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The Truth About Jason Biggs' Warm Apple Pie Scene

In the annals of "teenage sex comedies," few have been quite as successful, or well-remembered, as American Pie. Released in 1999, the film followed the hilarious, often utterly embarrassing journey of four high school pals (Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas, and Eddie Kaye Thomas) who make a pact to lose their virginity by Prom night. Flying mostly under radar before its release, the film hit theaters in the summer of 1999, and ended up becoming one of the year's biggest, and most unexpected hits. Sharply scripted and lovingly rendered, American Pie also made stars of its talented young cast. It also made infamous the concept of "warm apple pie."

For those who haven't seen the film, "warm apple pie" is how one of the pals in question crassly describes third base to his sex-crazed comrades. If you aren't aware of that little nugget, you probably aren't aware that kooky notion inspires one of the boys to take deeply indecent liberties with a fresh baked pie in the comfort of his family's kitchen.

Captured with surprisingly vivid frankness, and acted with laugh-out-loud hilarity by Jason Biggs and Eugene Levy, the so-called "pie f***ing scene" in American Pie has lived both in comedic infamy and reverence in the more than two decades since the film first shocked the movie-going public. And in that time, all sorts of behind-the-scenes tales have come out about the making of American Pie's most talked about moment. The New York Times even revisited the scene for a revelatory exposé celebrating the film's 20th anniversary.

Here's a few things we now know about Jason Biggs' warm apple pie scene in American Pie.

The infamous Pie scene wasn't in the original American Pie script

Even if you didn't see American Pie when it was released, it's all but certain you were aware of the pie scene, because it became an instant entry into the cultural zeitgeist of the time. And if you're among the millions who did see American Pie in its theatrical run, you know it's all but impossible to imagine the movie without it. But as it happens, American Pie screenwriter Adam Herz claims in that NYT piece that the scene wasn't originally in his script.  "[The pie scene] wasn't in my original draft. There was this line somewhere early in the first act where the kids are talking about rounding the bases of sex."

Per Herz, the line which inspired the pie humping was actually intended to "show Jim's naïveté but also show, do the other guys know what they're talking about either? I wrote this line 'What does third base feel like?' And Chris Klein was like, 'Warm apple pie, dude,' and he does this gesture. That line always stuck with me."

The line apparently stuck enough that Herz and company felt the need to show Biggs' character taking the idea to a wholly unexpected extreme. And Herz goes on to claim the scene became such a seminal part of the narrative it led to the film being renamed.  "If you talk to Chris [Weitz] and Paul [Weitz], or any of the producers, nobody seems to take credit for coming up with American Pie. But I remember at the time thinking [the name] was awful, because I was a huge Don McLean fan. I don't know how Don McLean feels about it, but it worked."

The scene apparently took hours to shoot

In Biggs' comments to the Times, it seems shooting the pie scene was every bit as absurd as you'd expect too. "We did it once where I straddled the counter and the pie on that island in the kitchen. Then we did it a second way where I was doing it standing up. I believe the latter was the version that was in the theaters, and then the former was where I was on top of the counter." Just FYI, the "Unrated" DVD release of American Pie features the counter top version of the scene, and yes, it's even funnier than the original.

The actor goes on to detail that shooting the scene was not only logistically difficult but also time consuming. "Each time it was very tricky. I'll never forget J.B. [American Pie first assistant director J.B. Rogers] would be coming in and would be adjusting my pants ever so slightly [...] It was probably like six hours of doing it from all different angles and all different versions of it."

For Biggs' co-star Eugene Levy, it seems the day's work was far less intricate however. "For me it was more anti-climactic than one might think. I walked into the kitchen and I was only looking at a piece of tape marked on a light stand where my son would have been humping the pie. So, I had to react to a piece of tape."

It's perhaps a testament to Levy's legendary comedic acumen that even in responding to a piece of tape, he delivers one of cinema's greatest reaction shots.

Jason Biggs was understandably quite nervous about shooting the scene

Eugene Levy might've gotten off easy in the moment, but the pie scene was one that legitimately tested the nerve of then-unknown Jason Biggs. The actor admitted as much in the NYT  piece, claiming he almost didn't go through with it, remembering that he was thinking, "Could this come back and just totally haunt me? Am I about to ruin my career before it even starts?' I called my manager, and I was like, 'Man, I am about to go film that scene, and I'm kind of having a bit of a moment. Should I be freaked out?' He was like, 'Jason, you go and [have sex with] that pie with all you got, man.'"

Biggs obviously approached the difficult scene with the laudable verve of a true professional, which is why it continues to earn laughs decades later. Biggs goes on to claim, however, another actor almost performed the act instead.

"I remember reading the American Pie script. I would've been happy if I had gotten any part. It was like nothing I had read. It was brutal because the feedback I had gotten was that I was the director's first choice, but the studio was still potentially holding out for a name in the role. The name that was I hearing the most at the time was Jonathan Taylor Thomas, who was at the height of Home Improvement fame."

It's safe to say that as impossible as it is to imagine American Pie without Jason Biggs or the pie-humping scene, it feels just as impossible to imagine Jonathan Taylor Thomas doing the warm apple pie deed.

Biggs and Eugene Levy are still receiving free apple pie when dining out

In spite of the fact that Biggs' Jim has endured far more egregious humiliations throughout his tenure in the American Pie franchise (see that unsettling Nadia scene, the unfortunate super glue incident, a gross-out beard-trimmer moment, and countless others), the pie-humping scene is the one which as followed the actor most frequently throughout his career. As Biggs told The New York Times, it's also kept him in free pie for the better part of a couple of decades. "For a long time after, and still occasionally, I'll get sent an apple pie at a restaurant. It's definitely not as intense as it was when the movie first came out. That I think is just always going to happen. I've resigned myself to that. I got a lot of pies sent to me."

Perhaps not surprisingly, Biggs' co-star in the scene, Eugene Levy (for whom the movie was a legitimate breakout moment), has seen his share of free apple pie as well. "I still have people stopping me on the street and talking to me about American Pie. To this day, people love the movie. I've had more apple pies put in front of me in restaurants with waiters and waitresses giggling as they set it down."

Luckily, the legacy of the American Pie's warm apple pie scene is one both actors are perfectly willing to embrace. It helps, of course, that so many people still relate to the film on a deeply human level as well. And it seems that much remains true even more than two decades after American Pie first made pie-humping a thing. Seriously though, pie-humping didn't really become a thing, right?