Project Xclusive: A look at the cast
Published: Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 15:03
Jonathan Daniel Brown, Thomas Mann and Oliver Cooper were laughing as the press walked into the room. The three actors paused their conversation and walked up to us, eagerly introducing themselves and shaking hands as we sat down to talk about their new movie, “Project X”, which hit theaters on March 2. “The movie was like going into war,” Cooper said. The film follows three best friends who are outcasts in high school and want to do something to change it. Cooper’s character, Costa, an outspoken and bold character, convinces his best friend Thomas (Thomas Mann) to throw a party for his birthday since Thomas’ parents are going out of town. Though Thomas expects a small gathering, Costa plans a huge blowout, advertised with a posting on Craig’s List and mass texts sent to the entire high school. The result is a huge, disastrous party, complete with DJ’s, a moon bounce and thousands of people crowding Thomas’ house.
“There were so many weird, spontaneous moments,” Brown, who plays the third best friend, J.B., said.
Mann who plays the lead in “Project X”, Thomas Kub, agreed with his co-star. “Yeah,” Mann said. “And you can’t fake fun!”
Mann said he could really relate to his character, a very sweet and vulnerable high schooler who never partied and didn’t want to, either.
“I was never a big partier,” Mann said. J.B. is a character that was definitely shaped by Brown’s comic skills; the character is quiet but thrilled to be included in the best friend trio. “They made [my character] a lot quieter,” Brown said as Cooper and Mann burst out laughing - Brown is clearly a very talkative person.
Cooper joined in the conversation, telling a story about how the producers thought he was from New York, which shaped his character, Costa, into a confident Northerner from Queens. Cooper is actually from Ohio.
All three actors agreed that their characters changed dramatically as they went on, especially during the script readings.
“We had been a part of the movie for a month before we got the scripts,” Cooper said. The three actors, after going through the casting process of reading the script with different people, were cast the day that they read the script together.
“It was a really nutty experience,” Brown said. The executive of WB would sit in and tell the boys to make him laugh, which was a lot of pressure.
“Short of casting, it was the most pressure I’ve ever experienced,” Brown said. While Mann has experience with script reading from his previous work on “It’s Kind of A Funny Story” (2010) and his film that will be released in January, “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters”, both Brown and Cooper made their screen debut with “Project X.” “[They thought] I had too much experience,” Mann said about the process of getting cast. “Project X” producer Todd Phillips and director Nima Nourizadeh both wanted to cast unknowns for the film. Brown, who auditioned for the movie through an open call audition online, and Cooper, who used connections to get an audition, both talked highly of their first experience onscreen.
“In your first film, you have a certain will,” Cooper said. Cooper and Brown weren’t the only two with a debut. Nourizadeh, who is known for winning Best Director at the UK Music Video Awards in 2008, is new at directing movies. The boys all agreed that Nourizadeh had an amazing eye for style and was fantastic to work with. “It was like working with a Holy movie trinity,” Brown said about working with Nourizadeh, Phillips and executive producer Joel Silver. The film, which was mostly shots of the party, includes a scene where J.B. jumps off the roof of the house onto the moon bounce below, with Thomas shortly following him.
“We did no stunts at all,” Brown said. “My stunt man was 65 years old and from Texas.”
Costa carried around a chalice that he re-filled with alcohol throughout the night. As Cooper was explaining an instance where he actually injured Brown with it, Brown interrupted him.
“I cut my hip open with [Cooper’s] chalice,” Brown said. “I had to use a liquid band-aid.” He literally yelled, “Cut!” since he was cut open. As the boys talked over and interrupted each other, it was clear that they had become good friends during the filming process. Joking that they didn’t like each other at first, Cooper talked about how the trio had bonding trips. “Big Bear was our biggest bonding moment,” Cooper said.
They also took a trip to Disneyland and agreed that some of their favorite moments from the movie included the two bodyguards of the party, Everett and Tyler, played by Brady Hender and Nick Nervies. “There were good moments between Costa and the kids,” Mann said. Cooper agreed, commenting that some of his favorite scenes were the ones that included their characters.
“Nick is the funniest kid in the world,” Brown said. What’s next for these fun-loving, hilarious actors? “Lots of money and lots of movies,” Cooper said, laughing.