The all-night party movie, a special genre that includes "American Graffiti," "Sixteen Candles," "Superbad" and "The Hangover," reaches new heights with "Project X."
Its nightmarish chaos is over the top, but the movie does have an extraordinary purity and primal energy.
Still, “Project X’s” twentysomething actors Thomas Mann, Oliver J. Cooper and Jonathan Daniel Brown say that having to pretend to be at a party for five weeks wasn’t as much fun as it might seem to viewers.
"It feels like we've been to war and back," says Cooper, who, along with his castmates, recently was in The City to talk about the movie.
The guys became instant friends the moment they were cast – even though they originally auditioned for each other's roles.
To achieve the look of one all-night party, scenes were shot consecutively, in five weeks.
The process accommodated destroying a real house – not a set – in real time, says Brown.
Filmmakers also wanted to naturally show the effects of such destructive behavior: "You see the wear and tear on the partiers – 25 days in, we look exhausted because we are exhausted," says Brown.
Of course, no real alcohol was on the set, and the cast ingested vitamin packs and vitamin drinks to keep going.
Cooper says he drank coffee one day and "crashed by noon."
Still, the actors claim "Project X" shows more than just a huge party.
"I think people believe this is how the youth lives today," says Mann. "But, this is one special night for these guys, and they're losers and they've never experienced anything like this. And you should be able to root for them."
Brown agrees: "The movie's a lot smarter than people might expect it to be," he says, adding that audiences may see "small stuff" upon repeat viewing.
"The dialogue is very real," he says. "There are no punch lines, no setups."
Mann admits that he enjoyed shooting the script’s quieter, more reflective moments: "You could turn the volume down and see it from a wider perspective."
All three are excited about the movie's future, picturing themselves signing autographs 20 years from now.
With opening weekend here, Mann says, “I feel like a lot of people are going to buy tickets for 'The Lorax' and sneak in. But in a way, we made the movie for them!"
IF YOU GO
Starring Thomas Mann, Oliver J. Cooper, Jonathan Daniel Brown
Written by Matt Drake, Michael Bacall
Directed by Nima Nourizadeh
Running time 1 hour 28 minutes