When you think Blue Mountain State, you think about the perverted antics of the Mountain Goats mascot, the bevy of women schmoozed by star Quarterback Alex Moran and the over-the-top energy and enthusiasm of the team captain, Thad Castle.
It should come as no surprise that the man behind Thad Castle was one of the leaders in reviving the football comedy.
Last month, Alan Ritchson, along with Blue Mountain State showrunners Eric Falconer and Chris “Romanski” Romano, started a Kickstarter campaign to bring BMS to the big screen. The show, which was abruptly cancelled by Spike in 2012, follows the fictional Blue Mountain State University football team and its Animal House meets American Pie off–the-field buffoonery. The campaign has raised more than $1.3 million and is nearing its $1.5 million goal. With the Kickstarter campaign in its final push, we spoke with Alan Ritchson about his expectations for the BMS movie, a possible return to television and Thad’s NFL Draft prospects.
How did the Blue Mountain State Movie idea develop?
It was sort of born from the fans. The show was cancelled before its time. We were surprised as much as the fans were. We were told we were coming back for a fourth season and not only that but we were told [Lionsgate] was working on a deal to do two seasons back to back. All of a sudden the next phone call we got was it was going to be cancelled. We were shocked and that feeling translated to the show.
Since the show’s cancellation [Blue Mountain State] went to Netflix and the audience grew in the millions worldwide. People have a strange misfortune of discovering the show and falling in love with it and finding out it is no longer being produced. So we get requests all the time to do something. The talk is usually about the TV show, which is much harder to revive. [The movie] felt like something within our means.
I went to Lionsgate and started pestering them for the rights to the movie. It took me about nine months and I finally worked out a deal for the rights.
We looked at other options, but creatively, working with private investors is demoralizing. It’s always going to be something other than what you had in mind. We want to make a love letter to the fans. We want to honor the show but we also wanted to take it farther than we were able to do on television. We wanted to make a strong campaign and we’ve been overwhelmed by the support. Right now we’re the fourth Kickerstarter campaign to gross over a million and we’re on pace to be the third ever to gross $1.5 million. It’s exciting to be able to live in a world where we are in direct contact with the consumer and giving them what they want.
For most television shows that go off the air, the actors go their separate ways. Yet, it seems as though everyone originally involved with Blue Mountain State is back in some capacity to help out on the movie. What’s so special about BMS?
It was not hard getting these guys back together for the movie. We put the calls out there and everybody was overwhelmed so that was the easy part.
It’s hard to put into words the chemistry we have. It’s truly a family. It started with Romanski and Falconer, the showrunners. These guys put in a lot of effort without it looking like effort into creating a family. It was such an open environment creatively. I’ve worked on sets where if you stray from the lines you’re getting pulled aside. It was the only set I’ve ever been on where nobody wanted to be in their trailer. It was like a frat it was so fun. It was totally a college experience and no one wanted it to end. Every night we’d go hang out and we’d be inseparable. I attribute that to [Romanski and Falconer] and I commend them for that because it’s something that nobody does and that chemistry was tangible it was almost like its own character on our show.
In the Blue Mountain State behind-the-scenes clips, Romanski and Falconer said they felt an instant connection between you and the character you were reading for, Thad Castle. And I’ll quote them. They said: “Part of the reason we casted Alan was that he looks like a douchebag.” Is that what you were going for?
[Laughs] I totally got what they were going for and I definitely put my own stamp on it. I was always trying to add layers that made it more interesting. They wanted the douche character and I guess I was that. It’s funny though because it’s not that uncommon for people that get to know me, like new friends or acquaintances, I hear quite often ‘I thought you were a huge douchebag’ or ‘I thought you’d be a huge jerk’ and I get ‘well you’re actually a nice guy.’ I don’t know what I’m putting out there to make people assume that I’m just an a-hole. I definitely got that from them.
What can we expect from Thad in the movie?
It’s going to be good, dude. Thad is basically at the point of his life and career where he has received his signing bonus for the draft and you see Thad trumped up with all the power, accolades and money and that’s all the fuel you need to drive an epic two-hour comedy. The stakes are going to be higher for sure.
If the movie is successful, are you guys operating with the hope that a television network will pick up BMS for another run?
That’s definitely a possibility. Just from the energy that we’ve created though this grassroots movement, we’ve received a lot of interest.
So there is interest from networks about a TV revival?
When [BMS] was canceled, Lionsgate took it to all the networks but it’s rare for another network to pick up a competitor’s show. Everybody kind of passed. With the heat that [the Kickstarter] has created, that conversation is changing. So I think the interest has been pretty good. A successful movie would be even better. If this campaign is any indication, there’s more to have here.
Is the movie slated for a theatrical release?
A theatrical release is definitely the plan. Money is really the only obstacle we have. Creative ideas are certainly not in short supply. At the very least, I think a limited roll out is almost a guarantee.
There’s only so much you can do on basic cable. Can we expect a raunchier version of Blue Mountain State to hit the big screen?
There are going to be a lot of breasts in this movie. I think we’re going to try and set the record. I need to find out what the record is for the most. We’re going to try and beat that. I think Romanski wants to spend 98 percent of the time full-frontal naked.
We’re going there and I think that’s what the audience got a taste of on the show. And of course whatever it is it’s going to support the comedy and the brand. Sexy and funny and cool were the three things we always did well on the show. We’re going to continue that but take it farther. We were on basic cable, which was a great environment for a show like ours, but really we were always dreaming of living in a crazy, R-rated comedy.
With the NFL Draft this week, I want you to imagine Thad Castle is in New York and gets his name called as the No. 1 pick in the draft. He walks up to Commissioner Roger Goodell and shakes his hand at the podium. What does Thad say to the Comish?
Suck my tiny balls, we’re No. 1, sloots!
As an American Idol fan, I have to sneak this question in here. You probably have one of the most memorable auditions in the show’s history (See the video below). Was that planned?
Not at all. I’m actually a reserved person I don’t like causing a scene. I didn’t quite get how big the show was. I went into the audition thinking I’m just going to sing the song and move on. When I walked in I thought I did something wrong. Simon laughed and pointed at Paula. They told me to walk over and start singing to her. They told me to go serenade her and I was like ‘alright am I going to get in trouble?’ I was nervous that I was going to be crossing some line but she loved it and she was a fan.
Have you seen Paula since?
I’ve run into pretty much everyone else since. I’m not sure if she’d remember me.
So the BMS Kickstarter campaign is in its final push, can you give our readers an elevator pitch on why they should donate?
We are passionate about the show and we want to keep it going. We’re really excited about the movie and what we’re going to be able to do with it. With your support we’re going to bring you the best comedy of 2015.