CS!: What was it like working with the Olsens?
Levy: It’s exactly the way you would think it would be. (Comedic pause) It was great! I was shocked at how normal they are, considering their whole life has been show business and acting. They had a whole chunk of life after the television show that I was not necessarily aware of before we started doing the movie. I didn’t know that they had done forty of these straight-to-video movies, something I found out from my nieces and nephews, who ran off this list of movies and videos that they have. But they’re very down to earth.
CS!: Had you ever seen them on “Full House”?
Levy: I watched it when I was flipping around the stations. I didn’t circle it in the TV Guide every week or anything, but I knew it was there. I liked Bob Sagat on the show. He had a great vibe on that and on “America’s Funiest Home Videos”. I remember the girls being very, very small. They were just babies and weren’t even talking. They’d just show their reaction shots.
CS!: You’ve gotten a younger audience with the American Pie movies, and you should get even younger kids with New York Minute. What do you think of that?
Levy: I talked to a friend, who said that his 4-and-a-half year old son was singing the “Bad Girl, Bad Girl” thing I do in the trailer. I know I got a thing with the kids now, but if I’m going younger than four and a half, it’s like being on a parabola where you go around, and you’re back where you started. Doing the ‘American Pie’ series was a huge kick, though. I love it when kids get excited about seeing it, and for a guy my age, having teenagers know who you are is fabulous! And they’re fun to do, too. I like doing these pictures that cater to a young crowd, and I like being able to make these kids laugh.
Levy: I tried to inject a bit of Barney Fife into him. I thought ‘The Andie Griffith Show’ was the greatest half hour comedy show ever on television. It’s hard to believe that a show existed like that, where it was all character-driven, and there were no jokes on that show; not one! That is the best kind of comedy. Don Knotts and everyone on that show were great.
As he was scripted, Max was written a little on the broader side, with him going undercover and constantly showing up in different outfits. I suggested making him plain clothes and giving him an office in his basement. He doesn’t make much money, he always wanted to be a cop and never made it. That grounds the character, and that’s what I like in whatever I’m involved with. There has to be some sort of emotional grounding in the character. If I can see great comic potential in something, even it’s not on the page and I think it can be if they’re willing to make some changes, that is how these things work for me.
CS!: You seem to be getting a bit more active and doing more physical comedy in New York Minute, too. Is that something you want to pursue more?
Levy: No. I don’t feel that I do physical comedy very well. When it gets too physical, I’m not in my element. Diving off the stage in New York Minute is the only physical thing I think I’ve done in any movie.
CS!: For your next movie, you’re starring with Samuel L. Jackson in the action-comedy, The Man. How’s that going?
Levy: We’re two weeks into filming in Toronto. There is action in there, but he does most of it. I tumble out of cars and I get shot in the ass, so sure, there’s some more physical stuff there.
CS!: The first season of SCTV is coming out in a DVD box set on June 8th. Any chance of a reunion?
Levy: I honestly don’t think that’s going to happen. I just think that reunions are something kind of exciting, but when you think about it, they’re also kind of sad. There’s something not that great about them. We had a thing in Aspen a few years ago where they gave us an award, and that was the first time we had been together as a group. That was kind of fun.
CS!: Andrea Martin from SCTV also appears in New York Minute. What was it like working with her again?
Levy: That was great. When I heard that Andrea was doing the movie, I tried to remember when the last time I had worked with her, and it had been a long time. It was great seeing her cute little face on the set.
New York Minute opens May 7th.