Brittany Snow, Sophia Bush, Arielle Kebbel, and Ashanti team up against Jesse Metcalfe in their latest film
You've all been there - that one crush from high school. The only issue, they just don't know who you are. That's what happens to Brittany Snow in her new film, John Tucker Must Die.
But sometimes those crushes come true, and that's also what Brittany goes through after teaming up with Sophia Bush, Arielle Kebbel, and Ashanti - three of the most popular girls in school. When the three girls discover they're all going out with John Tucker (Jesse Metcalfe) at the same time, they use Brittany to get back at him.
John Tucker is the 'BMOC' - the captain of the basketball team and one of the most wanted guys by girls. He has rigged his dating schedule around the different female cliques in school, making sure they won't talk about him with his other girls.
Jesse took a little bit of himself when getting into the character of JT, but couldn't really relate to the 'playa' style. "Every actor has to find a way to relate to his character and I think the person I am now, or maybe more so the person I was two years ago, was pretty close or closer to John Tucker. I wanted this character to be likable and I think I pulled that off; I took a couple of small cues from my personal John Tucker from my high school and then I threw some of myself in there. But, the person I was in high school, polar opposite; I was not John Tucker in high school."
All the girls knew a 'John Tucker' in their own high school; Ashanti was actually friends with one of them. "I remember one time in high school, I was in math class with this kid named Ryan and he had two different girlfriends; I knew both of them, and they were both named Maria. He came to school with one hickey on one side and another on the other side; both of them found out, it was crazy, so it was very John Tucker-ish."
Being together with four girls was different for Sophia; she flew from New Orleans where she was working on Stay Alive with mainly all girls to Vancouver where it was mostly all girls. "We clicked so fast; I could sense the sort of communal sigh of relief. The first time we all sat down it was like, 'Yeah, everybody here is so cool! Nobody is a diva, nobody is difficult;' we had the best time. And these girls, I love to bits and pieces. I couldn't get through a month without talking to them if I tried. And we all, whether it was amazing things or not-so-great things, we all had a lot going last summer and we all pulled each other through a lot. And I knew that there was something to it when, at 4am, if one of us was having a problem we could call the other and we'd all end up sleeping in each other's beds all the time; it was sleep-away camp, it was slumber party time, it was incredible and fun. There was a night nearing the end of the shoot when we were getting everything together for wrap and we were all writing our notes out to people - we were in Brittany's room; Brittany and I were on the couch and we'd ordered food and we're chowing down and Arielle's over in the armchair and we're all writing and she's putting together a package, and Ashanti's over sitting at the desk and she's got her headphones on and she's working on her new song. And we're jamming and we're at that point where we weren't even talking, we just wanted to be together. And I was like this is what I have with my best girlfriends and this is amazing."
Brittany even met her current boyfriend through Arielle; "Yeah, at her going away party. She was doing a movie, and it was her going away party, and he was sitting right across from me. So if not for John Tucker, and not for meeting Arielle, I would have never met him!"
In the film, Arielle's character works at the school TV station; she said she was born for that role. "When I was back in high school, we did have a multimedia center, and actually, even going back as early as elementary school, I used to love to be - once a week, when they do the school news, on Fridays, they would allow like kids to come on and do something. And I was on - I remember I was in fifth grade, and I was on; we made a song to not doing drugs, and it was like to "Stop in the Name of Love." So we did this whole like dance like, - 'Stop! And say no to drugs. And give yourself a hug. Think it oh-oh-over.' We did this whole thing, and I was in fifth grade on the school news. So I think going back into even elementary school, I think I was meant to be Carrie Schaeffer, because I have no problem giving it my all on the school news."
Throughout the film, the girls try to humiliate John; one instance was having him put on a thong and climb across a couple hotel balconies. Surprisingly, Jesse didn't have a problem with that scene. "When I read the script, that scene wasn't initially in the script and Betty kind of sprung that one on me. She broached the idea very delicately; I didn't have a problem with it. I thought it was going to be really funny, I thought it was going to be one of the funnier moments in the film and it was probably going to end up being a big theme in the film. But, it's definitely a risk; any actor reads that, they're going be like 'This could be disastrous and fall flat or it could be hilarious.' I think, seeing the finished product, it turned out pretty hilarious; I think it worked."
During the shooting of John Tucker, Ashanti got to show off her musical talents by singing Happy Birthday to her mother, who was on set. But she stays clear of interweaving her singing career with her acting career. "We purposely don't want to do it just to make sure people know the difference. I'm Ashanti, but venturing into Hollywood, you want to be taken serious as an actress, so we are definitely more cautious of that. I separate myself, but when we get back to the trailer - those 'hurry up and wait' moments - I'm usually writing or listening to a track. But on screen, you have to separate to become that character."
But separating herself from her character was something Brittany didn't do; she said she was exactly that loner and the quiet one in high school. "In middle school and high school, I was a lot like Kate. And it's kind of stereotypical to say, 'Oh, I was the loser in high school,' but I really was not that popular. I hadn't discovered hair gel yet, and I had braces, and I had curly hair, and I thought like combing curly hair was genius - not a good idea! And so I was just not that cute, and I kind of was one of those girls that just wanted to fit in so badly. I thought the senior girls were just the most popular girls and so beautiful and they were cheerleaders, and I wanted to be them. I was in TV production class with all the popular girls, and they hated me; they were just like, 'Freshman, go away.' I was so concerned about everyone liking me, but I just didn't fit in, so I kind of brought that to the Kate character - just really trying, but not wanting to try too hard, wanting to be yourself, but not knowing who yourself really was. It's just like a whole bunch of emotions that go on in high school, especially when you're trying to find your friends."
Jesse really got the short end of the stick during the shoot - well kind of; I guess being around hot women doesn't hurt, but none of them wanted to hang out with him. According to Arielle, the girls wanted to keep him out of the party. "He didn't have a fighting chance; I mean, first of all, let's face it, he's John Tucker. The movie's named after him, so we had to at least take what we could get."
But she said sometimes they took advantage of his success on Desperate Housewives. "He's got quite a big female fan base, and we were able to go out and have some great nights out on his behalf, which was fantastic. We all enjoyed the dance floor in the best clubs thanks to him; we were all very grateful."
And of course, Jesse certainly wasn't intimidated by the four girls in John Tucker; he had been working with the five most intimidating women on television. "I didn't know what to expect coming on a set with five beautiful women; I was clearly outnumbered so I had to come in pretty docile and just kind of try to find my place and fit in. There were definitely a lot of conversations where I was like 'Uhhh, I'm not gonna try to get into this conversation; I think I'm gonna give them their space.' There would be a lot of late nights on set where the girls would be talking and I was sitting in my chair twiddling my thumbs; I don't think I have anything to add to that conversation and don't think I want to be a part of it."
Oh, that fifth woman he mentioned - Jenny McCarthy, who plays Brittany's mom. He said, "Jenny McCarthy is crazy and hilarious; she's got an amazing sense of humor. It's good that a girl has a great sense of humor, at least, if she can laugh at my jokes, even if she's not cracking up."
Brittany and Ashanti worked together before on American Dreams; Ashanti guest starred as Dionne Warwick. "I remember; I signed an autograph for her, yeah. I remember that, I remember that; that was one of my first - the American Music Awards were right around that time and Dick Clark had actually told me that I had won! He told me I had won when I was recording it, and then we did the show. I remember that whole time; it was a good time. I remember she was so small, and young and I signed her autograph; she was cool. I remember she had a book, a cute little book like this, but it was colorful."
Brittany was a little nervous when she reunited with Ashanti on John Tucker. "I actually told her that the first day; I was like, 'You don't even understand what a huge fan I was of yours, and I still am, but I have to be cool!' And she started laughing in that infamous Ashanti laugh or whatever; she's basically the most amazing girl ever, and it was really cool to see somebody who's actually so talented and so famous, and then yet be so gracious and just a real girl. I love that about her."
You can love everything about John Tucker Must Die; it hits theaters July 28th, rated PG-13.