Everyone's favorite psychotic Aussie Mick Taylor is back, cracking jokes and spines in WOLF CREEK 2, the sequel to the surprise 2005 hit. An affable fellow whose only drawback is that he's a bloodthirsty monster, Mick is played by the equally affable (but not bloodthirsty) John Jarratt, a 40-year veteran of the Australian film business who received an unlikely resurgence after stunning horror crowds with his enthusiastically menacing performance in the first film.
Now he's back terrorizing unlucky tourists in the outback, and we were lucky enough to chat with him! During our conversation, we talked with John about returning to the role of Mick Taylor after several years, his collaboration with director Greg Mclean, making dick jokes over dead bodies, and what could be in store for WOLF CREEK 3!
When you were making the first film did you have any idea it would be so successful and that one day you'd be making a sequel?
No. The first one, when I read it, was written by a guy who had never made a film before. The director of photography had never shot a feature before. We had two Aussie girls playing English girls. We were shooting on digital cameras, which were new then. There were a lot of reasons I didn't think it was going to work. I thought if it was effective on the screen, it would be alright, but it exploded off the screen. So there you go.
Mick Taylor is so funny and strangely likable, it's hard to hate him too much. He's even funnier here than in the first film.
I thought he was pretty funny in the first one, but people forget I'm only in half of the movie in the first. But then I make jokes throughout the rest of it. "I could tell ya but I'd have to kill ya!" The first one was, the bogeyman is coming. The second one is, the bogeyman is here and he's running riot. And he's got a good sense of humor!
Is there much improvisation involved when you're playing Mick, or is it all in Greg's script? How collaborative is the creation of the character?
We do a lot of collaborating. Greg and Aaron [Sterns] wrote one or two drafts and then they brought me in, and we worked on the script for quite a few years actually. I know exactly how Mick should talk. I had a fair amount of input, we worked together really well. The bit with Mick riding the horse, and then the whipping, that was me. Obviously lots of lines that are in there are my lines, and Greg has a habit of not saying cut, just letting the scene go until it peters out, so there were gems in there that came up after the script had finished. For instance when we're running over all of the kangaroos, one flies through the air and hits the truck. I said "Qantas, the flying kangaroo!" Stuff like that. (Laughs)
I was not prepared for that sequence, that was pretty wild.
It's quite common in Australia, actually. When you're driving around the bush, the highways are littered with them.
What's the atmosphere on the set like during some of the more grueling scenes - does it ever get dark or are you able to keep it fun?
We do find plenty to laugh at. Like during the butchering scenes, we made lot of dick jokes, I can tell ya. Another one of my ad-libs is when I pull the lung out and say, "Oh, non-smoker!" It's just rubber or plastic, but when it's on screen it's pretty dreadful. We don't take it too seriously.
I'm interested in your relationship with Ryan Corr, the actor who you spend a lot of time with in the film. You guys share a pretty long, intense scene together.
Really good, he's a fabulous actor, only 23 for God's sake. He's a great kid, he's on the way up. He's going to be in Russell Crowe's directorial debut.
Mick seems to like Ryan's character somewhat - as much as Mick can like someone.
He's got a bit more spark than most of them, a spunk so to speak. For a pommy, he's got a backbone.
Do you and Greg ever discuss Mick's backstory, where he comes from and why he is the way he is, or do you not get into it?
On the first one, I got the script and then I gave myself the backstory. It's better for the actor to give himself the backstory from what he's getting from the script. And then I put as much John Jarratt as I possibly can. Mick Taylor is an impersonation of my father, but my father wasn't evil. (Laughs) You take the psycho out of the equation and that's my dad. Very funny, larger than life, and built like a brick shithouse, a barrel of a man.
Do you know what the plan is for Wolf Creek 3?
What we're doing now is trying to get enough people to buy the bloody thing and give us enough money to make a third one. It depends how it goes; it actually went well down in Australia, but you know there aren't that many people in Australia. So it all depends on how this goes, and we're about to find out.
Do you have things in mind for Mick, some adventures you'd like to see him get into?
Yeah, there are a few ideas floating around, it will just depend on which way we want to go. I'm looking forward to it because I've got a retirement plan, I'm 62, I've got to look after myself. (Laughs)
I'd like to see Mick come to the United States.
You would?! I think he'd feel kind of strange. Mick going to New York, causing all sorts of chaos... It would be a mixture of Crocodile Dundee and King Kong.
We'd like to thank John for taking the time out to chat with us; WOLF CREEK 2 hits VOD in North America on April 17th and theaters May 16th. It then heads to Blu-ray on June 24th; pre-order it right HERE. Give the Australian trailer a look in the above video.