BEVERLY HILLS, California — Is the world ready for Seann William Scott the action star? Well, ready or not, the man best known as Stifler from the "American Pie" comedies has a movie with The Rock in the works, and he co-stars in the kung-fu flick "Bulletproof Monk," which hits theaters this week.
"I hope people are [ready]," Scott said. "I'm really happy with the stuff I did, and not once did I think of Stifler. This was a very cool, specific character, and it's still funny."
Video director Paul Hunter (Eminem, Marilyn Manson) makes his feature debut with "Bulletproof Monk," and he thinks audiences should have no problem warming up to seeing Scott as hero. "I think they are going to love him. ... [It's] going to be surprising to a lot of people. You know him as one thing — Stifler in 'American Pie' — and then you see him in this movie and he is completely different, although he does have a sense of charm and humor."
"I've been wanting do something like this for a while," explained the 26-year-old Scott, who has also appeared in movies like "Road Trip" and "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back." "There's not many roles like this for guys my age, and especially if you're just coming from broad comedies. It was time to make that transition. I read the script and I knew that I could nail this part. It had the right amount of humor, drama and action. And because it was something big for me, I told [the filmmakers] that I would work harder than anybody else if I got this part."
Another part of Scott's attraction to "Bulletproof Monk," a comic book-inspired tale concerning a mystical scroll and its protector, was the chance to work with Chow Yun-Fat, star of such Hong Kong action classics as "The Killer" and "Hard-Boiled" and the martial arts hit "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."
"He's just a sexy bitch," Scott said of Yun-Fat with a wide smile. "He's the king. He's so cool, so effortless. He's extremely funny and he's had so much experience with action. He would always make sure that [when] I was doing stunts ... I wasn't going to get hurt, even though I was adamant about doing every single stunt.
"I hurt my back once and then Yun-Fat started working on it," he continued. "He shut down the set and just took care of me. And he was like, 'That's why you don't do all your own stunts. You'd better take care of yourself.' "
Scott was able to glean similar action tips from The Rock while making "Welcome to the Jungle," the forthcoming Amazon adventure flick that previously went by the title "Helldorado" (see "The Rock, Seann William Scott Team Up In 'Crappy' Movie"), though he had to get past a little intimidation first. "I was always scared to stand next to him, 'cause he's really big. He has huge arms. His arms were bigger than my head. ... He's just the greatest guy, and the stuff he does in this movie, it's pretty crazy. And he's a great actor."
"Welcome to the Jungle" and "Bulletproof Monk" notwithstanding, there's no reason for Stifler fans to mourn the loss of their favorite beer-guzzling clown just yet. Scott's onboard to return in the third "American Pie" flick, "American Wedding," though he admits to some initial apprehension about participating in yet another installment (see "Sequel Mania — The Other Attack Of The Clones").
"I never thought I would have done that movie. I got angry when they even thought about writing it. I was like, 'No, we got lucky with the first two, [so] let it be. I'm never going to play that character [again]. I'd rather create something else.' But the script was so great, and the way they wrote the Stifler part, and Jesse Dylan's directing it — [he's] Bob Dylan's son. I can't even watch the first two [after this]. I'm appreciative of them, but the third one is just like an explosion. It's great."
"American Wedding" is due in August, with "Welcome to the Jungle" tentatively scheduled right behind it in September. "Bulletproof Monk," which also stars one-time Kid Rock girlfriend and model James King ("Slackers"), is in theaters now.