The cast and crew of the new teen comedy talk about Amanda changing from a girl to a boy
Amanda Bynes is becoming a boy. Well, not quite, but when the girl's soccer team is taken out of her school, she proves she's good enough to play on the boy's team. The only thing is, she pretends to be her twin brother Sebastian and go play on a rival high school's team.
Amanda says getting used to the outfits and the mannerisms of becoming a male at first, didn't really flow with her natural style. "The most difficult part was the transformation and just the morning and doing it and having to stay in it all day."
In our roundtable room, Amanda was paired with Channing Tatum. You could tell they had been around each other for a long time because he started answering questions for her. He joked about it saying, "I'm just the backup. I just fill in the parts."
And when we questioned Amanda playing a boy, Channing chimed in first with "She's not playing." Amanda continued his humor saying, "I'm actually a man." But she did answer honestly, eventually. "No, it was fun and I had a great time; I had fun playing someone else and doing the whole thing. I miss being there; it was fun and it was special and I'm sad that it's over."
Director Andy Fickman chose a soccer setting for two reasons - to watch other people play and to cast Vinnie Jones as the boy's soccer coach. To explain the first, you'll have to realize Andy grew up in Texas, where football is the main sport. "I became a fan; I was coaching my son's soccer team. That gave me a real love for the sport and once I started doing research I really got into it."
As far as Vinnie Jones - the man is tough, he even looks tough. He was Andy's only choice for the role. "He was the only person I met with and the only offer I made. I think it was one of those things that if he doesn't say 'yes' - everyone sort of warned me that this was not a Vinnie Jones type of movie. I didn't know how he would respond to our take on soccer and what we were doing, but we just got along right away. We just sort of connected; having his involvement was really instrumental.
Andy says the former World Class soccer star also helped out on set. "The cast loved him, the crew loved him; when we were doing soccer, Vinnie was always by my side. He'd see something in the monitor and a lot of the coaches when we would do a lot of the practice and things I would say to him 'I want it to look like what you did.' I wanted it to look and feel right. There were days we'd finished shooting and he'd say that whole day reminded him of when he was back in camp when he was getting ready for a game; I told him 'look, be your coach. Anything that comes out of your mouth, make it be something they said to you.'"
For Vinnie, getting that chance to act in a teen comedy wasn't all that odd; he was also in 2004's EuroTrip. Things just seemed to come naturally. "To be honest, we didn't use any of my stuff. You know, they had enough people that had done all that, and I wanted to come in and just do my acting. I didn't want to make myself busy, you know. I mean, a couple of times, I went to him, 'Andy, we wouldn't do it like that.' 'All right.' So we do another ten takes of how he (Andy) wanted to do it."
In the movie, Amanda's and Channing's relationship is a little unusual. Amanda plays Viola, who pretends to be Sebastian, but Viola is falling in love with Channing's character of Duke, but since Duke doesn't realize Viola is Sebastian, he doesn't have the same feelings. So then there's this girl Olivia, who starts to fall in love with Sebastian, who's really Viola. Duke is also in love with Olivia and to make Sebastian jealous, she goes out with Duke. But then Viola gets jealous and tries to break them up. Sound familiar? Well, other than it being a bit confusing, She's the Man is based on William Shakespeare's comedy Twelfth Night.
Andy says keeping all straight was the easy part, having the young cast fall in love with each other and making it believable on screen was the tough part. "I always wanted the scenes with Olivia to be romantic because for me to buy it as an audience member I have to buy Olivia is falling in love with this guy. Part of it has to be the sweetness that's coming through on Amanda's side; that was probably the stuff just emotionally for Amanda. The more she was able to do it, the easier it was. That was really only in the beginning.
Both Amanda and Channing knew about the play, but really got into it while shooting this movie. Amanda didn't read the book, but "I wish I had now for all these questions." Channing couldn't remember if he had seen or read the play in high school. However, he pointed out, "We really left it to Andy and the writers to figure out how much of 'Twelfth Night' they wanted to put in. We just made sure we knew our characters really well and the relationship between us all."
Andy also said Amanda had a tough time walking around on set in the make up and wearing the male clothes, but that helped her with her character. "Those first couple of days, when she'd walk around nobody would pay attention to her, nobody was rushing to get her a tab or anything. So because of that, when she was wondering around as a guy she was sort use to the fact."
Amanda agreed and says those first days really enhanced her role. "That's all in the movie; I worry on screen. So I think that's why I felt ok with it, because I thought I could say it to my best friend in the movie, 'Oh my G-d, everybody knows.'" Channing finished her sentiments with "Also, she wasn't trying to be a perfect guy; it would have been boring if she was really trying to be a dude."
That's what makes this movie so charming; it's believable to an extent, but the humor is in the unbelievable. And one of Amanda and Channing's favorite scenes is completely unforgettable. When Amanda first arrives at her new school as Sebastian, her box of tampons falls out of her bag; she plays it off saying that it helps with nose bleeds. In a later scene, Channing has one of the tampons up his nose to stop the bleeding. Yes, I know that sounds gross, but the whole cast plays it off well. "I had a good time with it; I truly enjoyed having a tampon up my nose."
After this film, you'll be seeing Channing in Music High; it's about a teen who turns his life around by performing in a group at school. He just wrapped production on that in my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. Amanda is also focusing more on movies; she's still not sure if her WB show What I Like About You is returning next year on The CW. "We did four seasons and we had a lot of fun and I had a great time doing it; I made friends on that, too. I'm moving on anyway, mentally. I've been wanting to do movies anyway, so I've been taking different meetings."
Vinnie Jones will be in a little movie this spring called X-Men: The Last Stand. He plays Juggernaut. He couldn't talk too much about the character, only saying "He's a big guy; What is he, 6 foot 6? Built like a brick sh*t house, strength is ridiculous, and what Brett (Ratner) was saying was when he gets going, he's unstoppable. Not even a juggernaut could stop him head on; he gets his helmet down, runs through walls as if they're not there."
She's the Man is definitely not a normal teen comedy. It's smart, funny, and Amanda shows off her acting skills with a sort of boyish charm!
She's the Man is in theaters March 17th; it's rated PG-13.