Three guys throw a party that starts out with the best intentions but turns into series of disastrous situations with an assortment of bizarre characters. Yet another sequel to The Hangover? Well, its produced by the director of the two films, however Project X tries to be a little more ambitious. The film opens in theaters this Friday, March 2.
Three teenage friends (Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, Jonathan Daniel Brown) are unhappy with their social status and lack of female companionship. To rectify the situation they figure if they organize the ultimate bash, their nothing personas will magically disappear and vault them to teen hormone heaven. Of course, what actually happens is a far less than satisfying result than what these geniuses hoped for. The film has been rated R by the MPAA for crude and sexual content throughout, nudity, drugs, drinking, pervasive language, reckless behavior and mayhem; all involving teens.
Project X producer and The Hangover director Todd Phillips explains how the film evolved. He says, It started in an odd way, more like an experiment. Once we got the concept from [executive producer] Alex Heineman, a bunch of us sat around in a room and tossed out stories about memorable parties, ones that we were either a part of or had just heard about. From there, it was about figuring out the vibe, the tone, the story of the movie. Thats the fun part.
Phillips goes on to explain, This films really about the anonymous guys. Theyre not this, theyre not that. Theyre the ones that no one notices, so they dont even get labeled. Theyre invisible. Its about what Costa (Oliver Cooper) says in the film, We need a game changer. I actually think most kids in high school fall into that group, as opposed to the jocks or the nerds. Most feel anonymous.
After the brainstorming session mentioned by Phillips, they got writer Michael Bacall to develop the story line. Todd contacted me while I was in Toronto shooting another film. says Bacall, We discussed the concept and that night I wrote a stream of consciousness e-mail that essentially outlined the entire movie. The idea from the outset was to create the gnarliest high school party of all time. It was clear we needed a flamethrower. The rest of the story naturally fell into place after a couple weeks.
What differentiates Project X is it was filmed in a home video format, to give the viewer the impression that its happening spontaneously. And thats where the writers had their biggest challenges. According to screenwriter Matt Drake, It was a challenge at first, trying to create a context in which the presence of a camera was justified and believable, yet not so distracting to audiences as to break the proverbial fourth wall. Once we figured that out, the challenges became more technical, like what kind(s) of bodily fluids do we want to see? and should we kill someone or not?
Director Nima Nourizadeh, who has made a reputation through party themed Adidas commercials, was given his first film directorial assignment. Nima was a perfect match to the material, comments Phillips. Hes a London-based director who comes from a music video and commercial world. Even though he hadnt done a feature before, his work lends itself to the style of what we wanted Project X to be. But even more than his work, it was meeting with him, talking with him about the tone, the kind of movie he wanted to make. He seemed to really get it.
Nourizadeh remembers, I gave them my take on it, how I would want to develop the script. Also, how I would want the movie to look and feel. After a couple of calls to the producing team, they put me on the phone with Todd. We really vibed, chatted and laughed a lot. After that, (executive producer) Scott Budnick told me that they wanted me out there. I didnt know exactly what that meant, so I packed for about two weeks and came to Los Angeles. Next thing I knew, itd been two years.
However, the director knew why they wanted him. They thought I could bring my style to it, make it feel authentic. he relates,What got me excited was doing this purely in first-person perspective. They wanted to ground it, to come at it with a realistic approach. And I thought great, if thats what we want, then I want to cast unknowns. To find new kids that were coming up was an exciting prospect.
Sounknown actors, an experimental shooting format with a first time director about a familiar story concept. There may be a method to this. If Project X is successful, there may some ground broken if they can take a re-worked plot and make it work with unconventional film making techniques. Or maybe the film will be just over-the-top enough to attract the toilet humor audiences. Or it may just go into the toilet, period.
Project X Trailer