Sarah Wright Interview: ’21 & Over’ Bombshell on Hangin’ With the Boys and Her ‘Walk of Shame’
You might remember this bubbly actress from her role in ‘The House Bunny’ opposite Anna Farris or her stint as Rob Lowe‘s on-screen girlfriend in ‘Parks and Recreation,’ but in the upcoming ‘21 & Over,’ Sarah Wright essentially had to become one of the guys.
As her co-star Miles Teller (‘The Spectacular Now,’ ‘Project X’) pointed out to ScreenCrush in a recent interview, most wouldn’t consider being the only female in the principle cast of a raunchy college humor movie (made by the same guys who wrote ‘The Hangover’) as a walk in the park. “But Sarah’s a champ.”
While promoting ’21 & Over,’ hitting theaters March 1, Sarah chatted with us about what it was really like bonding with Skylar Astin, Miles Teller and Justin Chon; the real-life “wild night” that served as inspiration; her upcoming project ‘Walk of Shame’ with Elizabeth Banks; and more.
Did you get a chance to see the movie all the way through yet?
I haven’t seen it. I saw a rough of it, like a year ago. Not even a year ago, like six months ago or something. And it wasn’t the completed version. What I saw was awesome. I loved it, I was really happy with it, but I’ve heard it got even better. Have you seen it?
Yeah, I saw it the other night [Feb. 14], I thought it was funny. And, you know, I’ve been keeping tabs with some of your characters, like in ‘The House Bunny.’ And then I loved your character on ‘Parks and Recreation,’ and with ’21 & Over’ I was slightly surprised, in a good way. You had some fast quips and a really good chemistry going on.
But really my first question is in regards to some of the early press reactions. Some people have called ’21 & Over’ a semi-spinoff of movies like ‘Project X’ and ‘The Hangover,’ and at its worst, some have even called it a knockoff. So I want to know what your take on all of this is, and what sets ’21 & Over’ above the rest.
It’s funny. I saw ‘Project X’ and I feel like ‘Project X’ is so different than our movie. It’s a docu-style film, and I feel like there’s something really edgy and a little dark about that movie, and it’s really cool in it’s own way. And I think our film is more along the lines of ‘The Hangover,’ where it’s more of a broad comedy — it’s big and colorful, and a full-blown movie with a little bit of a romantic aspect to it. Theres a slight love story.
I think what made ‘Hangover’ so great — and I don’t want to compare a movie to ‘The Hangover,’ ‘The Hangover’ is legendary – but I think what made that movie so great is that you had all this funny happening but grounded in some really serious shit. So at the same time you’re always sort of at the edge of your seat, like what is gonna happen? And they all were taking everything very seriously, so the crazier it got, the more you were on the edge of your seat and then your release is laughing at some of the stuff that happens. I think that’s part of the genius of that film.
And with our movie, I think it’s a younger version of that, but we do have some serious stuff that happens. There are some more intense moments and then there’s that release of laughter. I think we have an underlying story about friendship and staying in contact with the people you love and grew up with. There’s a message there – when we leave college and we’re going on our separate ways, we don’t necessarily have to leave everyone behind and become 45-year-olds already. We can still be young and be able to be a part of our group of friends, and find our way even with them. And I think because of that storyline and the comedy of it, having those elements of ‘Hangover,’ I think that it’s a younger verision of all of that.
I like what you said about the message. I was wondering, do you have any crazy party stories of your own?
Big party stories? Oh, of course! … It’s funny ‘cause when I was 16, I started traveling in Japan. I lived there for three months and then I came back and finished school and went to live in Chicago. I lived in Greece. I had a lot of party experience there.
I remember one night we were traveling out on this crazy subway train system. I felt above the world in this magic city of Tokyo. We ended up at this Gwen Stefani concert. The Japanese, their fashion is amazing and they were so into this concert. Everyone was screaming and dancing and having the best time, and it was just something I’ll never forget. It was a wild fun night, and I think, living and traveling in those places there was a lot of Nicole, this character, that I could draw from. I think she’s a free spirit and that’s what she wants. She wants to go and find herself and find new experiences in places like that. So it was easy for me to find that relaxed, balanced free spirit person in her because I lived that for years out of high school.
You are the only female actor in the principle cast, and I was wondering what the dynamic was like between you, Skylar, Miles and Justin. What was the bonding experience like off camera?
It was awesome. They were so much fun. I think because I was the only girl, they all wanted me to love them. [Laughs] So they were all so nice to me and so fun, and we were all picking on each other like brothers and sister, you know, that kind of vibe when we weren’t on set. If we finished late night, we’d all go to a 24-hour diner and have food. Skylar likes to say I’m the classy one because I’d always order a glass of wine and have a cheese plate. [Laughs] But it was fun to get to know them off set and we all bonded and just sort of fell in love. Miles is my brother. He’s so much like my own brother, and my brother and Miles are exactly the same age. As soon as a met him, I was like, “Oh my gosh, I love this guy so much.” And he’s so talented. Are you blown away by him and all the stuff he’s doing? It’s so good.
Oh yeah. He’s been in ‘The Spectacular Now’….
Yeah! He kills it.
What was your favorite scene in the entire movie to shoot?
I think my favorite scene was the one in the bar where I meet the guys for the first time because I have some fun, snarky banter with Miles, and then I have that sweet moment with Justin, and then Skylar and I sit down and start to have a real conversation. I think it was fun because it was all four of us together in that moment, and the dynamic between the four of us was great. And then Skylar and I have that moment where you see the spark start between those two characters.
We had a blast shooting that. It was a night shoot and we were up all night long, so by the end of the night we were just improv-ing, doing all this delirious stuff that did not make it into the movie. [Laughs] But it was really fun to shoot.
So can we expect a lot of deleted scenes in the DVD?
I really hope so because there are some really crazy stuff that we were saying.
Now you have another project coming up with Elizabeth Banks, ‘Walk of Shame.’
Yes. We just wrapped yesterday [Wednesday, Feb. 14] … We shot it all in LA.
Can you describe your part in that film?
Yeah, I play one of her [Elizabeth Banks'] best friends in the movie, and it’s another different character than what I’ve done in film before. She’s just sort of unaware and always says the wrong thing and she’s the dry comedic force, I guess, sort of the relief in that. It was such a fun character to play because it’s different from Nicole, it’s so different from my role in ‘House Bunny.’
What else do you have on the docket? I’ve seen you a lot on TV, like in ‘Parks and Recreation’ and ‘How I Met Your Mother.’ Do you have any cameos lined up or anything that you’re hoping for?
Yeah. I always like to do some fun TV stuff. I did a thing with Danny Masterson on his show that’s coming out soon, ‘Men at Work.’ And so that will be really fun. I worked with the producer on that show before on a couple of projects, and she asked me to come over and do it, and it was great. And yeah, I mean it’s pilot season now so I’ll have my eye on a couple of things and see what’s out there. But I love doing TV. I love doing TV as much as I love doing movies.
Prepared to get sloppy when ’21 & Over’ hits theaters Friday, March 1.