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 411mania » Movies » Columns

411 Mania Interview: The Inbetweeners Star, Simon Bird
Posted by Jeffrey Harris on 09.15.2012

After taking the overseas box office by storm, the smash hit British film, The Inbetweeners Movie, has finally made it's way to the US for a limited theatrical run. The movie, which has already grossed over $88 million worldwide (with a budget that's roughly about $5.6 million US), is based on the hit series of the same name from the UK's channel E4 and has also been broadcast in the US on BBCA. During the press tour for the movie, 411mania.com got the chance to sit down and speak with actor Simon Bird. Simon Bird portrays Will McKenzie, the lead character, protagonist, and narrator of The Inbetweeners series and movie. The bespectacled Will in The Inbetweeners has to constantly deal with being terrorized by bullies, the filthy antics of his friends, and trying to woo ladies that are way out of his league. So we got the chance to speak with Simon about that:

*Author's Note: Please beware of some spoilers to the movie in the interview below. The movie was released in the UK last year and has been out for quite some time, so please read at your own risk.*

Jeffrey Harris: In the movie do you think Will has finally discovered his inner-ladies' man?

Simon Bird: No. I don't think Will will ever discover his inner-ladies' man. He does get closer than I think he has before.

Jeffrey Harris: I think he has got it in him because he was talking Alison up. I think if Will puts his mind to it, he's going to be a lady killer.

Simon Bird: Yeah maybe the sequel should be him covering his bases.

Jeffrey Harris: There's been a lot of rumors online about doing a sequel, but would you be open to doing one?

Simon Bird: I think we all enjoy working together. But I think also we felt like that film felt like the natural ending to the three series we had already done. So I think it would have to be an especially good script or idea to make us do another one.

Jeffrey Harris: Anthony Head plays your father in the movie. How does that make you feel?

Simon Bird: I was obviously totally intimidated because he's a proper good actor. But I think that's good because I think Will is basically scared of his father so it was perfect.

Jeffrey Harris: Did you have any ideas about what Will should go through in this movie? Were you happy he got the girl in the end or should Will always be unlucky in love?

Simon Bird: The only idea I really contributed to was that Will should have those flip down sunglasses, which was overruled. So that was all I had to had. But I think it was nice to see him succeed in a very small way.

Jeffrey Harris: The acting moments I really enjoy are little moments like when you lay out your identical khaki pants in that crummy hotel room and you think for a moment and then point like *that one*. Is that in the script or is that you?

Simon Bird: I don't think that -- that wasn't in the script. I think it was just me doing those sort of little things that worked out king of on set. And it's often a team effort. We'll suggest little things that we should do.

Jeffrey Harris: Did you ever imagine you'd be here in America promoting your movie and it would find an audience here?

Simon Bird: No, it's ridiculous. We thought the TV show when we did the first series would sink without a trace. It was on a tiny little channel in England, a digital channel that nobody watched. And it was the first show they ever commissioned. It was the first show Iain [Morris] and Damon [Beasley] had ever written. And it was the first thing any of us had ever acted on TV. So yeah we thought we'd do one series and we wouldn't be recommissioned and that nobody would watch it. So if somebody had said that we would do three series, we would've laughed out of town. But then to say that we'd go to a movie and go to America, we certainly wouldn't have believed that.

Jeffrey Harris: What was your reaction when the movie became a box office smash hit?

Simon Bird: Yeah. We were -- I mean obviously we were really happy and grateful to all our fans who went to watch it. I don't think we were that surprised. Once that we've made the film, by that stage we knew we had lots of people that are really, really passionate fans. And the people that liked it loved it and told all their friends. So I think just before it opened we were pretty confident it was going to do well.

Jeffrey Harris: Had you ever been able to travel to America before this tour?

Simon Bird: Yeah, I've spent loads of time in America before. I lived in America for a while in Boston. And my parents actually live in Claremont just outside LA.

Jeffrey Harris: Is there any way at all you are most like Will?

Simon Bird: I guess I was a bit of a swot at school. So I guess in that respect.

Jeffrey Harris: Had you ever experienced anything in school or on vacation as traumatic as what happened in the show or movie?

Simon Bird: No, nothing as embarrassing as the stuff that happens in the film or at school or in the series. I wasn't really bullied in the way Will was. Definitely that experience, I think the show is built on that. It's made for like normal kids who aren't like in the cool set, and that was definitely my experience. I felt like I was just one of the crowd.

Jeffrey Harris: I've heard that as tedious and not fun filming the dance scene in the club was, I was dying when I saw that screen in the theater, seeing you all try to club dance to "We Speak No Americano."

Simon Bird: Oh OK, good. I'm glad to hear that.

Jeffrey Harris: So what are you working on next? Are you working on anything right now?

Simon Bird: Yeah. Joe [Thomas, actor for Simon Cooper in the show] and I are writing a show for Sky which is a channel in Britain. So we're filming that in January, and we got a lot of work to do on that.

Jeffrey Harris: What do you think happens with Will and his new girlfriend?

Simon Bird: I can't see it lasting. He's punching a bit above his weight to be honest...I dunno, she's pretty good looking to be fair.

Jeffrey Harris: Thank you so much for your time Simon. It's a great movie, congrats on this movie.

Simon Bird: Oh cheers, thank you.

The Inbetweeners movie is now playing in select theaters in the US. The series is broadcast stateside on BBCA but it is not currently in their programming rotation. The first two seasons of the show are available to watch on demand on Hulu and Netflix.


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