21 & Over hits theaters this Friday and we’re back with another one of our interviews from the junket.
We sat down for a roundtable interview with Skylar Astin and Sarah Wright, who play Casey & Nicole in the movie, to chat about filming on a college campus when class was in session, the stunts and their chemistry on set.
Check it out and read our interview with Miles Teller & Justin Chon here!
You two were so natural on screen, how long did it take you to build that chemistry?
Skylar: We had the luxury of auditioning together. They were doing a lot of mix & matches when they were trying to cast the roles so we had already come to set, we had known each other, we had developed a rapport, we had done one of the scenes a lot of times and a lot of different versions, improv.
Sarah: Chemistry read together a couple of times.
Skylar: I think the reason we had that rapport and chemistry was the reason we got cast. So when we got on set we were so ready to just do it, lock it and make it immortalized forever on screen. It was a smooth transition for us.
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Is this your biggest role so far?
Sarah: It is for me.
Skylar: For sure. I’ve never been a lead in a studio film before. It must have been a difficult choice for John & Scott to make, to trust for their directorial debut. I think it also contributes to the freshness of the comedy. I think if you had someone who had done this a dozen times, you might have been distracted by knowing that household name in that role.
Skylar, you were the voice of reason in this movie. Was it hard to maintain being between the other two guys?
Skylar: It’s hard to steer the ship sometimes. I like how you say the voice of reason, it makes me sound like Yoda. It was just a different kind of conversation that I would have to have with Scott & John sometimes to maintain a grounded level of the movie…stay on task because there’s a lot of flash and gravy that could be poured onto these scenes that were added by the other guys.
Sarah: But you didn’t want it to be too square either. That was something you were fighting for.
Skylar: It’s a challenge because you want to have fun with the guy too but you have to take it in stride. Sometimes being the straight man in a two-hander comedy, you can come off like a nerd. I wanted him to be like no, I get what he’s saying, he could relax a little bit. We all have that friend and he’s necessary and a cool guy and he wasn’t always like this, he’s trying to grow up a little bit.
Sarah, you’re boyfriend in the movie starts out all tough but then wimps out at the end. I can see why you dumped him…
Sarah: He was so good. I loved him. I was so impressed with him. He crushed that role.
Skylar: That role was originally supposed to be a 5’1 Napoleon complex “Jersey Shore” guy, but John & Scott were saying they had seen so many guys like that…Randy is the kind of guy that you see and kind of want to punch in the face. But John & Scott were having the problem where they just wanted to punch these guys in the face because they’re so not watchable because they’re so aggro. So Jonathan had this kind of bad boy vibe that made his character believable.
Sarah: And the guys that played his friends were so good, so funny.
The conversation you two had in the bar was pretty frank. What did you think when you first read the lines?
Sarah: We had some versions that were even more frank.
Skylar: We played this opposite game where the banter became who can say the most offensive thing to each other.
Sarah: We were snarky, sarcastic, but in a way that was lovable and fun with each other.
Skylar: It was borderline inappropriate.
Skylar, are you still doing theater or any plans to return to theater?
Skylar: Yeah, I definitely want to return to theater at some point. I don’t know when but it has to be the right thing for sure. That’s where I started and that’s always been the goal.
Did you get to interact with the students on campus?
Sarah: We had some sorority girls that showed up late night a couple of times. Rush was happening and so we had to stop shooting one night because the fraternity guys and sorority girls were singing back and forth at each other in the courtyard. We had to stop shooting because they were so loud and we couldn’t ask them to stop.
Skylar: Yeah, it was a bunch of fraternity boys in a shirt and a tie singing Justin Timberlake or Backstreet Boys. It’s this kind of mixer where they all serenade these girls all at once and they all have these notepads, I don’t know it was this crazy thing.
How did you do the stunt where you hang Justin out the window at the hospital?
Skylar: We did several different setups. When we had to do the extremely wide shot, it would obviously be a stunt person because we would never drop Justin 30 feet onto a car. But when we’re hanging him, certain camera manipulations and wires that have been cgi-ed out of the picture to make sure he was safe and ok. There were times when we did lower him just a little bit so we could feel that tension in our arms of actually bearing a human’s weight. Miles & I had a difficult time because we weren’t completely secured in so we were kind of hanging ourselves out a window where he’s got a whole rope and harness and undercarriage thing that must be uncomfortable. It was risky and challenging but I love doing that kind of stuff. Miles & I, the scene where we jump off the roof to follow Justin, we jumped off that roof onto secure boxes. That was one of my favorite things.
Do you think the kissing [Miles] scene was more challenging?
Skylar: There’s a different attention that is brought to each scene. Kissing Miles would have been a lot easier if I wasn’t in only a tube sock.
Sarah: And how much Miles didn’t want to kiss Skylar.
What about walking around the campus with just a tube sock on and a lot of people watching?
Skylar: There was a ton of people. They always try to say it will be a closed set and a really warm day and the sock will stay on. All these really comforting ideas.
Sarah: We’re outside on a campus where students are showing up.
Skylar: Thank god we’re not big fancy celebrities because then it would be everywhere. But just seeing two dudes in a tube sock, iPhones are immediately out. I kinda loved the whole shock of it at that point. When we shot that scene, I had already done 3 different days with the sock. I let it hang out. I couldn’t deal with the robe on and off and all the weather changes. I just let it all hang out.
Would you be up for a sequel?
Sarah: For sure!
Skylar: For free…
Sarah, what would you want to do in the sequel?
Sarah: We always make a joke where the sequel is ’22 and Pregnant.’ I don’t know, I can’t speak for that because I’m not the genius writers that John & Scott are but I’d be up for it.
Skylar, did things change after ‘Pitch Perfect’?
Skylar: I got a lot of love for that role because he’s such a sweetheart. That’s what made me want to do it. I think also to be surrounded by all those girls and be the only significant romantic lead in the movie, that gets a certain attention. Yeah, my life has changed…a lot more followers. They’re very loyal and I love every one of them. It’s always been about the work for me and I hope I continue to have these experiences. It’s the first time I’ve ever had a big hit film wise. It’s actually funny because I filmed this movie before ‘Pitch Perfect.’
What’s next for you two?
Sarah: I just wrapped a movie with Elizabeth Banks called ‘Walk of Shame.’ It’s Elizabeth Banks, James Marsden, Gillian Jacobs, Kevin Nealon. Gillian and I play Elizabeth’s best friends in the movie and she’s amazing and ends up getting lost and on this walk of shame and we try and find her.
Skylar: I just shot an independent movie called ‘Cavemen’ and other than that I’m attached to a bunch of things that aren’t yet official.