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Stefan Pape talks with Simon Bird and Blake Harrison

The Inbetweeners Movie
19 August 2011

As the Inbetweeners hits our screens, as arguably the biggest British release this year, The Fan Carpet caught up with two of the films biggest stars. Simon Bird, who plays the geeky, inadequate Will, alongside his co-star Blake Harrison, who plays dimwit Neil.

The pair, who have become infamous as their on-screen characters, are confident that the successful TV series will become a hit in the cinemas, as they also discuss which censorship, and the end of the Inbetweeners.


You must both be very happy with the movie?

Simon Bird: Very happy, I just can’t wait for some other people to see it.

Blake Harrison: That’s the real challenge – when other people see it!



Did you feel a certain degree of pressure, knowing that you had such an expectant fan base waiting on the film?

Blake Harrison: Yeah I think that is fair to say, because the Inbetweeners was very much a show that got a cult following fan base through word of mouth. It wasn’t necessarily a very big marketing ploy or anything like that, people just told their mates about this show called the Inbetweeners that they liked.Simon Bird: So it wasn’t our fault in other words! This time though, we’ve put our money where our mouth is, which is a bit of a scary prospect, especially seeing our faces on buses and stuff like that. But hopefully the film lives up to it.


Was there also a pressure to avoid being too similar to Kevin and Perry?

Simon Bird: I don’t know what everyone’s got against Kevin and Perry! I really liked it when I saw it.

Blake Harrison: The fundamental difference is that that came from a sketch and this is a sitcom so it’s easier to transfer sitcom to a film, I think, than just a sketch.
Simon Bird: It’s still difficult though. You know, the real challenge was for Iain (Morris) and Damon (Beesley), who write the show.

Blake Harrison: They wanted to do a British teen comedy, because there wasn’t one really. There are the American films like American Pie and Superbad, but few British.

Simon Bird: This was an idea they had separate from the Inbetweeners, maybe even beforehand. They’ve always been talking about doing a British teen comedy movie, then the Inbetweeners became a big hit and it just seemed like too good a fit to do it with different characters.

Blake Harrison: They’re just lazy and couldn’t be bothered to do another casting process.


What did you think of Malia?

Blake Harrison: We were only actually in Malia for a day. We only filmed one scene there, which was a walk down a strip which was an important part of the advert for the film.

Simon Bird: It was the worst place, and worst time to film anything for the Inbetweeners, because it was like all our fans were there, the perfect demographic, and they were all drunker than they had ever been in their lives, and they were all in this quite small radius around us.

Blake Harrison: They didn’t seem to get that when the camera turned on; the Inbetweeners are not on a TV show, you know, they are characters. We’d be walking up the street and it would be like, “Oh, it’s the Inbetweeners!” And it was like, no – that’s not what happens when we say action! You don’t know these characters, they aren’t called the Inbetweeners.

Simon Bird: I take it as a compliment though. People like the show that much that they believe that we’re real characters. They’ve taken us to their hearts, which is nice, I guess. So that doesn’t bother me. I’m sure it will bother me as time goes on, but for the moment, it’s okay.


Where there any wild nights out on set?

Blake Harrison: Not really. We just aren’t really that way inclined.

Simon Bird: And we were working quite hard, doing six day weeks, filming until quite late every night. So, it wasn’t really possible.

Blake Harrison: Simon created a mental pub quiz though. It was off the hook. As pub quizzes go, it was pretty intense.

Simon Bird: Thank you very much.


Who won?

Blake Harrison: Not me. That’s all I know.

Simon Bird: I think it was Joe’s team.



Have either of you got any embarrassing holiday moments?

Blake Harrison: Not really… I did actually go on a lad’s holiday, but I was with a group of lads who were very sensible, and we just didn’t really have the guts to put ourselves out there. My group of friends when growing up were similar to the Inbetweeners in a sense that they would talk about girls and not necessarily to them. As soon as a girl said hello to me I’d have a crush on her, immediately. But, unlike the Inbetweeners, we didn’t put ourselves in these extreme situations, or have the confidence to put ourselves out there, in that sense.

Simon Bird: Yeah, none of us have ever wanked on a pensioner.


The film is only a 15 certificate, surprisingly. Was there much you had to cut out of the film in order to make it a lower certificate and therefore more accessible?

Simon Bird: We were very keen to make it a 15, because the DVD of the show is obviously an 18, but when the show comes out on TV, there are no rules about who can watch it, and we’re well aware that a large part of our audience and fan base are under 18, so it seemed a bit mean to make a film that our fans couldn’t come and see. Also, the stuff the censors had an issue with never really affected the joke. The language as it was written is basically just the same, they didn’t seem to have an issue with that. It was just some odd things that I would never have picked up on, like you can’t say “motherfucker”, as it implies incest. Fucker is fine, though.

Blake Harrison: And you can’t use swearing aggressively. You can say a wide variety of words, but if you say them in an aggressive manner, that makes it an 18. So that wasn’t really a problem as the characters are generally quite innocent.

Simon Bird: Oh yeah, and one angle of self-fellatio that had to be cut.


Who has the most amount of female attention when you’re out?

Blake Harrison: I’d say Joe. I don’t know why.

Simon Bird: It’s got to be Joe, annoyingly. Girls like a project, and he is a weird boy, and they think they can tame him.


Is this absolutely the end for the Inbetweeners now? And how do you guys feel about that?

Simon Bird: Yes. It feels like the right time to finish it. None of us want to continue beyond its sell-by-date. The show is about schoolboys, and I don’t think it works once they leave school, so I think it would be a bit contrived and forced to try and do any more of it.


The tag-line to the film is “This Summer Four Boys Become Men”, do you think that’s a fair statement to make about yourselves as actors over the course of the three series, and now the movie?

Simon Bird: I don’t think it’s necessarily a fair statement to make about the film to be honest; it’s just a cheesy tagline that they put on to make it feel like a film. The film hasn’t really got that message.

Blake Harrison: As actors, I think we’re still very much in our infancy, when it comes to our careers, hopefully! We’ve still got so much to learn, and in this business, you do constantly learn, at every job you do you pick things up, even sub-consciously. We still have a lot to learn before we become “men” as actors I think.



The Inbetweeners Movie Information Page