You are here: Home>Collections>Stars

Video/Q&A: 'Project X' stars Thomas Mann, Jonathan Daniel Brown and Oliver Cooper

(Lenny Gilmore/RedEye )
February 28, 2012|Matt Pais | RedEye movie critic

“Project X” puts you right in the center of the action—in this case, what may be the biggest onscreen party of all time. Or to put it another way, says “Project X” co-star Jonathan Daniel Brown, the movie has an “anti-authoritarian” vibe similar to the Occupy movement, “just without the whole reforming government thing. And getting drunk and meeting girls.”

The R-rated teen comedy, produced by “The Hangover” director Todd Phillips, stars Thomas Mann as Thomas, whose 17th birthday celebration promises to be epic thanks to his best friends Costa (Oliver Cooper) and JB (Brown), who believe a legendary party is the ticket to the social status and female attention they crave. What results turns a Pasadena neighborhood into a booming, boozing, frequently topless bash that escalates into full-fledged pandemonium.

At Smart Bar, Mann, 20, Cooper and Brown (both 22) talked about a party that’s like a tornado, what parents and grandparents will think of the debauchery onscreen, and the raucous crowd at the previous night’s screening at the Vic in Lakeview. And Brown reminds us the movie’s not just for dudes: “When they tested the movie, they polled all the women in the audience and they said, ‘Do you think the nudity is not enough, excessive or fine?’” he says. “And they all were like, ‘It’s fine.’ The women were OK with the nudity, and consequently so were the guys.”

What’s the craziest question you got at last night’s screening?
Jonathan Daniel Brown: So RedEye’s an alt press, so we can like swear and stuff?

You can say whatever you want.
JDB: Ok, this is more of an uncensored …
Thomas Mann: Some guy he said to us, “Why aren’t you drunk, p***y?”
JDB: That was like our second question.
TM: That really set the tone for the rest of the evening.

How do you answer that? “I am drunk; I’m just hiding it.”
TM: “No, we actually just got off a plane.”
Oliver Cooper: It was super awkward.
TM: It got better though. We just had to feel it out for a second.

Have you gotten a lot of those questions?
JDB: All of our Q&As have been super, super, super, pretty reserved, and people raise their hands and ask a question about the actual film—
TM: Pretty structured and professional—
JDB: The Chicago one, it was packed with like 500 people and I guess there was drinking and there was merriment and everybody stuck around ... So by the time the Q&A came it wasn’t really people raising their hands and asking questions. People just shouting stuff like “Show us your boobs!”
OC: Someone asked, “Do you have a boner?”
JDB: It was probably to me.
TM: I don’t know who it was to specifically. Maybe to the three of us collectively.
JDB: Collective boner. Which is also the name of my new band.
TM: They’re playing the Vic every Friday night.

The movie does a great job of bringing people into the party. Did you have any run-ins with the cops during filming?
JDB: Yes, actually! That’s the first time that’s been asked, and that’s so cool. We actually had the Burbank police try to crash the set a few times because of noise complaints.
TM: We were on the Warner Bros. lot, but then there were real neighborhoods surrounding the area. It was like a real party.

Did you go and warn them?
OC: “Guys, I play the lead actor in the movie, just give us a break.”
TM: “You guys need a warrant to come search our lot.”
OC: We overheard a talk about it, “We may not be allowed to do the helicopter shot, or we’re not going to be able to keep playing [the music.]” The big thing was we played the music—
JDB: All night—
OC: During takes and not during takes to keep the energy flowing so it does feel really real, the party stuff. And it does in the movie. So that was really hard ‘cause it’s four in the morning and you’re blasting Kid Cudi. Neighbors were probably like, “What the hell is going on?” For six weeks straight.
JDB: You also live next to a movie lot, so …
OC: It’s your fault, yeah.

So not only could this party probably not happen in real life, you almost can’t even make a movie out of it.
JDB: There’s no way this could happen in real life. The cops would come in 5 seconds flat. But thanks to movie magic …
TM: That’s the cool thing about this movie. It transcends …
JDB: It transcends the police.
TM: It transcends the authorities. They come and they leave.
JDB: This movie’s very punk rock.

RedEye Chicago Articles
|
|
|