After watching Project X, it’s fair to say that absolute mayhem never looked so fun. The ingredients? A dash of Superbad here, a little Cloverfield there, and many sweaty teenagers everywhere and voila you have the craziest party ever recorded. Penned by Matt Drake and Michael Bacall of Scott Pilgrim fame, and produced by The Hangover director Todd Phillips, Project X is a compulsively entertaining experiment in the teenage party drama.
It’s hard to believe that the film has any planning at all as many of the scenes are carried out with the utmost spontaneity and natural fervor by its young and talented protagonists. Project X follows three teen buddies, Costa (Oliver Cooper), Thomas (Thomas Mann) and J.B. (Jonathan Brown), who document the making of the wildest party of their lives.
With tons of bare breasts, clouds of weed smoke, and ecstasy fuelled dance sequences, Nima Nourizadeh’s feature film debut acts more like a document of the ferocious partying appetites of teens today. I had the change to sit down with Mann, Cooper, and Brown to discuss wild parties, being first time actors, and getting your head slashed open.
B: What was it like being involved in the film? What has the reaction Project X been likeso far?
Jonathan: It’s interesting because Project X is an event film, but it’s almost like a small scale disaster movie on one block, instead of a cataclysmic film where the world blows up and John Cusack escapes. It’s as if you took this disaster and put it on a block, and then you mixed that with the found footage genre and awesome teen comedies, and turned that all up to eleven. It really is an awesome experience to be part of that.
Thomas: We had such an amazing time making it [Project X] and the energy on set was always so high. A lot of people say they’re exhausted after they watch it and I think that’s kind of accurate because it’s so fast paced in such a little amount of time.
Jonathan: I knew things went well when I guy went up to me while I was peeing and said “awesome job”.
B: Did you find anything disturbing about the scenes of wildness in the film?
Jonathan: I think it’s a comedy until you turn thirty five, and then it’s a horror movie.
Oliver: I don’t see it as disturbing, but if someone’s parent had a kid like that [Oliver’s character Costa], I would be like ‘that kid sucks’. But I don’t think it’s disturbing. It’s a movie, and at the end of the day it’s a movie.
B: Did you guys draw from any of your high school experiences?
Thomas: A little bit, but the energy on set was enough to believe that we were having a party. We had a DJ on set and he was playing even between takes, and all the extras were dancing all the time anyway. It was harder to play the times when I had to be the party pooper.
B: Most memorable scene?
Thomas: The roof. That was fun.
Oliver: I liked the tasering scene, I always thought that was a lot of fun. Honestly anything with the young kids (Tyler and Brady), I really enjoyed being part of.
B: Did you guys have a lot of rehearsal time?
Thomas: Yeah, rehearsals most days, and there was a lot of time we spent re-writing scenes and finding out what worked, and kind of writing it specifically for our voices.
Jonathan: We had a script and a story that was written by Matt Drake and Michael Baccal that was awesome, but we also had on set writer who basically worked with all of us, Nima, and Todd Philips. It was cool because they managed to mould the script to our characters, but also let us play and have fun which is really rear and unique.
B: How much of the film was improvised?
Oliver: They gave a lot of freedom in rehearsal and what was originally supposed to be shot, and what I had practiced at home, would change on a daily basis. Todd Phillips doesn’t really do that much improvisation with shooting, even for The Hangover.
Jonathan: Yes and no.
Thomas: There was some-
Jonathan: We all disagree on this question, that’s why it’s tough. I would say it was about seventy to scripted and thirty to improv.
B: Did you guys do a lot of your own stunts?
Jonathan: I actually had a stunt guy who was in his late 50’s for the treadmill scene in the house. He told me that he had actually done the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre in the 70’s. There are not a lot of stunt guys who are in their 20’s who look like me. As a stunt man, usually at the beginning of your career you need to be in shape and what happens three years down the line is subjective.
B: How hard was it to play up the comedy in the film while pretending to be hammered?
Thomas: That was actually one of the toughest things, because you’re in this environment where pretty much everyone is having a good time (we did night shoots for about five weeks) and a lot of the extras were getting to know each other, it started to feel like an actual party. Like I said it was harder to play the times when my character was stressed out.
Oliver: For him (Thomas) it was harder because he was carrying a lot of the story and there was much more consequence. For my character it’s one note most of the time. Once we started shooting nights we shot the whole party in order and it got exhausting. By the end I looked like crap.
Jonathan: I wouldn’t recommend throwing a five week party of your own.
B: Where do you think the inspiration for the film came from?
Thomas: Well they did research parties that had happened and real stories.
Jonathan: There was a thing a couple years ago called ‘Kate’s Party’, where some girl made an invitation to her birthday party on Facebook and something like 2000 people showed up. Not because they knew her, but because she made it public. Things like that happen you know.
B: Any accidents on set?
Jonathan: Oliver has the pimp cup, the chalice, and one night on set he was shaking it and I was under him and the bottom of the cup sliced my head. I required on set medical attention, a lot of blood, a lot of liquid band aid.
Oliver: It was a cut, a minor cut.
Jonathan: He just feels guilty about the cranial damage I received.
Oliver: Please, we were standing on a truck and there were so many people pushing the tuck. I couldn’t believe it and the energy of these people really rubbed off on me.
Jonathan: So much that he felt like slicing my head open.
Project X is in theatres March 2nd