IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Sarah Wright Talks '21 & Over' Blu-ray/DVD and 'Walk of Shame'

Tuesday, 18 June 2013 08:23 Written by  Jami Philbrick
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IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Sarah Wright Talks '21 & Over' Blu-ray/DVD and 'Walk of Shame'

Sarah Wright is definitely one up and coming young actress that you want to keep an eye on! She began her career as a cast member on two different short-lived TV series, Quintuplets, and The Loop, before making her jump to the big screen in a string of successful comedies including Made of Honor, and The House Bunny. She has also appeared in the independent dramas Touchback, and Celeste and Jessie Forever, as well as having a recurring role on the beloved NBC series Parks and Recreation. But her big break came earlier this year with her role in the popular college comedy 21 & Over, which will be available on Blu-ray and DVD beginning June 18th. 

The film, which was written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (The Hangover), centers on Casey (Skylar Astin) and Miller (Miles Teller), best friends from high school who reunite at their buddy Jeff’s (Justin Chon) university to take him out for his 21st birthday. Jeff is reluctant because he has a big test the next day but eventually agrees. The trouble begins when Jeff gets too intoxicated to respond and is unable to tell his friends where he lives on campus. In a quest to get their friend home in time to rest for his exam, Casey and Miller begin an all-night journey that includes breaking into a sorority house, disrupting a pep rally, being chased by a bull, and a multi-floor contest of fraternity drinking games. Along the way Casey meets Nicole (Wright), a sure-of-herself young co-ed who will soon be leaving college to travel abroad. While Nicole has a boyfriend when they first meet, Casey is determined to earn her affection and continues to run into her throughout his wild night. 

I recently had a chance to speak with the lovely Sarah Wright about her work on 21 & Over, as well as her upcoming film Walk of Shame. The beautiful young actress discussed her recent movie, how if felt to go back to college, her own lack of collegiate experience, filming the movie’s party scenes, the Gorge, working with directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, and the lead actors on-screen chemistry, as well as her upcoming movie Walk of Shame with Elizabeth Banks

Here is what she had to say:

IAR: To begin with, I know that you didn’t actually go to college because you began modeling at a very young age, do you feel like making 21 & Over gave you that college experience that you never really had?

Sarah Wright: Yes, that’s right. I didn't go to college. I started modeling when I was fifteen or sixteen. So I was traveling in Japan, I was living in Greece when I was nineteen and then I was in Chicago. So I was traveling all over. I didn't have that sort of a college experience, it was more the experience of being abroad and travelling around. But it was so fun for me to do this movie, be on campus, hang out with the sorority there, get that feel and be a part of it without the school part, which was great. 

So you got the best part of college without having to do the worst part of college, is that right?

Wright: Exactly. I got to hang out, party, and go to diners really late at night. It was really fun and I loved being on that campus. It was so beautiful and there was a lot of history there so it was great.

Was it difficult to play a college student without having that experience in your own history to draw on? 

Wright: Not really because my character wants to travel and find something with her life before she has to settle down and be a mom. So when you meet Nicole that's one of the first things that's she's talking about. Part of what I liked about this character was that she was sort of like me where I started at the University of Louisville and went for about four or five weeks then I bailed, packed up my car and moved to Chicago. From there I started traveling all over for modeling and stuff. That was kind of my thing where I wanted to go and get that experience, get out of my town and just find something. It was really easy to play this role because I felt like she was a lot like me. 

When you are filming a movie like this, which is basically one big party, what is the atmosphere like on set? Is it kind of like controlled chaos? Is it difficult to do your job when you are filming in bars and frat houses and college kids are surrounding you pretending to be wasted?

Wright: We had fantastic extras that were all playing it up wild at the bar at 3:00 in the morning when we were still trying to shoot part of a scene that was remotely normal and not screaming or pounding drinks. It's kind of wild, but it also keeps your adrenaline pumping and it's really fun. I think the scene that was probably the wildest for all of us was when we were at the Gorge (Amphitheatre) where we actually shot at a house music festival. There were kids dressed up as bunny rabbits and in tutus and tube tops and they were all for real like rolling and partying. We were just supposed to blend in and pretend we were a part of it. That was probably the wildest thing that we shot. There were no lines in those scenes so it was fine.

Obviously this was a big studio movie, but since there was a real concert going on I imagine that when you were filming the Gorge scenes you had a small crew and were shooting guerilla style, so did that make it feel more like you were making a small independent movie?

Wright: Totally! It was totally guerilla style. At that point we had been shooting the movie for a while and knew everybody really well. So went out there with our DP and the directors and we were running around grabbing shots wherever we could. That was so fun. It was fun because it wasn't a big production there and the scenes that we shot turned out so beautiful. Yes, that felt more independent, but that was a blast to shoot. 

Can you tell me about working with directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore? Was there a lot of improvisation on set and finding new jokes while you were shooting or did they want you to stick pretty closely to the script?

Wright: They're awesome. They're the most amazing guys. They were really open to us improving and they wanted us to do as much as we possibly could bring to it. I think that was part of why we were chosen for the roles because Skylar (Astin) and I chemistry read together and we'd just go off the page, do as much as we possibly could and bring ourselves to the parts. They were so encouraging about that, they loved it and they told us what they liked and the same as on set. We'd do part of a scene on the page and for the next take we would do some alts, so on the third take we would do an improv scene. That was really cool to do. I think it makes for a very natural environment and you find little gems here and there.

A lot of the  film's energy hinges on the chemistry between the three boys, what were they like on set together and what was it like for you being the one female thrown in with this trio of guys?

Wright: I loved it because since I was the only female all the guys wanted to sort of hang out, include me and make me a part of the film. I think they probably got sick of each other so whenever I would show up they'd be like, “Oh, we love scenes we get to shoot with you!” They were awesome and they did have great chemistry on and off screen. I felt like they were big brothers messing with each other. Miles (Teller) and Justin (Chon) were always trying to hit each other and wrestle or something. Skylar sings all the time. He sings about everything and so him and Miles would just start singing a song and they would sing literally until the cameras rolled action. It was fun and great to be a part of. From the beginning we all hung out together off set so we really knew each other well before we started shooting.

You mentioned that you had a chemistry test with Skylar before you were cast in the film, how involved were the two of you in developing your character’s relationship or was that pretty clearly written out in the script to begin with?

Wright: It was on the page for sure so I think that stuff was there. But the stuff I wanted to do and hopefully it came across with Nicole, was to make her a little bit more biting and make her a little bit harder for him to work for. I also wanted it to feel extremely natural and I think because when you improvise and bring some of your own stuff to it, it definitely gives it more of that feel. I laughed non-stop. I think that while we were shooting I was always laughing basically because I never knew what was coming, obviously because it was an improvisation. With a lot of those laughs I was really laughing at him and it makes for a more natural scene. 

Finally, can you talk a little bit about your role in Walk of Shame, which also stars Elizabeth Banks?     

Wright: It's a super fun character. It's a comedy and I play this dry sort of out of it character, I’m one of Elizabeth’s best friends in the movie. I had a couple of really great scenes with James Marsden where I was attacking him because he was supposedly out with her the night before and then we can't find her so I'm drilling him on all this different stuff. But it was great. It was fun to play a character that's sort of this bizarre, dry and a little ditsy or out of it. Then Gillian Jacobs from Community, she's so amazing and she was sort of my partner in crime in the movie. The dynamic between her and me and Elizabeth is really good. It’s a good girl comedy. 

Would you like to keep making comedies or do you want to eventually branch out and do some dramatic films?

Wright: Oh yeah, I would definitely love to do some more drama. But it's funny when these comedies come my way I get really excited about them. They make me laugh and smile, and they make me happy. That's what I've been drawn to and I love shooting them, but of course I would love to do a drama in the future. 

21 & Over will be available on Blu-ray and DVD beginning June 18th.

To watch our exclusive video interview with Skylar Astin and Sarah Wright about 21 & Over, please click here.

To watch our exclusive video interview with Miles Teller and Justin Chon about 21 & Over, please click here

Walk of Shame is Scheduled for release on September 20th.

FULL DISCLOSURE: 21 & Over was produced by Relativity Media, iamROGUE's parent company. 

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