April 2003
Bulletproof Monk : An Interview with Seann William Scott

Interviewed by Brianna Hyneman

Bulletproof Monk: An Interview with Seann William Scott

Who could ever forget the character of Steve Stifler from the American Pie films. He practically stole the movie from the other actors. The persona played by Seann William Scott has won him some fans. He parlayed that into a winning role in Road Trip and Dude, Whereís My Car?. In his first outing as a lead in a comedy-drama, Seann William Scott is paired with Chow Yun-Fat of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in the action film Bulletproof Monk. In an interview with blackfilm.com, Seann William Scott talks about the physical training he did for the film and trying to separate himself from Steve Stifler.

BH: How was the training for film?

SWS: I had to train a lot. I was pretty athletic but there's so much bite to this movie and I'm such a huge fan of the movies [kung fu] that I can identify...but hey, they don't want the American Pie look so I needed to make sure this was different. I don't want the movie to suffer because they can't find me in this character so right off the back I knew I had to change my look. But we didn't have 6 months to train and there were a lot of fights so we had to work probably 6 hours a day. A lot of it was just stretching, I had a lot of core strength so the wires stuff actually came kind of easy to me because we first started doing gymnastics and uh, I don't care; I'll go for it but once a couple of times I landed on my head. I'm a little freaked out but that was great cause we were working on the wires and then when we got up to Toronto we started working on the choreography and there's a lot of work and I really had to keep training while we were shooting because there was so much to learn. I want to do every single stunt because I can. I mean I can physically unless it's not going to look as good but I feel like if I had the time to train then I should be able to do it and that was the goal for me. It's like people will appreciate that and I was like with the MATRIX out and Crouching Tiger you seen these guys do it and it's like you canít do any less otherwise it's pretty embarrassing. So, I just did the best I could.

BH: Did you hurt your back?

SWS: Yeah. We were doing a scene where I was going to be dragged along the rooftop which was fun it and it really didn't feel like it hurt because by then I'd done a lot more physical things and you know I thought this is cool. The next day wasn't so cool man because I couldn't really move my back and all we did was like the little hand shake thing which I remember thinking abut that and I was like 'what! Weíre having a weird handshake challenge thing' and it ended up being kind of funny and it works. But, the first take I did this thing and I was like [moans from back pain] and like I bend down and I had this spasm and I thought I was dying and Yun-Fat basically picks me up, puts me over his shoulder and Iím like what's happening here and he like basically walks me to my trailer and Iím like, 'Iím so in shock Iím like he's a hero this guy is a hero'. Then he throws me down. I mean he probably just gently put me down and he's like, ďTake off your shirtĒ, and Iím like ďWhoa!Ē Whoa this ain't that kind of movie man' and he's like 'take it off' and Iím like 'ok' and I took off the shirt and he starts working on my back and like I was in the worst pain Iíd ever been in and I couldn't even breathe and Yun-Fat, they just basically like stopped set and was so concerned about me. I mean he's such a great guy. I called a therapist to come look at my back and he's like [meaning Chow Yun-Fat] 'You're stupid. You do too many stunts. You're stupid. I told you.' I'm like it's because youíre Chow Yun-Fat ok, you got a few action movies ok, I'm the comedy man. I can do this. I'm physical. Since then I haven't been able to walk the same [Laughing]. No, I'm fine that was the only time I got hurt.

BH: So you used to work in a movie theater like the character you play in the movie?

SWS: Yeah it's really weird. Well I told them that I can identify with this. I can play this part. I worked in a movie theater. It was like the first day [of shooting] you know when I'm doing the film stuff and I told them 'oh it shouldn't be a problem' and they were like 'ooh do you want to train?' and Iím like 'No, I used to do that.' I didn't remember anything and things were flying everywhere. Then it kind of worked and I'm kind of like, ' hey, I got an idea. I really could identify with this character and I wanted them to know that too. I'm like 'Iím probably much more of an introvert than people know and when I moved out to LA you know it was really just kind of a feeling. I just thought this was what I should be doing. I had no experience at all and I went 3 years auditioning for things and I thought I was getting better but I always had this feeling of never knowing if that opportunity was gonna come my way for me to do something big and I thought that's what this character was like. This character had a big heart. Yeah I did break it down in a lot of other ways but I thought, you know, he's looking for a chance to do something good and he's just a good kid and he's training you know and I thought it was rally endearing that that's the only way he learned things. But then some things work on the streets and some things he'd get his ass kicked and I always liked that too. I mean I loved Harrison Ford and thought he always embodied that hero that we could identify with that had a great wit and charm to him but he wasn't invincible.

BH: Could you do stunts after going back for re shoot after 6 months?

SWS: I was better. Well in the beginning there was so much work to do that I never had time to re-cover and literally I was like basically working like everyday for 4 months but it was great because I did another action movie after that with The Rock and I kept training with my stunt guy cause I could tell that if I kept working on it I could actually, but I was so new to the thing by just being an actor I was like I just want to have those skills. I like the training. I like what I'm doing, I feel good about it and it worked because then I got the call that people responded to the movie and they wanted to add on to the fights they already had.

BH: How was working with Chow Yun-Fat?

SWS: I just didn't want to screw the movie up for him cause he was so great. He was like the god father on the set. He knew everybodyís name and made sure everybody was having a good time. I think the way I can explain it is, if you take one persona away from the set, from the crew that we had, Yun-Fat made sure that they knew that would be a different movie. He wanted everybody to know how important they were and he was such a great guy he just made it easier. He's like 'remember, donít' be so manic. What we're doing is we're making a movie. Just have fun.' But I was like 'you're Chow Yun-Fat man. This is my first big opportunity like I'm under pressure here.' I mean I got to make sure I'm doing a good job and he'd always just get mad at me from doing all the stunts. He's like 'oh you're going to kill yourself kid' and Iím like, you know it was just like he was so good at the action and the martial arts I was just learning it all from him. He was really great.

BH: So did you set out to do action since you've done so much comedy?

SWS: Well the comedy stuff just kind of came my way and I was like, it was so weird to me and I actually loved comedy at first. I was like nah, being the funny guy, that's not why I came to LA., but I appreciated it and I realized that this is really just a blessing to be able to make people laugh and through everything now I look back and I really do feel like Iím at the beginning of my career. I feel like every step I take has been for a reason and what is great is being able to do those things and being able to feel comfortable to take a risk in an environment you know, doing weird stuff in American Pie II and Dude, Where's My Car?, it's great. Being in action movies are a lot more difficult. There's a lot more dialogue that's like really tough. That's like you gotta make sure you're not that guy people are sitting in the movie laughing at you not at the right spots to laugh at too you know. And I did make the decision I was like it's time for me like I feel like I can do it. I feel like I'm a very physical guy and my agent and I did say over the summer we need to find you your Mission Impossible. I was like 'I know I can do it. I don't know if the rest of Hollywood would think that. I'm the guy from American Pie and Road Trip.' He was like 'well we'll just have to prove to them that you can' and we found the script and I was like 'this is the one!' I thought this was perfect because it wasn't like I was going from American Pie II to Philadelphia. I thought it was a nice transition.

BH: Would you do any sequels?

SWS: Yeah, I would love to play the character again and I think doing it the first time really helped find out what worked and what didn't work.