Topher Grace On The Complicated Life Of 'Take Me Home Tonight'

The '80s-set flick's depiction of cocaine use was partly responsible for long release-date delay.

The inner workings of Hollywood are a perpetual mystery, particularly when film scheduling is involved. The normal filmmaking, script-to-screen process is, in a nutshell, basic: Script is written, produced, filmed, edited, promoted — and voila! It hits theaters. But as many beleaguered writers/producers/directors/actors know, things don't always go so smoothly.

Take, for example, the comedy "Take Me Home Tonight" (formerly titled "Kids in America"), which stars Topher Grace (who's also executive producer), Ana Faris, Dan Fogler, Teresa Palmer and Michelle Trachtenberg. Not exactly an indie, no-name cast, and yet the film completed principal photography in late 2006/ early 2007 and is just now getting released.

When MTV News caught up with Grace recently, we asked him to take us through the producing process that finally led to its release date.

"[The film came from] this idea that every generation had a film that looked about 20 years back," Grace said, adding the fact that no one had captured the spirit of the '80s in film without making fun of the decade. "We wanted to do something that felt like it was literally made in the '80s. So, we brought this to a different studio, and they were very supportive when they made the film, so we're very grateful for that."

What slowed down the process from there, Grace explained, was a hesitation from the studio with several scenes that involve cocaine use. "It tested really well," he said. "It's an audience film. It's not drama, but there was a real hesitation because there is so much cocaine in it, and our feeling at the time was, 'You can't do a movie about Prohibition without alcohol, and you really can't do a movie about partying in the '80s, at the age these kids are, without showing cocaine use."

Lucky for Grace and his producing partner Gordon Kaywin, the film received new life at Imagine Entertainment, via veteran producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.

"We had fun producing, but those guys are the real deal," Grace said of Howard and Grazer. "We learned a lot from them, and they're probably the greatest producers of our time. So, they encouraged us to not change the cut, which I thought was a really cool move."

Grace also credited Ryan Kavanaugh, the CEO of Relativity Media (the studio that is now releasing the film), with understanding and helping execute their original idea.

"He understood that you can't make a movie like 'Dazed and Confused' if it doesn't have pot in it," Grace said. "You just can't; it doesn't ring true. It's not that real thing we talk about, and he and his team embraced it, and that's the film we got to see."

The former "That '70s Show" star said he's thrilled with the final result.

"We're so happy with the film. It's creatively exactly what we wanted, and it's exactly the opposite of the normal situation where stuff gets cut," he said. "[For us] it was the opposite: We got to put stuff back in."

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