LOS ANGELES — Even with most of the cast hanging around, including Jason Biggs and Seann William Scott, the "American Wedding" set looked noticeably different than its predecessors.
In January, the third flick in the "American Pie" series went ahead without Chris Klein, Tara Reid, Mena Suvari, Shannon Elizabeth or Natasha Lyonne.
"I was concerned about it at first, because I didn't want people who were fans of the first two to really miss those characters, and we do, definitely," Scott admitted. "I'm not sure if they just didn't want to come back, or if they had other things going on. A lot of times we're just like, 'Where's Chris Klein?' "
Nevertheless, the remaining cast members — including Alyson Hannigan, Thomas Ian Nicholas and Eugene Levy — appeared to be having the time of their lives. During one nighttime shoot a few months back in Los Angeles, Eddie Kaye Thomas, who plays Finch in the series, divided his time between fake wrestling with Scott and battling Biggs on a PlayStation 2.
Four years ago, "American Pie" launched careers for most of its stars, taking in more than $100 million at the box office with its tale of high school kids struggling to lose their virginity. The college-era reunion "American Pie 2" made $145 million, but a few of the players had said they wouldn't be back for another.
"['American Wedding'] is the funniest script I've ever read," Scott explained on the third flick's set. "It's really what made me [change my mind and] want to do the movie. ... It's just, like, any nervousness that we had about doing a third one is gone, and we feel good about it. This one by far is going to be the best one."
So what exactly happens in "American Wedding?" Well, Jim (Biggs) and Michelle (Hannigan) have a short amount of time to plan their wedding so that Jim's dying grandmother can attend, but other than that, the cast has been instructed to keep the script's plot points — especially the jokes — under wraps. Nevertheless, it's also been reported that Stifler will put the moves on Michelle's sister, played by new cast member January Jones ("Anger Management").
"Oh man, wait till you see this movie," Scott promised, "it's after college and [Stifler] is in more craziness. My character, it's just nice, because he's a good instigator and he brings out the best qualities in the other characters."
"The thing to remember is that all of [the jokes in the first two] came from one guy's head," said Thomas. "[Screenwriter] Adam Herz thought of all of those ridiculous things. So there's a lot more that's in that head that's just as disgusting."
The guys did report that at least one joke from the previous movies won't be returning. "We asked the flute to come back for a cameo at the wedding," Biggs said.
"But the flute said if Chris Klein didn't come back, it wouldn't come back," chimed in Thomas.
"It got a little dicey," Biggs continued. "The flute was doing a play in London. There were travel and scheduling issues. And let's be honest, given the performance of the flute in the first movie, it has some negotiating power. I don't think the flute will be joining us, much to Alyson's dismay."
Unlike the temperamental musical instrument, the boys said they have learned to never say never about the series. And though it's being marketed as the final installment in a trilogy, there's still the possibility of yet another slice of "Pie."
"I learned a valuable lesson in answering that question," said Biggs, "because after the first one I was always like, 'C'mon, part two? No, please.' And [then], after the second one, 'Well jeez, maybe I should leave the option open. Maybe there'll be a third one,' and sure enough, here we are."
"I don't know, man," Scott weighed in. "We've been saying this is the last one. It really completes the trilogy. If it does well, I'm sure the studio will go, 'Let's bring on a fourth one' — 'American Baby' or I don't know, man. [But] for me what was exciting [about 'Wedding'] is that it really completed the character. I'm pretty happy with it. I think this will be the last one."
Directed by Bob Dylan's son Jesse Dylan ("How High"), "American Wedding" wrapped filming in late March and hits theaters next month.
Later this fall, Biggs can also be seen opposite Christina Ricci in "Prozac Nation" and in Woody Allen's "Anything Else." Scott stars in the action movie "The Run Down" (formerly called "Helldorado") in September (see "The Rock, Seann William Scott Team Up In 'Crappy' Movie"). He's also co-producing and starring in a remake of a French comedy (see "Seann William Scott Tackling French Film Remake").