Two of the stars of “Not Another Teen Movie,” a spoof of high school flicks of the eighties and nineties, visited Dallas recently, and though both are young, they’re at rather different stages of their careers. For Chris Evans, who plays handsome jock Jake Wyler–a takeoff on the quintessential Freddie Prinze, Jr. character–it’s his feature debut after training at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute and doing stage work and some television appearances. On the other hand, Mia Kirshner, who plays Jake’s sister Catherine, a nasty vamp modeled on Sarah Michelle Gellar’s “Cruel Intentions” character, is a veteran with some fourteen films to her credit, including such somber fare as “Anna Karenina,” “Murder in the First” and Atom Egoyan’s “Exotica” (she also appeared on series television this season in both “Wolf Lake” and “24”). But both were delighted to be a part of Joel Gallen’s raunchy comedy.
“I couldn’t have picked a better film,” Evans said. “It’s funny, and it’s got a huge ensemble cast, and everyone got along ridiculously well. I keep saying it was like summer camp. I would have done it for free.” When he was asked how he got the role, Kirshner interrupted with a joke: “He slept with the director.” As for her, she explained, “I auditioned. Right after I auditioned, the casting director mouthed, ‘You got it.’ It was like one of those Lana Turner moments. The director said yes right away, and it was really nice because I hadn’t done a studio film in a while.” She was especially excited about “doing a comedy. In terms of my own film experience, I’m definitely into morose and very heavy dramas. I don’t know anything about comedy; I don’t know what’s funny and what’s not. It’s still one big mystery to me. I’m in awe of actors who are funny. So I was really happy to do something I hadn’t done before.” Kirshner also got the chance to participate in a dance routine in the big prom sequence at the close–something she felt completely unprepared for. “Except for [Chris],” she recalled, “I think none of us had come from a background of musical theater. So on the day when we had to shoot the musical number, I guess a lot of us had forgotten that we had to sing and dance at the same time.” She credited Evans with helping her manage to finish the scene.
Evans and Kirshner came to the shoot with different perspectives on the movies they were satirizing. “I had probably seen most of the ones from the nineties in the theater,” Chris said. “I was much younger when they came out, so I was probably right in that demographic. I haven’t seen a lot of the ones from the eighties, to be honest.” But Mia noted, “Ironically, I came close on many of the teen films that are spoofed in the film. I was very, very close on ‘She’s All That,’ and very, very close on ‘Clueless.’ For myself I watched ‘Cruel Intentions’ a lot, and I actually had read the original script, and I had really wanted to play that character very badly. But I didn’t get the part.”
One thing the two shared was having to do at least one really embarrassing scene. For Evans, it involved appearing nude except for some strategically-placed blobs of whipped cream; for Kirshner, it’s a long kiss with an old woman (the gag is that the latter, played by Beverly Polcyn, is an undercover cop posing as a student). How did they feel about it? “You’ve got to do it,” Evans said philosophically. “Everyone had their awkward scene. I knew it was coming. What are you going to do, really?” He got some laughs when he went on to remark that his scene was supposed ro be shot on a “stripped set,” but people still seemed to be milling about the edges. Kirshner agreed with his assessment: “Everybody has a really gross scene, so we were all in it together. And at the end of the day we all had scenes where we walked in and said, ‘Oh, my God, how can I do this?’ But you can’t do that while you’re filming it.” About her experience, she added: “I thought to myself, ‘I went to theater school, and this is what I’m going to be known for–French-kissing with a woman!'”
“Not Another Teen Movie” is a Columbia Pictures release.