Nickelodeon star−turned−‘no−sex’−symbol, Bennett talks about latest role as nerdy teen out to lose his virginity
Star of “Virginity Hit” unveils life off set
Published: Thursday, September 30, 2010
Updated: Thursday, September 30, 2010 05:09
Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's most recent collaboration as producers, "The Virginity Hit," hit theaters nationwide on Sept. 24. The pseudo−mockumentary follows Matt (Matt Bennett), an unpopular teen who succumbs to his hormones and begins a quest to lose his virginity. His more experienced friend, Zack (Zack Pearlman), documents his ill−fated peregrination. The Daily had a chance to chat with Bennett about his feature film debut.
Zach Drucker: What was it like transitioning from a Nickelodeon show for teens, "Victorious," to a feature like "The Virginity Hit" that has some more adult content?
Matt Bennett: Contrary to what people may think, ["The Virginity Hit"] is actually a sweet love story. It was sort of easy to transition from Nickelodeon where everything is clean, but also fun, to something that uses a little dirtiness and naughtiness to get to the overall beauty that is love and life. So, good job, Nickelodeon.
ZD: What were your initial expectations going in to film the movie?
MB: I thought, "Oh, we have a script. It's going to be very tight, very strict, and we're going to spend two or three months working very diligently," and it was not at all what I expected. It was very much improv−ed. [Co−directors Huck Botko and Andrew Gurland said,] "Here's a camera. In your spare time, videotape funny things or whatever you guys do."
ZD: What was the attitude like on set?
MB: Very supportive. It was really good working with Zack, especially because we both were cast a year before we started filming, so we had a friendship already. Sometimes they just shove you in a room with people and say, "You guys are friends. Go!"
ZD: Aside from the name, would you say that Matt bears any likeness to you in actuality? MB: I'd say yeah. We share a shyness and wonder for the world. But I'm not as awkward … I don't think. Matt in the movie is easily misled. He has a lot of heart, though, and so do I. And that's my answer!
ZD: What were some of the highlights of the film for you?
MB: There's a sort−of deleted scene after the initial credits where John, the creepy innkeeper, tells us about his favorite YouTube videos. That was the only time that, as a cast, we all just cracked up and started laughing together. We tried to stay in character most of the time, but that was the best. And I remember my first day there: Huck and Andrew gave me a baseball bat and told me to beat up a trash can.
ZD: How did the producers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay get involved?
MB: They saw Huck and Andrew's first film, "Mail Order Wife" (2004), and they loved it, so they said, "We'd love to work with you on whatever you have." So Huck and Andrew drew up this wonderful script, and Will and Adam have been very supportive and really behind it one hundred percent. It's good having producers who are so hands−on. Will invited Zack and me to see his one−man show on Broadway, ["You're Welcome America. A Final Night with George W. Bush"]. Adam came to set in New Orleans and I didn't get to gamble with him, but I know Zack did.
ZD: Are you a little jealous that you didn't get to go out on that excursion?
MB: I actually am! I did have fun in New Orleans, though. It was hard; I was 17 when we shot the film and I didn't even know how to drive. So I was left out of some things. But we threw parties at the house, we shot a scene in a strip club and there's no age limit to walk on Bourbon Street.
ZD: And you also shot some scenes with an adult film star, right?
MB: Mm−hm. A young miss Sunny Leone. She was fantastic. I didn't know that Sunny had a boyfriend. The whole scene is [Zack and I] are meeting her in her truck — hopefully for me to have sex with her — and we go in, and there's her big tattooed−up boyfriend. But he was really nice. His name is Dirty. They're a porn star couple and they showed me clips and said, "Get used to this person." So I literally knew the ins and outs of Sunny. But she was cool. We had Indian food together.
ZD: What about this movie will appeal to college students?
MB: I think everybody can relate to this film. … Huck and Andrew have … shown an accurate portrayal of kids these days. When you go see the film, you just have to let go and try and live with us.