Fresh after a day spent at the Ekka, I caught up with the four lads behind UK hit television and movie series ‘The Inbetweeners’.
If you’re like me and had no idea who The Inbetweeners are, they are a group of lads from the UK who’ve made a highly successful show about four friends who are considered the “freaks” at school and are on a quest for ladies and beer.
It’s the sort of show you’d find your hubby watching late at night when the kids are in bed.
Simon, James, Blake and Joe had so much success with their TV series they turned to the big screen in 2011. The movie broke records in the UK, raking in £13.22 million in its opening weekend — giving it the biggest opening weekend ever for a comedy film in the UK, overtaking Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and The Hangover Part II.
Fresh from that success, the boys came down under over Christmas last year to film the next instalment — The Inbetweeners 2.
I caught up with the lads — Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison and Joe Thomas — to talk about the outback, their luck with the ladies and, yes, parenting.
OK, boys, I’m not going to lie. I didn’t really know who you guys were and after doing my research I realised a lot of what you do is quite irreverent towards the ladies. How do women respond to your show and movies?
Joe: I think the thing is the show is really laughing at younger men. This is what they’re really like, which is shocking for some. I think the show is just honest about how tragic young men are and we like laughing at ourselves.
So having said that, since being here in Australia, who’s had the most luck with the ladies?
Joe: We’re all equal — we’re all off the market! I guess we’re more tragic than our characters in that respect; they’re bigger players than we are.
Why did you choose to make the second film here in Australia? Is it because so many Brits come here for their gap year?
Joe: Yeah, exactly. What most British kids do is take a gap year to travel, and most end up here in Australia. So that’s what the film’s about — lads that go off and become adults. I did my gap year over in Perth, but I was too scared to do any proper adventuring. I was a teaching assistant at a school and afterwards I thought, “I’ll just go home, I guess”. But Perth was great, it was sunny, I had a job and then after that I went back to an office job in Essex.
The first movie broke box office records in the UK, taking in £45 million. So I’m assuming you guys have paid your houses off?
Simon: Unfortunately we don’t get a massive cut of that…
James: Yeah, I just went and got an even bigger mortgage after that.
Any talk of a third movie?
Simon: Nope, sadly this is it. This movie will be our farewell!
Oh, really? Don’t you like each other? Joe, you just raised your eyebrows!
Joe: I think we genuinely do like each other…
James: Yeah, maybe a little too much! The writers have said they don’t want to do any more and I think we can’t do any more, but its really been a dream getting to come to places like this.
What were you looking forward to seeing when you came down under?
James: I wasn’t looking forward to seeing loads of things that could kill me, like all the animals that might try and start a fight with me, or mug my wallet. And we saw nothing!
Blake: We went out into the outback expecting to see a heap of wild animals and all we saw were flies. Lots of flies.
Joe: I think filming in the outback was the best part of the experience, though. It’s what we were most worried about but we had so much fun out there. The only thing there was a bar and that was all we needed. Our phones didn’t work, but we could call home [from the bar] and that was perfect!
So do you have any kids?
James: Yes! I have two little boys, they’re three and one next week. I’m actually going to miss the New Zealand leg of the tour to make it back for the party.
Being a dad is so great; I mean it’s the best job in the world! When the boys want to muck about and eat chips and sweets they come to me, when they’ve fallen over they’re like, “Oh, I want my mum”… I just think, yeah, right, fair enough. It’s just like having two new little mates.
And since this will be the last movie, I’m looking forward to staying home for the next year and writing, so I can spend time with them.
At what age do you show them The Inbetweeners?
James: Oh, they won’t be watching The Inbetweeners! By the time they’re old enough it’ll be dead and buried.
Before we go, you’re obviously in the comedy business and with Robin Williams sadly passing away this week, do you have a favourite movie of his?
James: Hook is definitely a favourite of mine, and I used to watch Mork & Mindy.
Blake: Aladdin was just brilliant and I loved it as a kid. I mean, everything he did was great!
The Inbetweeners 2 will be released on Thursday 21 August.