Just when you thought you'd heard the last from the likes of Stifler, "the Shermanator" and good ol' Jim's dad, here comes American Pie Presents Band Camp, a DVD follow-up (now in stores in R-rated and unrated versions) that offers a fresh spin on the familiar franchise by chronicling the misadventures of Matt Stifler, the just-as-mischievous kid brother to the original films' Steve. Busted for, amongst many other things, mooning the audience at a high-school graduation-day concert, Matt is sentenced by his guidance counselor — aka a grown-up Shermanator — to attend the infamous (as in "There was this one time at...") band camp at which, apparently, anything can and does happen. Being a tried and true Stifler and having heard the legendary libidinous tales born of the band camp, Matt sees opportunity in his exile and sets out to live up to his brother's legacy by covertly shooting a "Bandies Gone Wild" video while serving his penance.
But how does one fill the shoes of Seann William Scott, who in the first three American Pies made Stifler Sr., if anything, memorable? "Matt resembles his outrageous older brother in many ways, and our special challenge was to find an actor who could convey that but not try to imitate Steve Stifler," says producer Mike Elliott. "If the performance were too close, we risked offending the core fan base for the series." Adds Brad Riddell, who penned Band Camp: "I was scared to death during casting. With no disrespect to the rest of the cast in the other movies, who are all fantastic, I think a lot of people started coming to the American Pie sequels to see what the hell Stifler was going to do next."
Or, in this instance, his younger sibling. Enter Tad Hilgenbrinck, the newcomer tapped to tackle the central role of Matt. "It was a real high for me when I landed this role," says the Illinois native, who in instances comes across on screen as a dead-ringer for Seann William Scott, right down to the facial mannerisms. "The chance to be a part of this franchise is about as good as it gets for an actor in this stage of his career."
Ironically, Hilgenbrinck could relate more to those Matt is victimizing than his unbridled alter ego. "Believe it or not, I did go to band camp myself, having been in the marching band my senior year of high school," he shares. "I'd play instruments, hold up signs, dance around and even played the triangle at one point. I've done it all."
That is, "all" as defined outside of the American Pie universe. "I had experience playing the triangle, but not humping it," he laughs. "And I had never heard of anyone getting 'stuck' in an oboe. I must have missed out on all that wild stuff!"
Speaking of wild stuff, with American Pie being American Pie, and especially in light of Stifler Jr.'s video voyeur agenda, Band Camp corralled a number of nubile beauties — Playboy posers Angela Little, Jennifer Walcott and Rachel Veltri included — to follow in the footsteps of Tara Reid, Shannon Elizabeth, Nikki Ziering et al. "I was ecstatic to be a part of the American Pie family," Little, a former Playmate, tells TVGuide.com. As for showing the requisite skin, she says with a laugh, "Of course I did, but it wasn't too distasteful! No one was hurt! Although I was really sore from all the dancing scenes."
Being touted as Band Camp's breakout female star is Arielle Kebbel, who plays uptight band major Elyse, Matt's chief nemesis and, thus, potential love interest. "I was really excited to have this opportunity to carry on the American Pie tradition," she tells us, "but on the same note, because of the history, I did feel the weight on my shoulders a bit. I didn't want to let the fans down."
Despite not being household names yet, Hilgenbrinck, Kebbel and the rest of Band Camp's fresh faces earned a "thumbs up" from American Pie patriarch Eugene Levy, who, as "Jim's dad," appears in the new entry as a camp advisor. "This cast worked together as a team to raise the stakes as high as they could — and they were hilarious," says the veteran funnyman.