BELLE GLADE, Florida — If you head east on County Road 27, through the small hamlet of Clewiston (dubbed “America’s Sweetest Town,” since it’s in the heart of sugarcane country), you’ll pass by miles of reedy swampland and slanted shacks, abandoned strip malls and rusted-out Oldsmobiles, until eventually, you’ll come to a barn, situated on a patch of damp farmland teetering on the edge of Florida’s Everglades.
It’s the University of Florida’s Everglades Research and Education Center, where they do studies on cane fields, test herbicides and raise barn owls. And on this day, they’re also playing home to an entire Amish community, which somewhat inexplicably includes Fall Out Boy and a bearded Seth Green.
Welcome to the set of “Sex Drive,” a rather raunchy slab of teensploitation that, on this day, has taken over this small farm near Lake Okeechobee. The film, due in October, follows newcomers Josh Zuckerman, Amanda Crew and Clark Duke (Michael Cera’s partner in the online series “Clark and Michael” on a road trip from Chicago to Tennessee, where the promise of booty awaits. Along the way, there’s plenty of partying, boobies and various other forms of R-rated high jinks, plus one rather head-scratching cameo from FOB. Oh yeah, and there’s Seth Green masquerading as an Amish party dude named Ezekiel. Confused? Hey, us too!
“We always get these offers, like, ’Hey, why don’t you guys do this ’Super Sweet 16′ movie!’ And we’re like, ’Uh, maybe not,’ ” Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz laughed. “But this one actually seemed funny, and plus, we, like, texted Seth and asked him if he was doing it, and he said yes.”
“So basically, I’m like the super-agent, only I didn’t take any percentage points on it,” Green added. “I did it for this film, and I did it for the kids. You’re welcome, America.”
So that’s how we got here, as the sun is setting over the Everglades and Fall Out Boy and Green are filming a scene in which the band ask Green’s character (who, due to a lengthy period of time he spent outside the Amish community, is also able to fix cars) to work on their tour bus, which has — coincidentally — broken down in the heart of Amish country. Ezekiel says he can, but only if Fall Out agree to play a one-night-only Rumspringa party (which is sort of like Amish spring break — seriously). And in the coincidence of all coincidences, the film’s three main characters also happen to be in the same Amish village. Hilarity undoubtedly ensues.
“I watched ’The Devil’s Playground’ [a 2002 documentary about Amish teens and Rumspringa], and they actually have these. And it’s crazy, it’s kind of like a rave meets, like, ’Children of the Corn.’ There’s no rules at all,” Wentz explained. “And for people who have lived under such a restrictive lifestyle for so long, they just go for it. And so this film is sort of like that. It’s like ’Children of the Corn: The Comedy.’ Or ’Witness: The Musical.’ ”
Later in the day, Fall Out Boy will film a party scene, in which they perform while a pair of Amish girls make out, someone does a keg stand and at least one person pukes. High art, it ain’t. But hey, both FOB and Green were quick to point out that the Rumspringa scene is also an integral part of the “Sex Drive” story. OK, not really. They actually just made a bunch of jokes about beards and stuff.
“The best thing about Seth right now is that he looks like an era of Bob Dylan, or maybe two eras mixed together,” Wentz said. “Like, maybe the Christian Dylan and the ’65 Dylan mixed together. His beard was actually grown in a petri dish for this movie.”
“This beard is actually cured from [FOB guitarist Joe Trohman’s] private areas,” Green countered. “We needed a special strain, and when you’re doing science, you want to start with good DNA.”
And how did all parties prepare for their roles in the film? Um, well, that depends on your definition of the term “prepare.”
“I consider myself more of a mouthpiece for the Amish,” Green said. “I want to make sure they have a voice. If you think of the few times the Amish have been represented, whether it’s ’Witness’ or ’Kingpin’ or [the] Weird Al [song ’Amish Paradise’], I can’t say any of them are at all accurate of the humble and hardworking people the Amish are,” Green said. “I’m like Daniel Day Lewis when I prep, so I was out in Lancaster for a few months just tilling soil, working hard to raise a few barns. I took a few wives.”
“We’re Method actors. So we’ve been going over our sides for months now,” Wentz said. “We weren’t sure if we were going to get the role for a while there. Feist was in the running. Kriss Kross, all grown up, they were in the running too. And then we studied a bunch of Amish rock bands, like the Kings of Leon. They’re all brothers and they have beards, so we studied them. They’re not actually Amish? Wow, for the record, I legitimately thought they were when I saw them.”
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