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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Writers of “The Hangover” pair up for another wild film in “21 & Over”

Dr. S. Deborah Kang presents a lecture in the DeGolyer Library as part of the Brown Bag series.
Sarah Acosta
Dr. S. Deborah Kang presents a lecture in the DeGolyer Library as part of the Brown Bag series.

“21 & Over” stars Skylar Astin, Justin Chon and Miles Teller. The film hits theaters on Friday, March 1. (Courtesy of Relativity Media)

The Saddle Ranch Chop House on Hollywood’s famed Sunset Boulevard is quite the wild place.

However, even with its leather-bound bar stools and a morose collection of horns and antlers, the venue doesn’t hold a candle to the wild times portrayed in “21 & Over,” the new film from Jon Lucas and Scott Moore who struck comedic gold when they wrote the script to 2009’s “The Hangover.”

Despite existing in the shadows of “21 & Over’s” over-the-top debauchery, the Saddle Ranch Chop House played host to the film’s West Coast press day where Lucas, Moore and a handful of the movie’s cast sat down to talk shop.

Lucas and Moore met on the set of “Beverly Hills Cop” in 1999, and ever since the duo has been working together to pen such films as “Four Christmases,” “The Change Up” and “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.”

However, with “21 & Over,” Lucas and Moore step from behind the computer screen and try their hand at directing.

“It’s definitely a transition from writing to directing,” Moore said. “There were scenes in the movie that looked great on paper but ended up being a directorial nightmare.”

Much like “The Hangover,” “21 & Over” relies on outlandish “can this really happen?” scenes for the bulk of its laughs.

One in particular involved two things even the most seasoned directors, let alone brand new ones like Moore and Scott, would have trouble with: a bonfire and a buffalo.

“I’ve learned my lesson and will never write a scene with a bonfire or a buffalo again,” said Lucas. “We really underestimated how long it would take to get the scene right especially when we were working with 200 extras and shooting during the middle of the night. I don’t even think we had lights during the shot.”

When it came to casting, both Lucas and Moore wanted to find “fresh faces” for the movie.

The movie’s first big attachment came with the story’s main character Casey. Skylar Astin, of “Pitch Perfect” , jumped at the chance to work with the directors.

“I did ’21 & Over’ before I was in ‘Pitch Perfect,’ so this really was my first leading role,” Astin said.

Austin, like his on-screen romance Sarah Wright, didn’t attend college.

In fact, after a semester in school, the actor left to pursue his career full time. “21 & Over,” which was shot on the University of Washington’s campus, which allowed the actor to relive a previous experience he left behind.

“I was at LSU [Louisiana State University] for ‘Pitch Perfect’ and was at UW for ’21 & Over,’ so I was definitely getting the whole college experience all over again” Austin said. “Me and the guys [co-stars, Miles Teller and Justin Chon] got to go out a couple of times before shooting began and see what the scene was like.”

While most of the movie is spent following the film’s cast around University of Washington’s campus as they find themselves in increasingly severe predicaments, director Jon Lucas claims that there is more to the story that meets the eye.

“At the end of the day, the film is really about a group of guys and how hard they are willing to fight for the friendships of their past,” Lucas said. “That’s how it really is, if you really want to make friendships work, you’ve got to be willing to fight for them.”

Keeping in line with his sediment, Lucas will be flying his college roommates out for the film’s Los Angeles premiere.

“21 & Over” arrives in theaters nationwide this weekend. 

Come back Friday for an in-depth interview with the film’s female lead Sarah Wright. 

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