Chris Klein on how he got his big break
July 12th, 2012
10:38 AM ET

Chris Klein on how he got his big break

In the latest "American Pie" movie, "American Reunion," Chris Klein's character Chris "Oz" Ostreicher appears on a dance competition TV show.

But in real life? "Let me just say that a 6-feet tall, 205 pound man who's 32 years old has no business performing hip-hop," Klein told CNN. "No business at all. That is a young man's game and I will leave it to those guys."

Yet his dance performance as Oz was still "100 percent me," Klein said, explaining that he trained with a choreographer and performed all his own moves. "All I can say about that is thank goodness it's a comedy, because if it wasn't I think I'd be setting myself up for a little bit of mockery."

Klein spoke to CNN while promoting Tuesday's DVD/Blu-ray release of "American Reunion," the fourth feature film in the "American Pie" franchise (not including the slew of direct-to-DVD sequels that exist). The movie reunites the entire original cast, including Jason Biggs (Jim), Alyson Hannigan (Michelle) and Seann William Scott (Stifler), among others.

The gang, all in their 30s, gets together for a reunion weekend at their fictional Michigan alma mater, East Great Falls High School.

Klein, now 33, called reuniting with his "American Pie" castmates "absolutely awesome." He also praised co-writers and co-directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (of "Harold and Kumar" fame), noting that they "are not only incredibly talented and funny, they're also incredibly huge fans of the franchise ... [W]hat the fans of the franchise will see in 'American Reunion' is a movie that mirrors - closer than any other movie in the franchise - that very first (1999) movie, which is such a celebrated timepiece.”

What a lot of film fans may not know is that Klein appeared in “Election" – his very first professional acting gig – that same year as the first "American Pie."

The Omaha, Nebraska native was discovered when filming began in 1997 by Oscar-winning director and fellow Omahan Alexander Payne.

"Payne put me on the map back in 1997. He opened the door for me to take a step into Hollywood and I will be forever grateful to him for that. He's such a wonderful man and such a wonderful mentor," said Klein, who still remains friends with the director.

"We're from the same place - he grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, as did I. He discovered me in Omaha. He was very excited for the opportunity to discover someone in Nebraska who could capture the essence of Paul Metzler, and I'm just really grateful that at that time in my life I had what he was looking for because if that wasn't the case I might not be sitting here talking to you today," Klein added. "Fifteen years after the fact I'm really, really, really thrilled to have an acting career and really grateful to Alexander Payne for kicking that off for me."

Klein is currently appearing on FX's hit show "Wilfred" with Elijah Wood, now in its second season. Based on the Australian series of the same name, the popular comedy is about a man who sees his neighbor's dog, Wilfred, as a talkative Australian man in a dog suit while the rest of the world sees Wilfred as a regular dog. Klein plays the neighbor's obnoxious boyfriend.

Klein said his character was only supposed to be in one or two episodes in the first season, but “they really liked the work and the chemistry that my character had with Elijah's character in helping to create some conflict … To be a part of that more in season 2, I'm really looking forward to that. It's a really smart show."

Does Klein believe "Reunion" is the "American Pie" franchise's swan song?

"The decisions to make these movies come from way, way above my pay-grade," said the actor, "and the way that these movies are set up I still have to garner an invitation to be involved. So if Universal decides to continue making these movies and they continue to get incredibly talented writers and directors as well as the guys that they need for this franchise to come back before I do and then I get my invitation, I will happily RSVP."

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Filed under: movies

soundoff (One Response)
  1. Sokman

    Wilfred is hilarious

    July 12, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |

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