“How nude are you getting in that last scene?” Kathleen Turner asks Alicia Silverstone.
“It’s interesting you should say that. Because I didn’t notice in the script, somehow, when I agreed to do this – “
“Uh-oh,” says Jason Biggs.
“So when in rehearsal someone said, ‘You’re gonna be in your underwear,’ I was like, ‘Excuse me?’ I don’t want to scare people right before they leave.”
“Well, I’ll be in my underwear,” jokes Biggs, who’s had intimate relations with a pie and a trombone in American Pie I and II, respectively. “My audience demands it of me.”
Over lunch, the stars of The Graduate look right for their roles – and their lunches. Biggs (enormous deli sandwich) is a nerdily appealing Benjamin, Silverstone (rice and veggies) a winsome, beautiful Elaine. As for Turner (soup), she could embody Mrs. Robinson with her voice alone: It’s probably worth the ticket price just to hear her say “Ben-ja-min.” But although the Terry Johnson production – which ran last year in London with Turner, and opens here on April 4 – draws more on the Charles Webb novel, there are still cinematic ghosts to reckon with: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, and Katharine Ross.
“I like to think that Alicia and I will make this material appealing to a different generation,” says Biggs, “that people will come to see us who might not have seen the movie, and might not know the specifics of that time.”
“The triangle part, that doesn’t matter what era it is,” says Silverstone. “He screwed my mom! That’s not acceptable.”
Turner says she’s avoided seeing Mike Nichols’s film for more than twenty years precisely because she thought she might someday portray Mrs. Robinson. “I did run into Anne Bancroft one night at The Producers,” she says. “And I said, ‘I kinda hoped you’d come to London, ‘cause I thought I was so brave stepping into your shoes.’ She looked at me and said, ‘Darling, you are fucking brave.’ “