You never forget your first time, even if it was a very long time ago.
It’s been 20 years since American Pie was released and it will always have an important place in the memories and hearts of a generation of movie fans.
Caught between the grubby college sex comedies of the 80s and the endless ‘gross out’ movies it inspired – and despite a number of memorable near-the knuckle moments of its own – the story of a bunch of friends under pressure to lose their virginity and move into adulthood feels timeless, and almost as wholesome as apple pie.
Here’s what the cast are doing now they’ve (just about) grown up.
Jason Biggs – Jim Levenstein
One thing about making love to a pastry – it leaves an impression. Jason Biggs will likely be forever associated with American Pie, and the pie itself. However, he deserves credit for playing Jim, the horny everyman who served as the heart of a film that was full of questionable characters acting questionably.
Despite proving himself as a versatile leading man, Biggs initially struggled to find the right outlet after Pie. There were the sequels, of course, but beyond that and a few weak romcoms, nothing really took – until salvation came with Orange Is the New Black (also starring American Pie alum Natasha Lyonne), in which Biggs plays Larry Bloom, fiancé of main character Piper Chapman.
In many ways Larry is a reversal of Jim – the ‘nice guy’ who is actually a selfish coward, as opposed to a decent boy who occasionally does disgusting, disgusting things.
Alyson Hannigan – Michelle Flaherty
Alyson Hannigan was probably the most famous cast member going into American Pie. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a pop culture phenomenon in 1999, with Hannigan’s nascent witch Willow a core part of the ‘Scooby Gang’ that fought monsters and demons every week. Then her preppy flautist Michelle got to deliver the punchline of American Pie (“this one time, at band camp…”) and her career seemed assured.
As well as continuing the relationship of Jim and Michelle in the sequels (culminating in American Pie: The Wedding) Hannigan returned to television to play Lily on How I Met Your Mother, which lasted nine seasons, ending in 2014. She also hosts magic reality Penn & Teller: Fool Us in the US. Presumably because she played a witch, rather than for that trick with the flute.
Seann William Scott – Steve Stifler
Seann William Scott arrived at just the right time. He was perfect as the lunkheaded, shamelessly girl-crazy Stifler in American Pie, and a series of similarly testosterone fuelled loveable numbskulls followed, with appearances in the likes of Dude Where’s My Car and the big screen remake of The Dukes of Hazard. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. (Stifler would be making a crude joke about that right now.)
However, being timely also means you can go out of date. As the market for mid-budget gross-out comedies dried up (and as Scott could no longer convincingly play a high schooler) the roles dwindled. The years since have seen him mellow into a more reflective version of machoman, with self-aware turns in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and hockey comedy The Goon, which added some heart to the usual rough and tumble gags. Most recently he starred in the third series of the TV version of Lethal Weapon, taking over from Clayton Crawford after some behind-the-scenes drama, although the show has since been cancelled.
Chris Klein – Chris ‘Oz’ Ostreicher
The character of Oz was a popular, handsome lacrosse player who, against all the odds, was also a nice guy. He’s the only one of the gang to come to the revelation that he should show an interest in women as people, although we’re not sure his ‘sensitivity’ would survive many think pieces in 2019. Nevertheless, Chris Klein seemed to be moving onto big things with roles in the likes of Mel Gibson war film We Were Soldiers. Things started to stutter when his starring role in the 2002 remake of Rollerball flopped.
Unfortunately, he soon became more famous for drama off-camera, including a tabloid-friendly love triangle between Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise, an arrest for drink driving and subsequent stint in rehab.
Happily things are looking up, with Klein recently playing the serial killer Cicada in the fifth series of The Flash. He’s definitely not a nice guy.
Eddie Kaye Thomas – Paul Finch
Wannabe sophisticate Finch – with his coffee and preening – occasionally deserved to be taken down a peg or two, although his nemesis Stifler probably took things too far when he spiked his mochaccino with laxatives. (Stifler’s mom seemed to like him well enough though.) Nevertheless, Eddie Kaye Thomas managed to convert the role into regular appearances in the type of movies you would expect following American Pie (Harold & Kumar, Freddie Got Fingered) as well as more heart-warming fare like marriage sitcom ‘Til Death.
In fact he’s been attached to a succession of relatively short-lived (by American standards) TV shows including Scorpion and This is Us, and has never struggled for a regular pay cheque. You might not recognise him, but since 2005 Finch has voiced Steve’s rotund friend Barry in American Dad.
Thomas Ian Nicholas – Kevin Myers
As leader of the group, it’s Kevin who convinces them to try to lose their virginity before graduating – his own sights are set on his girlfriend Vicky (Tara Reid). It’s lucky that Thomas Ian Nicholas had extensive experience playing a cute kid on the likes of Married with Children before American Pie, or Kevin would have come across as a real sleaze.
Film credits following American Pie include Halloween: Resurrection and the titular role in Walt Before Mickey (playing Disney, not the mouse). Nicholas has also explored areas outside of acting, releasing several of his own albums. He even contributed a song to the American Reunion soundtrack.
Tara Reid – Vicky Lathum
Tara Reid was the woman of the 2000s. While her character ‘Vicky the girlfriend’ was pretty forgettable, it launched her into the tabloids and she’s never left. Her exploits with fellow bright young thing Paris Hilton certainly reached a wider audience than box office flops like Josie and the Pussycats, although guest starring roles in the likes of Scrubs showed she was still a capable and likeable actor.
Thankfully, as the century went on, she learnt another valuable millennial skill: irony. She has turned her starring role in meme-masquerading-as-movie Sharknado into an entire second career, halfway between William Shatner and David Hasselhoff. She even has her own fragrance: ‘Shark’. Paparrazzi can smell a drop of it a mile away.
Jennifer Coolidge – Jeanine Stifler
Here’s to you, Jeanine Stifler, the millennial update of Mrs Robinson. As an alluring older woman, ‘Stifler’s Mom’ (Jennifer Coolidge) christened an entire genre of dirty movies (we’re not going to spell out the acronym here) just in time for Internet pornography to become a billion-dollar industry. American Pie was Coolidge’s breakthrough role, but it was swiftly followed by an appearance in Legally Blonde that established her as the go-to comedian for sexy, sassy, slightly unhinged supporting roles.
Coolidge has worked steadily, and has the rare quality of being unaffected by the quality of show she is in. Whether it’s appearing in Friends or Joey, glamming it up in Sex in the City or putting on a Polish accent in dubious sitcom 2 Broke Girls, nothing seems to touch her. She’s a smart enough performer to appear in both The Emoji Movie and as a regular in Christopher Guest mockumentaries like Best in Show. The fact that she can still steal the scene in an Ariana Grande’s music video shows she’s still got it.
And Stifler’s Mom has another starring role coming soon right here in the UK…
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of American Pie, NOW TV is opening an American Pie Pop-up Shop, giving fans the chance to take home a piece of iconic film history in the shape of a real ‘American Pie’ – hole and all, for free.
They’ll also get the chance to meet Jennifer Coolidge herself at the themed pop-up shop in Soho featuring bakery-style counters, American Pie memorabilia and iconic quotes from the film on the walls.
Come along to NOW TV’s American Pie Pop-up Shop on Tuesday 30th July from 12pm to get a free pie and a NOW TV Sky Cinema Pass – first-come, first-served. Open for one day only.
Look, it’s Eugene Levy. Sure, for those who came of age in the 90s, his famous brows will forever be associated with Jim’s well-meaning but baffled dad (“We’ll just tell your mother that… we ate it all.”) Plus after the success of American Pie, his face was used to hawke hordes of cheap, nasty, direct-to-video sex comedies sold under the ‘American Pie Presents’ label. A three minute cameo and sticking Levy on the cover helped move units at Blockbuster.
Yet Levy has had a long and storied career both before and after Pie. In Canada, he’s a celebrated alumnus of improv group The Second City Toronto and was famous for his impressions on SCTV – think the northern cousin of Saturday Night Live. Although now 72 years old, he remains a familiar face, especially in Christopher Guest mockumentaries like A Mighty Wind.
So Pie is not the extent of Levy’s career, but it does seem to have pigeonholed him as the world’s dad. He swapped sons for 2011 hockey comedy Goon, in which he played Seann ‘Stifler’ William Scott’s dad, while he was Ellen’s father in Finding Dory. And he currently stars in the sitcom Schitt’s Creek with his real-life son, Dan Levy.
Mena Suvari – Heather
If you’re wondering, Mena Suvari is American. Not only did she star in American Pie and American Beauty in the same year, she followed them up with roles and appearances in American Horror Story, American Woman, American Ninja Warrior and American Virgin (hastily retitled from ‘Live Virgin’ when Pie struck it big). To be fair, her non-‘American’ projects have tended to disappoint, even when she co-starred with Jason Biggs in 2002 romcom Loser (2002).
Beyond film and television, Suvari is an active campaigner for causes including women’s rights and veganism.
Shannon Elizabeth – Nadia
Few things have aged more poorly than the treatment of Shannon Elizabeth in American Pie. As sexy foreign exchange student Nadia, she represents Jim’s ‘dream woman’ before he finds Michelle. So far, so innocent. However, the scene where seemingly everyone with a dial-up modem spies on her getting undressed (and more) seems less funny in this post-#MeToo age. Plus it was done through a late-1990s webcam, meaning the footage was likely as pixellated and exciting as pressing your face up against a game of Tetris.
American Pie made Elizabeth a sex symbol, giving her a stream of covers for FHM and Maxim magazine, as well as roles in thoroughly 00s fare like Scary Movie and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Completing the turn-of-the-century bingo, she also made a name for herself on the celebrity poker scene, and has appeared on Dancing with the Stars (the US version of Strictly Come Dancing) and Celebrity Big Brother.
Today, Elizabeth is an active campaigner for animal rights, both with her own foundation Animal Avengers and on social media. She still acts, and will appear in Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob reboot later this year.
Natasha Lyonne – Jessica
If you’re like us, your brain connecting Jessica from American Pie to Nadia Vulvokov has just hit you like one of the numerous blunt force traumas in Russian Doll. Yes, Vicky’s friend was played by Natasha Lyonne.
Appropriately, on watching the film back, Jessica feels like a woman ahead of her time, unwilling to put up with the boys’ nonsense. It’s no surprise that she has gone on to star in biting female-led productions twenty years later.
It hasn’t been an easy road though. Much of Lyonne’s work in the likes of Orange Is the New Black has been informed by her own history of health, legal and substance abuse issues. Then again, she has been acting since she was six years old, meaning she has done almost everything by this point, from Woody Allen movies to Yoga Hosers, the Simpsons to Portlandia.
Her most recent credit is the mind-bending Russian Doll for Netflix, which is currently in production on its second series. It’a all about time resetting itself over and over again, but we don’t see Lyonne going back to playing ‘best friend’ supporting roles any time soon.