Frat House was, in fact, the inspiration for Old School, though Phillips admits it didnt begin with him. The genesis of this film was inspired by a friend of mine in the advertising industry named Court Crandall. He loved Frat House, and one day he said to me, You know what would be funny is a movie about older guys who start a fraternity of their own. I told him he should write it, and he came back with a loose version of what eventually became Old School.
To write the screenplay for Old School, Phillips once again collaborated with Scot Armstrong, with whom he co-wrote the comedy hit Road Trip. Armstrong reveals that for this script, he was able to pull from his own past. Yes, I admit it, I was in a fraternity, he says. We were in Peoria, Illinois, so it was up to us to entertain ourselves; a lot of ideas for Old School came from things that really happened. When it was cold, everyone would go stir crazy and it inspired some moments of brilliance. Of course, my definition of brilliance might be different from other peoples. When you think about it, adults acting juvenile is kind of what college is all about. I mean, when youre in college you have a chance to be an adult, but more often than not, at least in my case, you choose to act like an idiot
because you can.
Armstrong continues, Old School is a comedy about avoiding responsibility. You have these three guys who take a good look at themselves and their futures and decide to regress. Much of the comedy comes from them attempting to manage their normal lives, with wives, kids, jobs
while still trying to be in a fraternity, which, obviously, is preposterous.
The film also reunited Phillips with the team at The Montecito Picture Company who produced his major film debut Road Trip, including executive producers Ivan Reitman and Tom Pollock, and producers Daniel Goldberg and Joe Medjuck. The director notes that Reitman, a veteran of so many hit comedies, including the seminal fraternity movie National Lampoons Animal House, was invaluable in the development of Old School.
Ivan is amazing, Phillips attests. Hes a great developer of scripts and he helped Scot and me more than anything. He really knows plot structure and character development and all the nuts and bolts of writing a great comedy that Scot and I are, frankly, still learning. Hes just on top of it. In fact, he adds, laughing, Scot and I called it boot camp, because we were at his house, writing and rewriting every day for two months. Read On...