RJ Berger's "Max Owens" Chats What's Next This Season, New Movie 'Detention of The Dead'
Let’s segue into RJ Berger. It often gets described as a cross between The Wonder Years and Superbad…
I think RJ Berger has a bit of everything in it. Yeah, we’re tagged as Superbad meets The Wonder Years or Hung for the teenage generation. But essentially, this is a crazy rambunctious comedy with some heart. One minute, RJ’s mom is snapping his girlfriend’s bra off for him, and the next minute his dad is weeping in a beat down hooker motel because his wife is divorcing him. There’s a lot of humor in itself that can and does happen in high school and the show puts the magnifying glass over it and just amps it up in a fun way. The show is just bananas. It’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. You said you were the clown in high school but did you ever encounter characters like Max? In my school there wasn’t really any bullies. I was always really popular in high school and so were many of my friends. I had a lot of fun but I could be a dick if pushed to it. Some of my friends then weren’t the nicest people but if I ever saw any of my friends messing with people who were misfortunate as far as the deck of cards they got in the book of life, I would physically throw them against the wall to let them know it’s not ok to act like that. And that’s happened numerous times.
I imagine that because the show is so quirky there are probably a lot of improv moments, so what’s it like on set?
All my things that I do are kind of improv. There’s this thing I do, this move with my hands where I go—my woosh is what they call it. So now I have people walking up to me in the streets doing it and I don’t look anything like my character normally. I have a lot of facial hair and my hair is super long now where as on RJ Berger, max has short hair. Even on set, a few people walked up to me on this pilot I’m doing now and they were like, “Are you wooosh?” And I’m like, “What?” [Laughs]. So I have people doing my move to me and that was all improv. I did that in the pilot episode after I punched RJ out and everybody came up to me like, “What the fuck was that?” [Laughs] and I was like, “That’s my move, man.” So then, I just started over the first season, finding these little places to put it in and then MTV started asking them to write it in for my character. And also, a lot of the funny stuff, especially the first season, when I have a lot of scenes with the character Patterson, my right hand man—there’s a lot of stuff where we’re dancing and doing a whole bunch of stupid stuff that doesn’t involved dialogue with each other—just to pump up the life and all of that. All of that’s impov stuff.
What can we expect the rest of this season for Max?
You cannot expect what’s coming from Max. You get to see him become a human for the first time ever, instead of this cyborg, kid-beating bully. You’re gonna see how the pressures of being the popular guy affects people and how he reacts to that, which I think is really interesting because in the first season you saw one note of him but in this season you’re gonna see somebody who thinks that it’s really hard to have every girl in love with him and every guy wanna be him. I don’t know how that’s possible but it is. Kids struggle with it all the time, especially in high school and you’re gonna see how max struggles with it and deals with it.
What else are you working on that you can talk about?
I’m shooting that pilot right now and then I go back to my homeland of Michigan and I’m shooting the film called Dention of the Dead, and what it is Shaun of the Dead meets The Breakfast Club.It’s hilarious. The script is mind blowing and the cast is great. It’s a cool cast. It’s five leads and it’s me and this kid Jacob Zacher and Justin Chon from Twilight and it’s gonna be a lot of fun. It’s a huge tribute to John Hughes and all the great films that he did.
When is that expected out?
We wrap at the end of early May to early June. I’m not sure when it’s expected to come out, I haven’t talked to the director about that but I think probably six months after, toward the end of the year, for sure.
That was pretty much it but is there anything you want to add?
Yeah. If ever anybody wants to interact with me on Twitter, I’m super cool about responding to people as long as what they’re saying isn’t totally crazy. People say some crazy shit [Laughs]. I can imagine.
Do people ever talk to you like you're Max?
Yes. They say, “You’re such an asshole,” and I’m like, “Yo, Max is an asshole, it’s acting, watch my other stuff,” but yeah, if anybody wants to get a hold of me on Twitter I’m really cool about answering questions or anything like that. My name is @Jayson_Blair.
Catch The Hard Times of RJ Berger Monday nights at 10/9c on MTV.