First up was Skylar Astin. Born Skylar Astin Lipstein, the affable Broadway-bred actor is building up a very respectable resume. A sort of 20-something Paul Rudd-type, Astin has appeared in “Pitch Perfect” with Anna Kendrick, as well as the 2008 comedy “Hamlet 2” with Steve Coogan. His stage CV includes the Tony winning musical drama “Spring Awakening.”
So, one us asked, did making a movie about excessive drinking make the young cast feel like hitting the bars for real after a day of filming, or did it have the opposite result, and were the youthful thespians so tired of pretend-drinking that they had become a bunch of teetotalers?
“No, we’ve been going out for sure. We’re not alcoholics, so we’re not smelling the fake beer, itching ourselves saying, ‘Oh my God, when do I get off?’ But, yeah, the mood is infectious. Shooting in bars and creating scenes where we’re supposed to be having the time of our lives. We’re still working 12 hour days, but we want a release just like anyone else. And we’re actually having a really good time at work. You’re not emotionally drained at the end of the day. You’re kind of ready to hang out.”
He was also quick to praise his first-time directors. “Jon and Scott are the dreamiest people you could ever work with,” he joked on the square. “Seriously, they have inspired so much of my performance… It’s hard to talk about Jon and Scott without sounding like I’m kissing their ass…”
What scene did Astin think was going to be the most talked about moment in the film? Well, a brief moment of aggressive public urination by Jeff Chang was a definite eyebrow raiser, but he was sure it would be “the socks” – i.e., the only article of clothing Astin and Miles Teller are left to wear for a number of relatively lengthy scenes, an apparent homage to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
And what was that very nearly nude scene like to film?
“It’s like ripping a Band-Aid off. You’re worried and, all of a sudden, it’s kind of like anything else. It’s actually kind of liberating. Miles and I were doing this long shot where we have to walk across this huge quad and they have a crane shot. They’re doing it without sound, so we were able to say whatever we feel and we just saying to ourselves, ‘This is awesome, man. I know why nude beaches exist now.’ It’s for the sake of comedy. If it was some weird reason why we were doing this, I don’t know if I’d have agreed to do it.”
Did having a partner in nudity help?, I wondered.
“Me and Miles’ characters go on such a journey, we really are in it together. It’s actually made Miles and I closer…It’s less brutal [that way].”
Speaking of Miles Teller, if you’re looking for someone to bet on at Hollywood Stock Exchange, Teller might be one of the best young ponies on which to wager. Probably best known today as second banana Willard in the 2011 version of “Footloose” – a role he actually played in a high school production – Teller generated some ecstatic reviews at Sundance last month for his work in the upcoming teen romance, “The Spectacular Now.” He launched his film career very credibly portraying a self-effacing, horribly guilt ridden teen opposite no less than Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart in John Cameron Mitchell’s under-viewed “Rabbit Hole.”
In person, “self-effacing” is not the word for young Teller, who was 24 when we met. (His 26th birthday was last week.) Clearly the most energetic guy in most any room, he volunteered that he’s been compared to a young John Cusack and then honestly admitted that he’d never seen a John Cusack movie all the way through; he actually doesn’t sit down to watch movies very often. “The only films that I own are the Indiana Jones trilogy, and I just bought ‘The Bad Lieutenant’ with Nicolas Cage.”
Teller hadn’t seen the original “Footloose,” either, despite the fact that he might be the only person in show business history to play a character in a mainstream Hollywood movie after playing the role in a high school production. In fact, his entire acting career is a sort of classic style showbiz fluke.
“Honestly, I got into acting kind of accidentally. I played baseball year-round, so I really couldn’t do any plays or anything,” he said, explaining that he had gotten his feet wet several years prior playing in school productions of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat” and “Oliver” as a second and third grader. “My buddy, on the way to baseball practice, said, ‘Let’s audition for ‘Footloose.’ I said, ‘Absolutely not.’ [He said], ‘I’ll give you a ride home every day, Miles; if you want to get a ride home, you’ll audition for this.’” The rest was apparently history.
Getting back to “21 and Over,” however, Teller was more than happy to analyze his own character for us. Someone wondered to what degree his character could be described by a commonly used seven-letter word.
“My character is an asshole in the sense that he loves these guys and he’s realizing that the party is almost over. [His friend] is wearing a sweater and a tie. The party’s over…I guess my being an asshole is just me trying to ensure that we have the best night of our lives,” Teller said.
“[As Casey], I don’t think about repercussions and consequences…Maybe I try and cockblock a little bit, because I think the girl is fair game up until you tell me that you’re dating her.”
Teller was happy to discuss a more literal type of cockblocking, when asked if he had any “21 and Over”-style tales of drunken lunacy to share.
“Last time I went down to San Diego, I ended up drinking at a bar. Next thing I know, I wanted to go take a piss on the beach. I guess I face-planted. I just woke up with literally my dick in the sand and a pile of throw-up next to me. As I’m waking up, my buddy 20 feet away from me was waking up at the same time. We must have drank the same shit.”