Dan Levy faced an 'unfortunate' American Pie misunderstanding in high school

In 1999, Eugene Levy emerged as America's most sex-positive dad in the raunchy teen comedy "American Pie." His character Mr. Levenstein memorably tries to help guide his son Jim (Jason Biggs) through sexual maturity without shaming him. However, for his real-life son Dan Levy, his famous role had a very "unfortunate" impact: Dan's classmates considered him the inspiration for the film.

"Unfortunate" misunderstanding

During a Jan. 12 appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show , Dan reflected on his teenage embarrassments. "For most of my high school life, people thought this movie was like a biography of my life," he said. When Clarkson responded that it was an "unfortunate" misunderstanding, Dan agreed — but maybe not for the reasons she and fans expected. "[It's] really unfortunate because if my life was this interesting, I'd kill someone," he quipped.

Dan does clarify this in one particularly blush-inducing scene, which, not surprisingly, is Jim's close encounter with apple pie. He clarified that he had "no pie" as a teenager. "I don't even know what's in apple pie, but that's a whole other story."

Say "no" to family movie night

Clarkson also asked Dan if he could skip the premiere of American Pie when it came out, after Eugene told her in May 2020 that Dan had opted out at the last minute. He said he originally planned for Dan to watch it with him and his wife, but one of Dan's friends advised him not to watch it with his parents. Initially, Eugene thought it was a shame that Dan missed the "big night," but later he was "glad he wasn't there."

After nearly 25 years of post-mortem analysis, Dan still stands by his decision. He told Clarkson that they had never seen "American Pie" together and that he had a different relationship with his father than Jim did. "It's a weird thing to watch your dad hand out porn to other kids," he joked.

Dan and Eugene Levy attend the premiere of "So Sad" on December 19, 2023Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

A different dad

Interestingly, many of Eugene's scenes were improvised. He explained on "The Graham Norton Show" in February 2023 that he initially turned down the role because he disliked the film's crude humor and Mr. Levenstein's initial "nudge-nudge-wink" Way. He didn't sign until he tried his own spin.

"I said, 'I don't want to play this,'" he recalled. "I think a dad should be the kind of dad that no one wants to hang out with... when they're a kid. Just a dad who has integrity and tries to do the right thing."

Maybe Jim and Dan's fathers weren't that different after all, at least in this respect. After all, it does sound like a father whose 15-year-old son wants to skip an R-rated movie premiere.