I’ve long been a fan of The Inbetweeners and back in 2011, I sat down with Simon Bird and Joe Thomas to talk about their first movie. I’ve been able to go one better this time. All four of the guys were in Brisbane for Ekka Wednesday and I was fortunate to spend 10 minutes with them, along with director Iain Morris, to talk about their latest sequel. You can listen to the full interview by clicking here.
Matt: You’ve picked a pretty interesting day to be in Brisbane – it’s a public holiday and we’ve got the Ekka going on – have you guys been out and about?
Simon: Yeah, we’ve been out sheering sheep, been electroshocked and are now good to go.
Matt: I remember reading reports after the original film about that being the end of it. What brought you guys back together for the sequel?
Blake: We genuinely did think the last film was going to be it and then we had two and a half years of people asking us to make another one. It was lovely that people liked the first one so much that they wanted us to do another one but even so, we were still unsure about it until Iain and Damon came up with a brilliant script and once we read it, we were on board.
Iain: We hadn’t thought of a sequel when we made the first film but we missed working with each and we were so enthusiastic. We kept bumping into people who were saying “why aren’t you doing another one?” and we didn’t really have a good answer. We just said “because we said we weren’t”. So we started thinking about it two years ago.
Matt: I’m trying to think of a film in recent memory that pushes the envelope further in terms of offensiveness. Is there stuff you think of that’s just too much or stuff you have to tone down a bit?
Iain: Not really. What we tend to think is “let’s shoot everything, push it, and then if it feels like too much when we’re watching it, we can always pull it back in the editing room”. You’d rather be in a position where we’d taken it to the nth degree and got it rather than worrying about it later.
Matt: Of all the places you could have gone, what made you think of Australia?
Simon: A lot of British kids that age go to Australia for their gap year so it felt like a natural fit in the same way that going to Magaluf felt in the first film. It feels believable that they would at least spend a few weeks in Australia.
Iain: I was here in Australia as a high school exchange student and so I had an idea of the people who travel here. For example, I went to schoolies week and saw the Gold Coast life. It feels like a place where a lot of people come from England to go backpacking. Also, it hasn’t got that same poshness that you get from people travelling to India or South East Asia. Australia is more of a place where people go to get drunk, pick some fruit and get drunk again.
Matt: I’m trying to think of the closest location to Brisbane that you used. Were the waterslide park scenes filmed at Wet’n’Wild on the Gold Coast?
Joe: Yeah, we spent quite a few days at Wet’n’Wild. A big sequence of the film was shot at Wet’n’Wild and there were some quite challenging scenes.
Matt: I believe the youngest of you is 26 and that would be James. Is there a lot of work that goes into making you guys look young on screen?
Blake: Yeah, shaving is a big part of it.
Joe: And yeah, we’re pretty immature. We regress back when we get together as a four. To an extent, growing up is something that you have to force yourself to do so you can kind of “undo that” when the time comes to film. In general, teenagers are just people who are little bit more intimidated and less prepared for the world than adults. Adults aren’t that much more prepared… it’s just that they’re pretending more… and so if you stop pretending then you’ll find your inner teenager quite quickly I think.
Iain: You guys are incredibly immature on set so well done.
James: Well that’s because we are committed to our art. (laughs)
Matt: I spoke to Chris O’Dowd earlier in the year about the release of Cuban Fury and he said it was really hard for him to play such a despicable human being opposite Nick Frost. How easy is it for guys to be so awful to each other during the filming?
Joe: We don’t mind the swearing and that sort of stuff. That’s how we talk to each other anyway!
Iain: I always remember that scene in series 2 where you said to the old woman to “lick my Cornetto”…
Jay: You just don’t think about it. It’s almost like you hover above the scene like an “out of body experience”. You take yourself away from what’s going on. If you think about it too much, you’ll be standing there asking an old lady to suck you off and you won’t have the confidence and it won’t be a good performance.
Simon: I don’t find it that embarrassing to be honest. The more embarrassing it is for me, the funnier I think it’s going to be on screen. You always know it’s for a good cause.
Matt: Australia’s most well-known film critic is a lady by the name of Margaret Pomeranz and she gave your original film 1 star and described as “schoolies week with a bunch of morons”. You guys clearly have a huge fan base but do you read any of the negative stuff that gets said?
Iain: I saw that. She also said that this is the reason why Britain lost the empire. To be honest, if she’s enjoying the film, we’ve made the wrong film.
Simon: We’ve actually had some quite good reviews this time which is worrying!
Iain: Yeah, the people who are the equivalent of her in the UK have been very nice about this film.
Matt: So is this it? Is there any chance that there’ll be a third film?
Iain: I don’t think so. This film felt like something we did because people really, really wanted it. We were lucky that we were in that position and also because of the fact we loved working together. I think you’ve got to know when to leave though. You don’t want to overstay your welcome. But I’m really proud of this film and I think it’s a really good end to their story.
Matt: What have you all got planned next? Are you going to stick to acting or branch out into different things?
Joe: Quite a few of us have comedy projects we’re trying to write on our own.
Iain: They’ve seen me and Damon do it and they’ve gone “well it can’t be that hard”.
Blake: And now we can direct our own stuff. (laughs)
Joe: Yeah, I’m working on a couple of things but it’s very early days at the moment.
James: To be fair on Damon and Iain, one thing that we’ve learned is that there’s nothing wrong with being quite stubborn and only doing something if you really want to do it and really believe in it. You don’t want to do something for the wrong reasons. I think we’re all like that in a way and so we probably will take our time before we decide what to do next. I’ve been doing a bit of writing which suits me as I can do it at home and I have two little boys who I can spend more time with.
Simon: I’m sort of the same. There’s a bit of pressure being involved with something as successful and popular as The Inbetweeners. People will be watching to see what you do next and so we want it to be the right thing. Not many of those opportunities come up and so a lot of it is a waiting game.