Exclusive: John Jarratt Talks Wolf Creek 2's Delay, Comedic Tone, Another Sequel & More!
With his iconic laugh and maniacal mean streak, Wolf Creek's Mick Taylor is on par with Baby Firefly as one of the coolest cinematic killers – just not nearly as attractive. John Jarratt brings Mick to a new low as the gritty, downright dirty evildoer from Down Under in the long-awaited sequel.
Inventively entitled Wolf Creek 2, the flick is due out in theaters on May 16th. We got the chance to pick John’s brain (before Mick could pick ours – thank goodness the interview was done over the phone), and here’s what he had to say to all the horror fans who’ve been anxiously awaiting his return.
Dread Central: It has been a long time between the Wolf Creek films; can you tell us why the delay for Mick’s return?
John Jarratt: Well, when Greg McLean wrote the first one, he was in his early thirties and he was a bit idealistic. He was determined that Wolf Creek the second would be better than the first Wolf Creek. And he wasn’t going to do it until he was convinced he had a script that was better. So then he did a couple of other jobs, and you know I am basically sitting around thinking things up and eventually put together a script that he was happy with. And we worked on that four years after Wolf Creek 1 had come out. We got the film up and we had a major investor who called like five minutes before we were about to start [pulling the plug]. So that delayed us another year to get the film back up again. So there were a few false starts, and there was a lot of time spent getting the script right. That is basically it.
DC: John, how does that feel as an actor when you have the flow of this character going, and then it takes ages before you can play him again? How do you tap into the old Mick mythology after so many years between?
JJ: Well, it was kind of strange, but even stranger... the Wolf Creek phenomenon is big, so every day I was street performing [because fans stop me and ask me to do Mick]. So it’s been kind of with me all the time. It’s not like I filed it away. At times my patience was wearing very, very thin. And also I said to Greg, ‘It’s been eight years or whatever, and I am getting older. I might look the same, but I am not young.’ But funny enough, I don’t know how, but we took a picture of me as Mick this time around and took a photo of Mick by me last time, and there was hardly any difference. I hadn’t changed much, thank God.
DC: This movie seems a little bit more comedic. And I am not sure if it’s true, but I have read somewhere that the highway scene with the kangaroos was added for the American market… is that true? Do you know if there are two different versions of the film?
JJ: Well, we had a cinema release in Australia which was slightly shorter, but just slightly. The DVD I think has got the hardcore original uncut version. And also I thought he was funny in the first one, but people keep saying he is funnier in this one. I suppose he is; I don’t know. But you do see a lot more of me. I thought I had some funny jokes in the first one, but I am only in the second half of the movie if you have ever seen the first one. I am in the sequel from the get-go this time. More opportunity for Mick. I think he has a good sense of humor, in any case.
DC: Oh, yeah – he is way too happy about his evil doings. Which do you prefer -- the more intense, stalking scenes where you are scaring people, or do you prefer the more joking, lighter side of Mick?
JJ: Oh, both. Comedy is always great to do. And scary. People always ask me, ‘How do you become an actor? What is acting all about? What do you do when you are an actor?’ And I just got this joke that I always say, ‘Face the front and go for the laughs.’ Just go for the laughs, you know. I think humor is important in all films. You know, Scorsese films are formed of dramatic thrills, but there are a lot of gags; there are a lot of laughs. Joe Pesci is as funny as all get out in Goodfellas. And in The Shining, ‘Heeeeere’s Johnny!’ It is important to have something to take the edge off.
DC: You did say you would be interested in doing another sequel so I am curious to see how you would like to see Mick progress -- maybe Mick takes Manhattan or Mick in Space? [laughter]
JJ: I don’t think he does progress. I think he has just a bunch of things to shoot and kill in the Outback. He has wild antelope, kangaroos, and backpackers. In fact, backpackers are the most fun. He is a hunter. It is what he does; he enjoys the game. I don’t know… I would just crack open his head and come up with some script ideas and then we all figure it out. I know there is great stuff we could just come up with. I look forward to actually discovering something fresh for the third one, but Mick himself? He never changes.
Directed by Greg Mclean, written by Mclean and Aaron Sterns, and produced by Helen Leake (Swerve, Black and White, Heavens Burning), Greg Mclean, and Steve Topic (Crawlspace), the sequel started production seven years after the original Wolf Creek hit screens internationally in November of 2005.
Wolf Creek 2 is available on VOD now, with a theatrical run set for May 16th.
Lured by the promise of an Australian holiday, backpackers Rutger, Katarina, and Paul visit the notorious Wolf Creek Crater. Their dream Outback adventure soon becomes an horrific reality when they encounter the site’s most infamous local, the last man any traveler to the region ever wants to meet: Mick Taylor (John Jarratt).
As the backpackers flee, Mick pursues them on an epic white-knuckled rampage across hostile wasteland. Only one will remain to be dragged back to his lair to witness the true magnitude of his monstrosity. And if the last man standing is to have any hope of surviving where no one else has survived before, he’ll have to use every ounce of cunning to outwit the man behind the monster and become every bit as ruthless as the monster inside the man.
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