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Why Hollywood won't cast Jason Biggs anymore

Jason Biggs' first major film role really took the cake… or pie. Portraying Jim Levenstein in the classic teen comedy American Pie in 1999 made Biggs a star. He'd never headlined a movie before, but more than held his own as an awkward high school kid trying to get girls interested in him — a role that required him to pretend to both pleasure himself and get caught in the act with a warm apple pie.

Biggs portrayed Jim three more times, among many other roles in the years since the first Pie hit movie theaters. He's starred in a slew of other teen and bro comedies, and he's now almost as widely known for portraying Larry, fiancé of the imprisoned Piper Chapman, in the early seasons of Orange Is the New Black. But he doesn't appear all that much in films and TV these days — at least not as much as he used to. Here are a few reasons movie producers no longer seem quite as hungry for a slice of Biggs.

He'll always be that pie-loving guy

Over the course of Jason Biggs' appearances in the American Pie movies, Jim Levenstein evolves from a young man so sexually frustrated and desperate that he romances a baked good… to a college guy… to a man married to his old friend who wouldn't stop talking about band camp… to a sexually frustrated adult. While it's a goal or dream of many actors to nail a breakout role for which they're forever remembered, that could be a problem for somebody like Biggs. Audiences associate him with American Pie — and many people only associate him with American Pie. The facts don't lie: Four out of the five highest-grossing Biggs movies are American franchise entries. There's also the matter of how when Biggs isn't playing Jim, he's often playing a character very much like Jim — a nervous, dorky beta male in stuff like Anything Else and Loser. Hollywood just doesn't seem too keen on letting Biggs show off his range.

No Pie? No thanks

Perhaps one big reason why Hollywood studios aren't much interested in bankrolling, marketing, and releasing a Jason Biggs vehicle without the word "American" in the title is because when they've done so in the past, the results have been financially if not critically disastrous. Among Biggs' many box-office bombs: Boys and Girls, Loser, Saving Silverman, Over Her Dead Body, My Best Friend's Girl, Jersey Girl, and Who We Are Now, which grossed just over $19,000 in 2018. Over time, not even the American Pie movies were guaranteed to bring in audiences. While the first Pie cleared $100 million in 1999, the follow-up did even better — American Pie 2 earned $145 million in 2001. But then diminishing returns set in: the gross for the third entry in the franchise, 2003's American Wedding, dropped to $104 million, and the series-capping American Reunion scraped together $56 million in 2012. Regardless of his celebrity or acting abilities, not enough people go out to see Jason Biggs movies to justify more Jason Biggs movies.

TV viewers didn't have mad love for Mad Love

In 2011, more than a dozen years after his auspicious, dessert-enhanced film debut in the blockbuster American Pie, Jason Biggs shifted his career trajectory from movies to television, taking a major role on a CBS midseason replacement called Mad Love. A multi-camera comedy, it concerned a group of friends in New York City falling in and out of love, then telling each other about their exploits in a bar. Yes, it was very reminiscent of Friends or How I Met Your Mother, and like those sitcoms, Mad Love boasted a solid, likable cast of familiar actors, such as Biggs, Sarah Chalke (Scrubs), and Judy Greer (Arrested Development). Unlike those predecessors, Mad Love didn't run for years and years — CBS canceled it after 13 episodes. All in all, Biggs' attempt at a major show on a major network didn't fare too well, leaving producers less likely to use him as a headliner in the future.

Unfortunately, Biggs prematurely lost his next big TV job, too. In 2013, he was part of the original cast of Orange Is the New Black as Larry, the non-incarcerated husband-to-be of central character Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling). By the show's third season in 2015, the show had evolved into a large ensemble series, and the writers decided to focus less on Piper's life on the outside, and before prison. The result: Larry and Biggs disappeared from the show after just two seasons.

Reid the room, dude

It sometimes seems like Hollywood is just one big, happy place where everybody loves everybody. When actors are asked to comment on their co-stars, they invariably describe them as "amazing" or "a genius." To do otherwise is to actively avoid keeping the peace… not to mention that it's downright mean to trash one's old co-workers, especially if that frankness involves body-shaming, and that behavior is bound to make other movie business people not want to work with someone who's "keeping it real."

In 2014, Biggs was a guest on the late Joan Rivers' web show In Bed with Joan. Rivers, who famously and brutally slammed celebrities on Fashion Police and her many awards show "red carpet" hosting gigs, got a little catty, and Biggs joined right in. In a game called "Live or Die," Rivers asked Biggs who should live or die: Lindsay Lohan or his American Pie cohort Tara Reid. Biggs allowed Lohan to "live" because "she's got nice boobs." As for Reid, a victim of a botched plastic surgery procedure, Biggs said "no one knows what's going on with Tara's body." This wasn't even the first time Biggs slammed Reid in public. As a guest on Watch What Happens Live in 2013, Andy Cohen asked him to come up with "prison nicknames" for his former co-stars. Biggs' idea for Reid? "Hot Mess."

Bad Twitter decisions, part 1

While the characters that Biggs often plays are friendly, easygoing types, the actor doesn't quite get those personality traits across on Twitter. During the Republican National Convention, Biggs tweeted some very off-color remarks about the wives of that year's GOP presidential ticket, Ann Romney and Janna Ryan. They're too profane to be reprinted on a family website, but one concerned Biggs's interest in exploring a part of Janna Ryan that he's convinced she cosmetically bleaches — a hygiene routine he's convinced Romney doesn't share.

Problematic for sure, but two days later, Biggs got in trouble at work. Nickelodeon, home of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot in which Biggs voiced Leonardo, encouraged followers of a TMNT account to also follow Biggs. By that time, Biggs had deleted his Romney/Ryan tweets, but his comments had gone viral and Nickelodeon had to issue an apology. "Nickelodeon does not support or condone the use of graphic or vulgar language on any of our platforms," a network representative said in a statement.

Bad Twitter decisions, part 2

Biggs continued to use Twitter, even though it just seemed to make lots of people like him (and want to see him in movies) less and less. Nor did he shy away from controversial, or possibly offensive, material.

In January 2014, Biggs live-tweeted an episode of The Bachelor, providing a snarky, ongoing commentary for the dating show as many love to do. After some tame and obvious jokes, like one about how many of the female contestants vying for bachelor Juan Pablo had very large teeth, Biggs got very dark and surprisingly hateful.

"Juan Pablo is having a really hard time hiding the fact that he thinks all these chicks are complete f***ing disasters," Biggs wrote, adding, "Juan Pablo will hate-f*** all these chicks. They will all convince themselves that they love him. He will be single when the show is over." Biggs then went on to make a very crude joke of a sexual nature about one bachelorette who discussed the several members of her family with special needs. Yikes.

Bad Twitter decisions, part 3

Biggs' Twitter style got him into trouble yet again in 2014, just a few months after his comments regarding The Bachelor. In July 2014, Malaysian Airlines announced it had lost a plane — Flight MH17, with 295 people aboard. Biggs apparently wanted to lighten the mood by joking about the tragedy on Twitter: "Anyone wanna buy my Malaysian Airlines frequent flier miles?" Reaction was swift and furious as multiple individuals called out Biggs on what they considered to be a tasteless and unfunny joke. Biggs immediately apologized. Just kidding — he went on a profanity-filled Twitter rant criticizing those who criticized him, at one point calling his detractors "losers" who were "literally trying to find s*** to get angry about" and urging them to "channel your issues elsewhere."

Movie studios love when their actors engage with fans and have a big social media presence, but this kind of thing probably isn't what they're looking for.

The play's the thing

Who needs a big movie franchise, moderately successful films, a starring role on a network sitcom, or a supporting role on an extremely popular streaming dramedy? Not Jason Biggs. He may not appear on screens as much as once did, but he may not want to, because he's kept busy acting in live theatrical productions. He put his skill and experience in playing uneasy young men to use when he took over the titular role in a 2002 stage production of The Graduate, putting his own stamp on a character made famous by Dustin Hoffman in the 1967 film. Two years later, Biggs hit the stage again as a young diamond dealer in the romantic comedy Modern Orthodox. In 2015, he won the lead male role, Scoop, in a revival of Wendy Wasserstein's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1988 play The Heidi Chronicles. And wouldn't you know it, Biggs finally got the chance to play against type. He described Scoop to The Guardian as "funny," "smart," and "confident," adding that the character is "likable despite his cockiness." That kind of part, Biggs quipped, "is atypical for me."