Jason Biggs will forever be associated with his breakout role as the hapless, pie-humper Jim Levenstein in the “American Pie” series. While Biggs has done everything from a Woody Allen movie (“Anything Else”) to “Orange is the New Black,” he returns to his goofball form in the comedy “Amateur Night.”
Biggs plays Guy Carter, an unemployed architect who is about to become a father. Desperate for money, he takes a job as a driver, and ends up chauffeuring a trio of prostitutes around for the night. Suffice it to say, Guy gets involved in a BDSM scene, gunplay, dildo washing, and is sprayed in the face by female bodily fluids. Biggs chatted about “Amateur Night” and his penchant for embarrassment humor.
Your character, Guy, is pretty desperate for work. What is the worst job you had?
Oh boy. [Laughs]. I don’t look back on any job as a bad experience. I’ve had harder jobs than others. When I was 16, I worked in a kitchen, cleaning up. It was non-stop, very labor intensive. I was sweating it out, but it was great work for a kid. It required discipline and hard work and you were exhausted. I have no regrets. Every job helped make me who I am today.
What can you say about your fearlessness in comedy?
It is something I pride myself on, weirdly. I will do anything for a laugh. But beyond that, I feel like if it’s organic to the story, and to the character, that’s the safety net. Is it something I can credibly see my character getting into — if it’s fun, and earned, I will do it. When you do a gag just to do a gag, it’s gratuitous.
Do you have a limit to what you will do on screen?
How can I top myself? It’s impressive I can still find things. I feel safer when I do these crazy things. I feel more comfortable being naked and humiliating myself on-screen than in real life.
Is there a particular scene or moment of humiliation you are proud of?
The full frontal in “American Reunion.” I think 15, 20 years ago, I’d never be able to do that scene. I hadn’t had my penis enlargement yet. I hadn’t done enough scenes like that to be able to do it. The pie scene in “American Pie” raised a high bar, but everything I’ve done after that, I have become more comfortable. So I practically suggested [the full-frontal exposure] in “Reunion.” There was never any humiliation. I’m proud that my career took me to a place that I was fully comfortable doing that.
Do you feel — or fear — being typecast as a goofball loser?
I have had that fear in the past. It stirs up complicated emotions. I do want to do other things. But I love these roles and I love to work. The bigger fear is not working. Once I had a kid, it put things into perspective. Am I typecast? F—k it! I’m working, and doing films. I’m young. There’s not a retirement age in acting, so the hope is that as I change and grow, so will the roles. I’ve seen enough of that and done different things to know it’s possible. Success is success at the end of the day. I’m grateful for it. There’s a whole group of people who only know me from “Orange is the New Black.”
In real life, you are married to your “Amateur Night” co-star Jenny Mollen and have a child with her. What observations do you have about marriage and fatherhood?
When we shot this film, our son had been born a few months earlier. All these anxieties about being a new father were easy to draw on. It doesn’t go away, the perpetual paranoia and fear to keep your kids safe. It hasn’t diminished in the last two years. I really enjoyed that Jenny got to play my wife. It’s a fun time capsule for us.
What can you say about acting like a pimp and doing all the crazy things Guy does, like breaking in on an BDSM scene, or getting sprayed in the face during a hooker party?
It’s a commitment thing. Once you agree to do it, the challenging part is where you don’t seem at all reluctant to doing it. That’s how the audiences connects. You have to believe what you are doing, and be fully in the moment, so audiences believe it.
As the night progresses, Guy encounters possible legal trouble. Have you had any experiences that skirted the law?
No. Fortunately, I’m in a constant state of fear about it. I grew up in a strict household so I have residual fears about getting into trouble. Jenny and I have gotten into crazy adventures together that might be deemed controversial depending on what part of the country you are in.
“Amateur Night” is based on a “true story, mostly…” Do you have any interesting hooker stories?
Yeah. It’s kind of a famous or infamous story at this point, which was Jenny writing about her hiring me a prostitute in Las Vegas. It was the three of us and it was a comedy of errors. It was a crazy sort of adventure. It was not the evening I was hoping or expecting it to become.
So what’s your philosophy about life?
We’re here for a short amount of time. To each his own. Don’t judge.