Mena Suvai is probably best known for her work in the American Pie movies and American Beauty but she recently turned her hand to a UK based comedy called The Knot (out tomorrow 5th October) which has been written by Noel Clarke of Adulthood fame. She takes on the role as Sarah in the film which was directed by Jesse Lawrence for his first feature film.
I got to chat with Mena about her role in the movie, what it was about it that attracted her to it, working in the UK and what it is she loves so much about it. I ask her about her previous work, what she gets recognised for most and how she found working with the British team that has worked with Clarke for such a long time now.
Can you tell how you got involved in the movie
The last time I was in London, I worked on a movie called Trauma with Marc Evans and Colin Firth and that was such an amazing experience. I was here for a few months and fell in love with the city so this was really exciting. This script came to me and I’d known of Noel’s work and was a huge fan of his and his previous films. They’re films that I really enjoy and I was pleased that he thought of me for the part. I was really excited about it because it was a really different type of film to what he’d made previously. I really admire him as this unbelievable force, writing, producing and staring in your own projects. It’s a very special thing, it’s very rare and I really admire that. I also love the story and was really excited to do another film that was more in the comedic realm.
Which of Noel’s films had you seen before?
I’d seen Adulthood, Kidulthood, 184.108.40.206 and I’d liked all of them. Obviously the first two are joined together. I really liked the format of 220.127.116.11 and I really like that sort of film-making. It’s gritty and real and about the people, character based which I enjoy. With The Knot, it’s much more light-hearted and I love the film because there’s true heart to this story, there’s a journey for all these characters, their relationships and it’s something I really enjoy. With my character, you really see her come into her own by the end of the film.
What is it about working in the UK that you love so much?
It’s awesome. When working on trauma, it was my first experience working in London. I seemed to always have these pleasant weather experiences which people tell me aren’t normal! I love it. There’s so much of the UK that I haven’t seen but being in London is such an incredible city. There’s so much history here and culture. People in Los Angeles think that ‘old’ is 100 years old (laughs!). In London you have such access to amazing places and I hope to see more.
What was it like working with Jesse (Director)?
He’s wonderful, he’s really great as is everyone. Having Noel on set as well being the writer, it was an awesome collaborative effort. I really enjoyed the way that Noel works with a lot of the same people. To me that’s really cool. I think if I were to do what he does I’d be the same way. I love it when it’s that kind of family environment. It’s a really neat thing when you find that group of people that your click with and you see it. I feel like it communicates on screen, we genuinely had a great time making this movie and there just happened to be a camera there. The dynamic between all of those characters is something that is really special.
American Pie and American Beauty are probably your best well known films, is there a line in the movie that people remember most?
I’ve actually never really been asked to do that (laughs!). I think people remember always remember the c*nt line in American Beauty and the raunchy stuff. I think more with American Pie, it’s always Stiffler’s lines that are the ones that stick.
Those must be some very fond times in your life with American Pie one of the most successful comedy franchise of all time and American Beauty one of the most cult classics of all time?
It’s very surreal. I feel really lucky to have been able to experience that so young. I had no concept of what it really meant to a lot of people and I think it still now evades me and it’s always been about the work for me. Especially back then, those were the days when you’d go to auditions and you’d be happy to get a job. For me I had no concept of what it could mean or box-office.
Thanks to Mena for her time.
The Knot is released in UK cinemas tomorrow!