Straight-A college student Jeff Chang has always done what he was supposed to do. But when his two best friends take him out for his ...
Rating: R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, some graphic nudity, drugs and drinking
Length: 93 minutes
Released: March 1, 2013 Nationwide
Cast: Miles Teller, Justin Chon, Skylar Astin, Sarah Wright, Francois Chau
Director: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Writer: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
In “21 and Over,” the people imbibing may be of age, but that’s nearly all that’s legal. And that’s OK.
“I find in general most things are more fun while consuming alcohol,” says Miles Teller, who stars in the new film.
This is Teller’s second movie in a row to make drinking a major part of the storyline. But he isn’t concerned that having both last year’s “Project X” and “21 and Over,” which opens today, on his resume might make him a target for typecasting.
“I’m not too worried about being typecast as the party guy because I’ve done a lot of different stuff,” says Teller, who had stand-out supporting roles in director Craig Brewer’s remake of “Footloose” and in “Rabbit Hole,” starring Nicole Kidman. “But, you know, if some of the ‘Project X’ crowd comes to see our movie because they enjoyed ‘Project X’ a lot, then that’s good.”
Teller, a Yuengling drinker, doesn’t see the two films as being that similar, even though both focus heavily on alcohol consumption.
“ ‘Project X’ I wouldn’t say is a comedy,” he says by phone from Los Angeles. “It’s more like an experience, like an overload of the senses. It’s shot very much like a music video. Ours has a strong narrative and specific characters.”
Still, “we had a lot of fun filming it,” he says. “It was probably the most fun I’ve ever had doing a movie.”
In “21 and Over,” estranged friends Miller (Teller) and Casey (Skylar Astin) reunite to take their old pal Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) out to celebrate his 21st birthday at the bars in his college town, over his protests that he has a crucial med-school interview the next morning. Alcohol, a beautiful co-ed named Nicole (Sarah Wright), vengeful sorority members and male cheerleaders, long-suffering police officers and irate father Dr. Chang (Francois Chau) make the night interesting.
“I think it’s nice to have a movie set in college that seems pretty fun,” says Teller, whose high school friends flew from Florida to celebrate his 21st birthday with him when he was studying at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Teller, whose favorite comedies include “Wedding Crashers,” “Old School,” “The Hangover” and “Superbad,” was supposed to read for the role of the buttoned-down Casey, but he insisted on auditioning for instigator Miller instead.
“I feel like he was the closest thing to my own voice, my own sense of comedy, that I’d ever done before,” says Teller. “So I went there wearing a tie-dyed Grateful Dead T-shirt and auditioned for Miller, and I think I was the only person they ever saw for that part.”
One scene in the film requires Teller and Astin to walk across a college campus wearing nothing but a sock — not on a foot.
“I thought it’d be funny when I read it,” says Teller of baring everything but his manhood. “When you actually have to do it, (you’re) a little more nervous because you’re just standing there in a robe, and you’re pretty much naked underneath it, and there’s, like, 50 people standing around. I worked out for a couple of weeks before we shot, so I felt OK.
“If you get the first one out of the way, it’s pretty funny.”
The “costume” is reminiscent of an infamous Red Hot Chili Peppers stage move.
“Somebody actually sent me a picture of me in my tube sock and Anthony Kiedis in his,” says Teller. “I thought that was pretty good.”
Teller got into acting when his high school hired “a hot drama teacher” during his sophomore year.
“By my junior year, I was all about it, and senior year I was president of drama club and I auditioned for NYU and went up there,” he says.
Now 26, he’s never had to struggle or doubt his decision to become an actor.
“I did a guest star (role) on a TV show my senior year, and I booked ‘Rabbit Hole’ two weeks before I graduated and then moved out to L.A. and got ‘Footloose’ and ‘Project X’ back to back,” he says. He finished shooting the fourth of four back-to-back projects about a month ago.
Coincidentally, the first play he ever did was “Footloose.”
“I actually played the same part in high school I played in the movie,” he says.
Teller says he and director Brewer became friends while shooting “Footloose.”
“Brewer’s the man,” he says. “There’s a chance we might be working again soon on something that could be really good.”
Acting pays his rent, but it also fuels what’s inside him.
“Whenever you’re able to dig into yourself and share moments and do great scripts and have scenes, you always come out of that learning more about yourself,” he says. “I think that’s the most rewarding experience of this job is being able to release and engage and have some very special moments.
“I always learn something about myself when you’re put in those situations where you have to perform. It’s a good test. I heard somebody say it’s a blessing to have a job that has pressure. Not everybody does.”
© 2013, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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