It has been ten years since EuroTrip, riding the raunchy teen comedy revival of the late ’90s and early naughts, burst into theaters and exposed an entire generation of teens to a beach full of dangling male genitalia. And even a decade later, those involved with the cult classic are still proud of it – every sex organ included.
At least, that was the vibe taken away from the audience Wednesday night in Hollywood, where cast members Scott Mechlowicz (“Scotty”), Jacob Pitts (“Cooper”), Michelle Trachtenberg (“Jenny”), Travis Wester (“Jamie”) joined producers Jeff Schaffer, Alec Berg, and David Mandel and several others for a Q&A session. (The robot man even showed up – sans robot outfit.)
Here are some of the things that we – like Scotty – didn’t know:
+ Matt Damon’s cameo – as the band leader/guy who steals Scotty’s girlfriend, played by Kristin Kreuk – came together because the producers knew him from their days at Harvard…and he was in Prague. In fact, many parts, including Jeffrey Tambor’s, were filled because the actors were already shooting in Prague, where EuroTrip was filmed. “No one wanted to fly over and we didn’t have the money to have anyone fly over,” recalled Schaffer. “So we basically looked around and said, ‘Who’s filming in Prague?’” Luckily, Damon was in town shooting The Brothers Grimm. Not so lucky, however, was that the only night he was available was the shortest night of the summer, so “we literally had from 10:45 at night…and the sun would come up at 3:45,” remembered Schaffer. “So we shot it in, like, 4.5 hours.”
+ They had a lot of trouble casting Scotty. “It had gotten to the point, literally, where we were going to restaurants, staring at our waiters,” said Mandel of the search for Scotty. Luckily, Mechlowicz, a UCLA student at the time, “rode in on a white horse” to save them from further stress over casting the all-important part. Meanwhile, Trachtenberg credited her physical comedy in her audition – which was the airplane scene where Jenny climbs over Cooper on her way to the bathroom – to her getting the job offer from the producers. “And I blew them,” deadpanned Trachtenberg, who got several laughs from the crowd for her natural EuroTrip-style humor. Above all, though, producers said it was important to them at the time to cast real teenagers in the roles. “We didn’t want 35-year-olds playing high school kids,” said Schaffer.
+ Scotty is seen reading Jackie Collins’ Sinners on the train – the same book his mother is reading back at home. The reason? “It was the only book we could clear [legally], so everyone was reading it,” said Schaffer.
+ Despite all the political incorrectness in the film, there was one scene that was just too much for the studio, referred to by producers as “The Anne Frank sex scene.” In the scene – never filmed but available in script form on the original DVD, they claim – Cooper finds a flyer for a sex club called “The Secret Room” and accidentally misidentifies the house of Anne Frank as the club. (“He asks somebody, ‘Is this The Secret Room’ and they go, ‘Yes, it will change your life,’” Berg recalled.) Encountering a big line outside, Cooper assumes he has found the correct place, but instead of waiting, he goes through a backdoor. Once he discovers a small room with a small bed, he decides to get naked and wait for a sex worker – but soon after finds himself exposed in front of a tour group. (To make matters worse, Anne Frank’s only living relative was a part of the tour group.) And as if that wasn’t enough to horrify the studio, the scene also had Cooper reaching for a small mannequin – one guess as to whom it was modeled after – and covering his private parts with it, resulting in an unintended sexually explicit visual for the tour group. The producers wrote the Club Vandersexxx scene to replace this scene once it was nixed.
+ Fred Armisen’s legendary cameo as the creepy foreigner came together very quickly. In fact, Mandel said the day after being cast, Armisen was on a plane to Prague and filmed the very next day. “We were lucky the suit fit,” he said. Meanwhile, Wester praised Armisen for being “the only actor to ever make me fall out of a seat completely” while laughing. “It took four or five takes before I actually calmed down,” he said.
+ The actor in the nickel scene (Miroslav Táborský) is “the Dustin Hoffman of the Czech Republic” – and resisted doing the scene. His hesitance partly came from not wanting to slap the man who was his boss in the movie, because he didn’t want to slap someone with the back of his hand. “We had to go into a very long explanation of American prostitution and pimpdom and the origins of the pimp-slap and how it was the worst thing you could do to another human,” said Mandel. “You did more directing to that guy than I’ve done in my entire career,” joked Kevin Smith, who moderated the panel.
+ The original title was Ugly Americans. But the studio didn’t want the movie with “ugly” in the title or a “sarcastic or ironic” title, said Schaffer. “We had a knock-down, drag-out fight with them,” said Schaffer, “which is like having a fight with your parents when you’re four because they can call it whenever they want.” And they did.
+ A “Bert” is a unit of money. Unofficially, of course. But it became a running joke to the producers after they paid young actor Nial Iskhakov “about $175” to play the role of Bert, Scotty’s brother in the film. “ ‘Can we put a tree in that window?’ ‘Well, it will be six Berts,’” Schaffer recalled.
+ The nude beach scene originally had much less nudity in it. But once they started filming, they realized it took away from the comedy to have all the extras holding surf boards and other objects – Austin Powers-style – to cover their private parts. “We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be funnier if it was just wall-to-wall penises?’” said Mandel. The extras likely didn’t mind the change; according to Trachtenberg, there was a lack of shyness between takes, making for an awkward craft services environment.
+ You can, in part, thank Barney for the robot fight scene. The man inside the Barney suit was Mechlowicz’s acting teacher when he was young. And “he had mad robot skills,” said Mechlowicz, “so I picked it up early.”