Detour – Summer 2000

Jason Biggs

Hot off his breakthrough in last summer’s teen triumph American Pie, Jason Biggs takes a bite out of Hollywood with Loser and Boys and Girls.

By Stephen Saban.

In a recent issue of Glue magazine, the giant drag queen Vaginal Davis relates how she ogled American Pie star Jason Biggs on a flight from Los Angeles to New York.   "He isn’t as dweeby as he appears on the screen," she writes.  "He has beautiful pale skin, dark, shiny, lip-gloss hair, and big, brown, thyroid dinosaur eyes.  I was surprised at how strapping he was.  His cute puckery nipples were sticking through his snug Prada shirt.  And whenever he got up I did a Gacy stare on that bubble butt – all I can say is, he has an ass you can build a dream on."   Ms. Davis should fasten her seat belt.

But it’s true.   Bubble butt aside, the first thing you notice about Jason Biggs today is how different he looks from the doughy horndog he played in American Pie.  Since shooting that raunchy teen comedy in 1998 (when he was barely 20), he’s lost 20 pounds, slapped pomade into hair, and become so sleek and handsome that it’s surprising people still recognize him on the street.   "I think a lot of it was baby fat that I had to lose," says Biggs, who turned 22 on May 12.  "I lost it by mountain-biking, snowboarding, working out, and running every day.  When I first moved out here, before doing American Pie, I sat on my lazy ass and was not active at all."

The very likable actor and I are smoking Marlboros on the roof of the Griffith Observatory, where Hollywood’s original teen, James Dean, had that knife fight in Rebel without a Cause.   "I don’t consider myself a rebel," says Biggs.  "I’m a pretty stand-up guy.   I haven’t fallen into the young-Hollywood rebel scene yet."  In fact, Biggs can’t remember even one L.A. club he’s been to; he’d rather watch DVDs in his Santa Monica apartment, he says, or have a drink with buddies at his local bar.   Even after starring in a movie that grossed over a hundred million, Biggs is still just a Jersey boy at heart.

Biggs grew up in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., within eyeshot of the Manhattan skyline.  Early on, his mother would chauffeur him and his two sisters into New York for auditions, hoping the kids could earn money for their college tuitions.  He appeared on Broadway, at age 13, opposite Judd Hirsch in Conversations with My Father, and received a Daytime Emmy nomination for his 1994-95 tenure as Pete Wendall on As the World Turns.  Then, after a short stint at New York University, he studied psychology at Montclair State University for only three weeks before landing a part on Steven Bochco’s 1997 TV series Total Security, which brought him to Los Angeles.   "The irony of it all is that I originally started acting to help pay for college," he says, "and then dropped out of two of them."

Total Security was canceled, but Biggs stuck around L.A. and auditioned for "every pilot under the sun."   Eventually a movie script came along called An Untitled Sex Comedy Which Can Be Made for Under $10 Million That Studio Readers Will Most Likely Hate but I Think You Will Love.   Released as American Pie, it became a surprise summer smash – and the excised NC-17 clips of Bigg’s pie-thrusting buttocks that were posted on the Internet made him every adolescent’s hero.  "July 9th, 1999, changed my life forever," says a grinning Biggs of the film’s opening day.   "Seriously, man, that weekend it was like, ‘Jason Biggs is in the number-one movie in the country.’"   That was Friday, and the scripts started coming in on Monday.

This summer, the newly streamlined Jason Biggs stars in two movies sure to be hits.   In Clueless director Amy Heckerling’s Loser, with Greg Kinnear and Pie’s Mena Suvari, Biggs plays the title role of an unpopular college freshman who’s in love with a girl who’s in love with her English professor.  "It’s a sweet romantic comedy," he says.  In Boys and Girls, directed by Robert Iscove (She’s All That), Freddie Prinze, Jr., and Claire Forlani do the romancing, while Biggs plays the sidekick role of Prinze’s best friend.  "I wear a lot of different wigs," says Biggs, "because my character thinks he knows more about women than he really does, and will do just about anything to impress them, including change his name and hair color all the time."

Has changing his appearance off-screen helped Biggs score with women?  "I enjoy being single and dating," he says.   "But I’m always looking for a girlfriend.   Every girl I date, I wonder if this could be the one."

Q & A with Jason on that famous scene in American Pie, the changes in his life and loving what he does for a living.

On going back to his hometown when American Pie was #1, nonacting jobs (a "Sandwich Artist" at Subway) and being hot for older women.

Jason and Mena Suvari go shopping and chat about their lives and recent movie experiences.

Short, snappy answers to items like his first job, first crush, dating style and aspirations.