The Hot Seat: Seann William Scott
He doesn't mind if you call him Stifler.
Mon Feb 15 2010
Illustration: Rob Kelly
Despite the fact that Seann William Scott's best-known character last appeared in a movie in 2003 (American Wedding), the affable 33-year-old actor has nothing but love for the Stif. "[That role] was the most fun," Scott admits. But he has since moved on, tackling parts both serious (in movies like Richard Kelly's trippy Southland Tales) and silly (Balls Out: Gary the Tennis Coach, which Scott also produced). Additionally, he's taking a stronger hand behind the scenes, developing a film with screenwriter and longtime friend Steve Conrad. "I think right now, if you can write films and put your own films together, it's probably best to do that," he explains. Nevertheless, he's in front of the camera this week in Cop Out, starring alongside Tracy Morgan and Bruce Willis in an update of '80s buddy-cop movies.
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So that last snowstorm almost kept this interview from happening.
Oh, yeah. I spend most of my time in New York, but it's been three months since I've been here and I missed all the snow. It's a bummer because I'm from Minnesota and I like the snow.
Do people approach you when you're out in NYC?
Every once in a while, if I go into a bar—I'm kind of the mascot for any bar after American Pie. [Laughs] But what's really neat about New York is that the people all have their own lives. Honestly, I don't think people give a crap about seeing actors around here. It's not like I'm Brad Pitt or anything. They just go, "Hey, that's the guy that drank semen in American Pie."
Stifler still resonates with people.
It really was such a fun character.It gets me free drinks! It's funny,too; I don't get people coming up to me and telling me about the good movies I've done. They usually come up to me and tell me, "I saw that movie, what did you do that for?" It's like they're my agent! Everyone becomes sort of a movie critic.Even my brothers are like, "Dude, why did you do Mr. Woodcock?"And I'm like, "I didn't know it was going to suck."
Does that bother you at all?
Oh, it's funny. Like, I wouldn't say that to a friend, but I would think it. If I saw a friend in Bulletproof Monk, I'd be like, Oh boy, I feel bad for him.
That's very generous of you. So tell me about your character in Cop Out.
I play this guy who's known in the police world as the Turd Burglar. He uses parkour to get into homes, and leaves a little souvenir—which I'm not going to say because it's too gross. I just realized that every single movie I do is somehow connected to some bodily function. [Laughs]
Parkour is pretty crazy—did you have to learn how to do it?
You know, I'd actually gotten kind of fat for the movie. I stopped working out for, like, six months, so I went in, and I was pretty chubby. But any of the stuff they wanted me to do, even if I was ripped, there's no way that I could do it.
Were you guys improvising a lot while filming?
We improvised so much! Most of my scenes were stuff that we just kind of rolled with, and the character developed as we were filming. [Director Kevin Smith] would throw out really funny ideas, something that I would laugh at for a couple minutes before I got a chance to incorporate it into the scene.
And you've got some pretty huge costars in this movie....
I had such a ball in the back of this car, working with Bruce Willis, which I never got used to. Every day I was like, Whoa. Sometimes he would do a take and I'd totally blank and just watch him, and they'd be like, "Seann!" and I would be like, "Sorry, dude, I was thinking about Die Hard." [Laughs]
Was working with Tracy Morgan intimidating at all?
For me, I don't prefer to have to stick to the scripts. I prefer the fearof just going with it. And when you see the film, Tracy and I just go wild—I had more fun shooting those scenes than I've probably had on any other film.
You should try improv classes. We've got some pretty good places in the city.
I've always thought about that! But to me, it's much more fun practicing it while on a film. But there's always room to improve.
So who would be your ideal partner in a buddy-cop movie?
Ricky Gervais. He's my favorite,I would love to do a buddy-cop movie with that guy. I've seen each episode of The Office, like, 100 times. I don't care if I have to play the water boy, anything, as long as I'm his buddy in that film I'd be super happy.
Maybe he'll see this and call you up.
[Laughs] Yeah, you never know. Make sure to send a copy to his agent!
Cop Out opens Fri 26.