21 and Over - Skylar Astin and Sarah Wright
Casey (Skylar Astin) and Nicole (Sarah Wright) ©2011 Twenty One and Over Productions, Inc

The writers of The Hangover, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, take on their first directorial job with their new comedy, 21 And Over.

Straight-A college student Jeff Chang (Justin Chon, Twilight Saga) is about to celebrate his 21st birthday, and his friends Miller (Miles Teller, Rabbit Hole, Footloose) and Casey (Skylar Astin, Pitch Perfect) have come into town to help him. Problem is, Jeff Chang has an important job interview the next morning … can Miller and Casey take their friend out for a wild night and return him in one piece for his interview? What do you think?!

I spoke with Skylar Astin and Sarah Wright, who plays Nicole, a young student Casey meets during their night of fun, about making the ‘new hangover.’

Were you fans of The Hangover?

21 and Over - Skylar Astin
Casey (Skylar Astin) ©2011 Twenty One and Over Productions, Inc

Skylar: Huge fans. It’s always been a dream of mine to do a comedy that I would love to see opening night in theatres.

I saw The Hangover opening night. I saw Superbad opening night. I probably would have seen this had it been a different actor. I love these movies.

As a fan I’m excited, but also as an actor I’m up for the challenge, because I know the genre so well and I almost feel a sense of responsibility towards it.

Did you have to do a chemistry read together to get these roles?

Skylar: Miles was attached first and then I had to earn my keep with him. That worked out and I actually had the good fortune of reading with several actresses. It was funny watching them forcibly flirt with me. In all honesty, when Sarah came in it was hands down.

There were a lot of mean Nicole’s, because Casey and Nicole’s banter is teasing and snarky. Sarah did it with the most adorable smile that she owns.

21 and Over - Sarah Wright
Nicole (Sarah Wright) ©2011 Twenty One and Over Productions, Inc

Sarah: The cool thing for me was that Jon and Scott were so open to us improv-ing and adding our own elements to what was already there, and so great on the page.

That was really fun, because I feel like I fall into a much more natural state when I can bring some of myself to the material. There was an instant bond between Skylar and me.

How much did you improv on the actual movie?

Sarah: We would shoot what was on the page, which was awesome. Then Jon and Scott would say, ‘Do one for yourself, and bring in whatever you want,’ and we would do that.

Pretty much every scene that we did that was banter we were allowed to have that freedom.

Skylar: I think I can safely say that every scene has some element that was created in the moment. It was the perfect workplace environment for an actor.

Were you surprised that Jon and Scott were so open to your changing their dialogue?

21 and Over - Skylar Astin and Sarah Wright
Casey (Skylar Astin), Nicole (Sarah Wright) and Miller (Miles Teller) ©2011 Twenty One and Over Productions, Inc

Skylar: That’s an interesting point. Nobody’s ever put it like that. They always created an environment where you could be free to change their words. I think the mark of a good writer is someone who doesn’t get married to their words.

I think they trust their own voice and, since they have the power to direct their own writing, they have the ability to change and [allow] you alternative lines.

How stressful was it to do the nude scene?

Skylar: I was always worried about the sock falling off. Thankfully, it did not. I have really strong willpower or top-stick! It was really crazy. I tried to get into good shape, but you’ve also got to look like a normal college guy.

What about Casey and Miller being forced to kiss?

Skylar: Miles worked very diligently on getting that scene cut, to no avail. He would accuse me of being really into it, because he’d say, ‘Are you wanting to kiss me?’ I’m like, ‘No man, it’s for the sake of the comedy.’ And it turned out to be one of the funniest scenes in the movie.

I asked Skylar and Sarah if they had any reservations doing the movie, as it was Jon and Scott’s first directorial job. Click below for their emphatic answers.

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21 And Over - Directors, Scott Moore and Jon Lucas
Directors, Scott Moore and Jon Lucas on the set ©2011 Twenty One and Over Productions, Inc

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.