With just days to go before the long-awaited The Inbetweeners 2 hits our screens, we collared Simon Bird (Will), James Buckley (Jay), Blake Harrison (Neil) and Joe Thomas (Simon) for an exclusive chinwag.
They've certainly got a lot to live up to. The Inbetweeners Movie took many commentators by surprise back in 2011 when it trounced Cowboys and Aliens to enjoy the biggest opening weekend ever recorded by a comedy at the UK box office. "I still haven’t entirely processed it," marvels Simon. "I can’t really get my head around it being the most successful comedy film of all time in Britain."
"None of us had had a big film experience prior to the first movie," adds Blake. "And I remember not really understanding any of the figures being thrown at me. I remember being called by Damon [Beesley], one of the writers and producers, saying that we’d taken £14m in our opening weekend and it’s the biggest opening weekend in the UK ever or something. And that made me think, oh we must be doing alright!"
So what can we expect this time round? The lads are a little older, but will they be any wiser? Simon sets the scene: "Simon and Will are off at university, different universities. Neil has somehow managed to land himself a job, unbelievably. And Jay has gone off to stay with his uncle in Australia. University hasn’t quite panned out in the way that Will and Simon hoped. Will is proving just as unpopular as he did at school – he’d hoped that he would have made a cool new group of friends but that hasn’t happened. And Simon is in yet another doomed relationship, this time with Lucy, who he started going out with at the end of the first film."
The story kicks off with Will, Simon and Neil being lured to Australia, where Jay claims to have become the biggest and best DJ in the southern hemisphere. "We don’t want it to come across as ‘The Inbetweeners 2: Lost in Australia’," insists Joe. "The first film is about a lads' holiday, with a fairly limited set of aims. This is a much more grown-up world, filled with people who are properly travelling. The aims of the people they meet are much more sophisticated. As ever, it’s about their lack of confidence outside their own little group. How, as soon as they’re outside their comfort zone, they run into trouble."
"It’s all about staying true to the characters and those embarrassing social situations," affirms James. "When it came to doing a second film, my immediate response was: well, where can they go? They surely must adapt to the world at some point. But the idea is, drop them in Australia and watch them go crazy. We all read the script and agreed that it was really funny, the funniest we’d ever read, in fact. We were resigned to the fact that there wouldn’t be any more. We were pleased that it finished in the way that it did. So it was a dream come true to be able to do another one."
Next week: the lads tell us about shooting in Australia, dealing with the local wildlife, their new dance moves, and whether there will be a third film...
The Inbetweeners 2 opens on 6th August. Tell us how much you're looking forward to it in the comments!