CATEGORIES Movie NewsAs Randy in "21 and Over," Jonathan Keltz gets shot at, gored, takes both a dart and a baseball bat to the face, and gets his phone, van, and girlfriend stolen -- and he's the bad guy in "Hangover" writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore's directorial debut.
As rough as Randy's night turns out, things go even worse for Casey (Skylar Astin) and Miller (up-and-comer Miles Teller) after they visit their childhood friend Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) on the eve of an important med school interview. And what was supposed to be one quick beer to celebrate Jeff's 21st birthday turns into an epic night complete with drunken debauchery, male nudity, and a rampaging buffalo.
With "21 and Over" coming out this Friday, Moviefone sat down with Keltz in Toronto to talk about being misunderstood, how he celebrated his own 21st birthday, and who was scarier to work with, the buffalo or Miles Teller.
Moviefone: So they really beat you up in this movie... Jonathan Keltz: Yeah, see, the thing is, everyone talks about Randy being the villain, but really, he's just having a bad night. It is just a bad night. Everything that can go wrong, does. Does Randy probably misbehave? Yes, I think that he certainly has a resting place of quite a bit of aggression, but yeah, I'm set up for a nice Spring Break, nice everything. It's going to be great. And then graduating, who knows? Now I'm probably disfigured permanently. Potentially arrested. Definitely sporting some bruises. But I do have some new friends by the end of it there.
And you didn't have to take your clothes off. And I didn't have to take my clothes off, which is good. Yeah, I'm the lucky one there.
What made you want to play Randy? On the page, the character is very cartoony, he's big, he's a larger-than-life screamer. And so the thing that was fun was trying to figure out a way to ground that. I definitely was inspired by what Bradley Cooper was able to do in "Wedding Crashers," that guy that you just hate and are rooting against, but there's just something so cool about him.
I had a lot of fun playing with these guys. The trio -- Skylar, Miles and Justin -- are just awesome. It was great getting to improv with them, I really was pumped to work with this whole crew. We were up in Seattle, I was up there for about four weeks. And then on top of that, the guys that are my posse, Danny Booko and Russ [Mercado], they're hysterical [with] the free reign that we had to improvise or ad-lib. Then of course the directors would come up, and these guys are comic geniuses. So because of something you've said, they then come up with like four different alt lines that just, they kill, they slay. So it was a blast.
Is it difficult to get amped up to play such an intense character like Randy? It can be. I certainly did my fair share of push-ups on the set of this movie. And then, the bonfire stuff, we were just running around. That was getting crazy because we're running and screaming and there's literally 700 people there running and screaming. But that was just a blast. I don't know how much I can talk about it, but taking a baseball bat to a room is pretty much a dream of mine. [Laughs] So I enjoyed that. That'll jack you up.
Was that a real buffalo they used during the bonfire scene? That was a real buffalo. There was a real buffalo on set, and there was a fake one going around as well for some more aerial shots of things. But we had a real buffalo, who is the most placid, calm guy. And then they get him riled up and they start running him at people. That was a crazy night, because the fire, it was set up bigger than this room. And they'd light it up and it would just burn, and there were about 700 revelers there, so it was a big scene.
So what was more unpredictable then, working with the live buffalo or doing the improv? [Laughs] I would say that it's much more terrifying working with Miles Teller than working with the buffalo. The buffalo was totally cool. And they had wranglers and trainers and everything. Nah, it was fun, and the thing that was cool about my character is I'm sort of sporadically in the movie, but all the times I show up are the moments that move the plot forward, that develop it and add that next layer. So although we did get to play around and have some fun, there was probably the most crucial amount of information that [we] had to get across in those scenes.
What's the atmosphere like on set on a movie like this? Honestly, it was so much fun. Everyone's attitude was just about doing everything they could to get it all on the screen and to have it all come together. I was there at the beginning and I was there at the end of the shoot, which was awesome, and the tone that Jon [Lucas] and Scott [Moore] set was fantastic, just because it was always so relaxed. No matter what was going on, no matter if we were behind or what was happening, it was just completely cool. And they were just so on point. It was my first time working for a directorial duo like that and I enjoyed it, everyone was just having so much fun. I had a number of days that I wasn't shooting while I was up there and I was going and hanging out on set anyway. Even on night shoots, I'd be there until 3:00, 4:00, 5:00 a.m. just to hang out. I love being on set, but it was just great getting to watch everybody at work. Those three guys, they're fantastic. Just being able to watch them riff together and everything, it was a great experience.
So what was your 21st birthday like? My 21st birthday was awesome. I was in LA, and it was great. I had a bunch of friends that came out. The night ended up in a completely different direction than we thought it was going to go. We went to this one place that said, "Oh yeah, it's gonna be fine, you guys can all come in, there'll be room for you." We show up and the place is completely packed, and it's like, what are we gonna do? And then this girl I know, who had just been showing up to go into that bar, she's like, "Oh, I've got a limo, you guys should hop on in." So I brought a cigar, at this point, I'm smoking a cigar, chilling in the limo, I'm like, "This is gonna be good." And then it was shortly after that that the blackness set in... [Laughs] And the rest of the night is a bit fuzzy. But we had a blast.
"21 and Over" opens in theaters on March 1.