Like so many of the raunchy teen comedies that have come both before and after it, there’s not much about Paul Weitz’s breakout comedy hit “American Pie” that qualifies as politically correct. Even when the film was released — exactly twenty years ago this week — it was a decidedly crude R-rated outing, one that took its title from both the iconic Don McLean song and a sequence centered on star Jason Biggs getting intimate with an apple pie.
Again, it’s a film that boasts a memorable scene about a guy screwing a large pastry.
And yet other parts of the film, the kind played for big laughs in 1999, have aged even less well than the defiling of a baked good. In a new interview with Page Six, star Shannon Elizabeth reflects on a key scene involving her character, beautiful exchange student Nadia.
In the film, Biggs’ character Jim Levenstein, along with his best pals, make a pact to lose their virginities before they graduate high school. Jim sets his sights on the alluring Nadia, and invites her over to his house to hang out (and, ostensibly, make the love connection happen). When he leaves her alone in his bedroom, she changes out of her clothes — a scene that is entirely captured via a hidden camera meant to be for Jim’s friends only (bad enough already), only for the live feed to then be sent to the entire school.
Later, Nadia is sent home to Slovakia for the apparent misdeed of changing her clothes while she was unknowingly recorded. Jim and his pals face zero repercussions.
“Gosh, do I get sent home?” Elizabeth asked Page Six when asked about the scene. “If this had come out after the #MeToo movement, there would definitely be a problem. I think that it would have gone down differently.”
Still, Elizabeth looks back on the experience fondly, even remembering the careful way that the scene was shot (ironic).
“It was a closed set and it was just me in this room and the boom guy above me,” Elizabeth told the outlet. “I was like, ‘This is so weird.’ It was a square room they had built in the middle of a warehouse and we made everyone that didn’t need to be there leave set. That’s the main thing I remember, just me and the boom guy, and trying to make jokes with the directors and make light of it because if I wasn’t nervous maybe they wouldn’t be so nervous. … I just tried to make it no big deal.”
As Page Six notes, while Elizabeth has turned her attention to other outlets as of late, including animal conservation, she will returns to movies soon, thanks to a part in the upcoming “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.” As for “American Pie,” despite some icky on-screen moments, it’s still the biggest turning point in her career.
“It was like the best thing I could have happened to me,” she said. “That film launched my whole acting career. I’m so grateful for it.”