The pair play a savage twist on the all-American teenaged couple

Chris Klein and Mandy Moore play a savage twist on the all-American teenaged couple in American Dreamz. Mandy stars as Sally Kendoo, a cutthroat overachiever with a heart of stone. Chris co-stars as her hapless boyfriend William Williams, a naive dreamer who is ruthlessly exploited by Sally's quest for fame. Both actors play against type and seem to be eating up their characters on screen. Here are their thoughts on "American Idol" and really achieving the American dream.

Mandy, you really play against type in American Dreamz. Was it fun to play such a mean and selfish character?

Mandy Moore: I think it's the fun and the challenge of an actress to do a meaty part like this. I guess I play against type because Sally is pretty far from who I am, so I definitely enjoyed it.

Was Sally based on someone you know?

Mandy Moore: Not really. I don't really know anyone like Sally.

What do you think about "American Idol" and the fact that someone can be plucked from obscurity and turned into an overnight sensation?

Mandy Moore: I would never discredit anyone that is working their way up on a show like "American Idol". I think they work so hard overcoming all of the obstacles to get on the show in the first place and then every week they are judged in front of all of America. It must be overwhelming, all of the pressures. I give them complete credit for getting up on stage. I think I would crumble under that pressure, so no, I think they deserve all the success that they get.

American Dreamz is an exploitation of freaks and a platform for people who will stop at nothing to be famous. Do you think that's what "American Idol" is all about?

Mandy Moore: I have no idea. You don't really get to know people behind the scenes. One can assume that it's out there, but I have no idea at the end of the day. I hope not.

Do both of you watch "American Idol"?

Mandy Moore: I watch it. I Tivo it. I'm not going to lie.

Chris Klein: I have them all on my Tivo as well.

Chris, you've worked with Paul [Weitz, the director] and his brother [Chris Weitz] on the American Pie films. What was it like working with Paul alone?

Chris Klein: Working with Paul and Chris, working with two directors, was a very seamless experience. They have the exact same vision and when one of them would give a note, the other one would come in and expound on that note. It was never something where they were competing. They made it very easy and it was actually very nice because it's just that much more support for me as a young actor back at that time. I'm so happy to work with Paul on this movie because of that seamlessness. He has a very focused vision of what he wants it to be. He makes it very comfortable to be an actor on a movie set.

You're also re-teaming with Jennifer Coolidge, who plays Mandy's mother, from the American Pie films. What's it like working with her again.

Chris Klein: Great. Jennifer Coolidge is one of the funniest women that I've ever met in my life. She likes to bully me around. She likes to practical joke and things like that. She's always present and always having a wonderful time. I think that she should be here because it would all be a little bit funnier.

Your character becomes a soldier over the course of the film, and without revealing any spoilers, comes to a fairly interesting conclusion. Are you worried that will offend anyone?

Chris Klein: When I saw the script and I saw the character, to me, the person that he is and the character that he represents kind of trumped any kind of worries that I had about political agendas. William does decide to go on this adventure for his own personal beliefs. He wants to show chivalry. He wants to find himself. He wants to be Sally Kendoo's hero again. And that's his reason for being.

Mandy, you once said you were going to put an end date on your career. Do you still feel that way?

Mandy Moore: I did? I kind of think that I meant I'd only be doing this as long as I want to be doing this. If that day comes when I'm done with the acting and singing, I'll just pack it in and go home. But I'm 21; I'm not really planning on that happening any time soon.

Do you guys feel like you've reached that American Dream?

Chris Klein: I wanted to be an actor and I wanted to be a performer. Like Hugh [Grant] said earlier, we might all have this weird gene. Hopefully I will continue to have the talent to allow that gene to play itself out for as long as it can. I think that dreams, goals, and aspirations, all of that stuff - I'm really lucky to have been able to work with the talented people that I've been able to work with and I hope to be doing that for a very long time.

Mandy Moore: I think that he said it very well. I agree.

Mandy, will you give Hugh singing and dance lessons for his new role as an eighties pop icon?

Mandy Moore: Oh, goodness, no! I'm definitely not the person to be giving anybody dance lessons. I'll tell you that much.

American Dreamz comes to theaters everywhere this Friday, April 21st, and is rated PG-13.

Julian Roman