long way since he first shone as a dim, affable jock in Alexander Payne’s ELECTION. On second thought, he really hasn’t. Other than the well-regarded AMERICAN PIE, his resume is comprised primarily of mediocre films like SAY IT ISN'T SO, ROLLERBALL and the AMERICAN PIE sequels. He looks to buck that trend this week with his latest project, the romantic comedy JUST FRIENDS.

Chris stopped by The Regent Beverly Wilshire last week to talk about his experience making the film. Check it out.

Chris Klein

What was it like working with your co-star Ryan Reynolds?

I thought it was great. Ryan has wonderful comedic timing. He has a wonderful feel for what’s going on on the set and how to deliver the scenes and make them work. This was a really cool opportunity for a couple of us actors to go out to the middle of nowhere, leave our egos at home and come to work everyday to make it the best we could. And I think we did. It was fun. It’s always fun to work with somebody with solid comedic timing, because it gives you the opportunity to really be able to have a pinball match, so to speak, with the words that you’re saying. Which is a unique opportunity in film. It doesn’t happen all that often on a film set.

All of us up there became friends. We became a cohesive unit. It was a special opportunity that doesn’t happen in movies all that often. And the reason I know that is because it’s happened on some; it doesn’t happen on most. So I was really gracious for the time I spent with Ryan and Amy.

What did you think Ryan when you first saw him wear the fat suit?

I thought it was great. I thought they did a tremendous job. Those kinds of things are so hard to pull off and make it real. You really cannot pull out any stops and you have to take the time to get those things right or they’re gonna look fake. And once it (looks) fake, the audience is going to be taken right out of it. Once the audience jumps out of a movie because they don’t buy something, it’s very hard to win back their respect in the latter parts of the movie. So it’s such an important thing that it does pay off, especially cause it’s on all of the covers. (laughs) It better be real.

Your character writes a song for a girl. Have you ever done anything like that?

My skills on a guitar – or a piano, for that matter – are novice at best. Just novice enough to where I could get the four main chords that I needed in this to be able to play it just very loosely. My relationship with a guitar is definitely a love/hate where I find it hard to be patient enough to really learn it. I just want to pick it up and play, and as everybody knows, trying to do that on a guitar – especially as an older person – is more difficult than it looks.

You character goes through a significant transformation after high school. Have you ever reinvented yourself?

I don’t think it was as much of a reinvention as it was a growth. Growing up in high school, I was a bit of late bloomer, speaking pubescently. It took me a while to grow up and a lot of my buddies during that time surpassed me in physical prowess and all that sort of thing. I had braces; I was missing my front tooth. It was kind of disgraceful. But I turned it around, grew up, hit the weights. My voice finally dropped to an appropriate range. (laughs) And I moved on with my life.

Did you have any experiences in high school like your character did?

No, my experience was not like that. I was pretty darn popular in high school once I got the braces off.

And your front tooth?

Yeah, I got my front tooth back. I had a real positive experience, which I feel real gracious about, because as you grow up and meet new people, you find out that out a lot of times that’s not true. And you know, high school kids can be really mean and obnoxious and I was lucky to not have to deal with a whole lot of that stuff.

So you didn’t spend a lot of time in the “friend zone”?

No, I did not. I had a pretty consistent girlfriend in high school and she absolutely didn’t put me in the friend zone. It was the bed zone, but not the friend zone. (laughs)

Have you ever been in a situation where you’re competed with another guy over a girl?

No. I’ve never had much competition. I remember girls competing over me, which was very exciting, to say the least. Any guy in here knows what I’m talking about. Maybe girls do too. I’ve never had this particular…and this is a very quirky idea, because at the end of the day, Dusty doesn’t care about her at all and doesn’t care if he loses her at all. He’s like, it is what it is. You’re not gonna give me the time of day and lay down for me, well, somebody else in this town will because I’ve got this thing that’s working, you know? And I think it brings the movie full circle, to have this dude be so shallow and you think – if the execution plays right in the movie – you think that this is a justifiable competition for Ryan. And the turn is a surprise when I’m not that guy. That’s where the movie lies and that’s where the jokes happen, so hopefully we were able to execute that.

Would you ever see THE NOTEBOOK for a girl?

Actually in college I was taking girls to Shakespeare in Love, so I know about that whole thing. I get it. I understand that ploy and that game does work really well. (laughs)

So what’s your own take on The Notebook?

I love Ryan Gosling. I worked with him on United States of Leland. He’s an incredible actor. And the actress in it, Rebecca…

Rachel McAdams.

Rachel McAdams, yes. Another fine actress. Two of my peers in this business. And I think they made a solid movie, I really do. All jokes aside.

Did you cry?

No. (laughs)

Would you pretend to cry for a girl?

Not for a girl. I don’t think so.

That’s where you draw the line.

Yeah. You know, if whatever we were doing called for a cry, then hopefully I’d fell it organically. (inaudible) Although, to cry in front of a girl has never been one of my strong suits. I’ve always kind of kept that to the wimps and the other girls.

What can you tell us about American Dreamz?

What do you want to know?

What’s it about?

American Dreamz is a really cool satire, written and directed by Paul Weitz and their company, Depth of Field, in association with Universal. And this movie is a real satirical take on the life and times of the producers of the show American Idol. And in our movie, American Idol is changed to American Dreamz and it’s gotten so out of proportion that the President of the United States is gonna be a celebrity judge at the finals. And at the same time, the Mujahideen has found a way to get a suicide bomber into the finals to blow up the President during his number.

So it’s a real wacky take on what’s happening in the world right now and what’s happening in entertainment right now. I remember when I first read the script, I called Paul Weitz immediately and said, “No way. They’re not gonna let you make this movie,” and he goes, “Oh, we’re making it. The money’s in the bank. Are you in?” I’m like, “Well, if the money’s in, I’m in. Let’s make this fucking movie.” (laughs) So we did and it was a ball. Hugh Grant’s in it. Dennis Quaid, Marcia Gay Harden, Willem Dafoe – some really tremendous talent. I was really stoked to be a part of that.

Questions? Comments? Manifestos? Send them to me at [email protected].

Source: JoBlo.com

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