Sixteen years ago, an outlandish independent comedy, Super Troopers, was released with moderate fanfare. It gained an immediate notorious offensive crude reputation making $20,000,000 at the US box-office.
It was the debut feature film of American stand-up comedy troupe Broken Lizard. They toured Australia in 2002 and I was lucky enough to hang out while interviewing them with my trusty Sony mini-cassette dictaphone. Gaining traction on the relatively new concept DVD and VHS (yes rentals still circulated), the movie was huge. Fans built and an inevitable sequel was often touted.
The wish became reality after director, writer, star Jay Chandrasekhar, along with his long-time mates, attempted crowdfunding to jump-start the process of making the film. Jay says he wanted to see how much enthusiasm might be out there. Luckily for us, there was and 54,000 people chipped in. Fox Searchlight then assisted more to green-light.
What do you want audiences to get out of your film if they’ve not seen Part 1?
BL – We just tried to make another fun cop film, it’s not necessary to know the first one to enjoy. There are a few inside jokes you could miss but you’ll get the other 400.
Loved meeting you back in the day, what are your memories of Sydney?
BL – We went to a tyre store opening to cut a ribbon (laughs), publicists took us to a mall in the middle of the day. There were women with children everywhere putting us on a little stage and this guy in a suit yelled out in a broad Aussie accent: “Ladies & gentlemen, welcome to Super Troopers from America.” We walked up dressed like cops getting stared at. Then we were taken to a beer garden with a rowdy drunk crowd, we dressed as cops again and the crowd went ballistic hurling abuse. There and then, we came up with the idea of Beerfest (2006).
Great to see Jim Gaffigan back for more treatment in the sequel.
BL – He is great and on the first one when he auditioned, he was a struggling actor. This time when he came down, he flew his private jet then flew back right after lunch.
What was the feeling like slipping into the uniforms again?
BL – Like slipping your foot into an old slipper (laughs). It was great to get the hair cuts, grow the moustaches, it is just a fun thing to pretend to be a cop, a real treat to be them again. It was a high pressure situation to hope we could be as funny. I think it is polished hilarity.
Your rapid fire routine has remained. Was it harder to write new jokes or situations?
BL – We tried to intentionally not do the exact same jokes but if we did call back, we put a little spin on it.
Were there any mishaps or close calls working with a grizzly bear?
BL – That bear was a diva. Our set was designed so that the bear didn’t eat you, only the random steaks left in piles. We had to move the food and all our things away or it could attack. When it was in the cage, we couldn’t go near it and look because when it was out on set ‘acting’ it would remember you and lurch because last time bars prevented it.
Can you tell me anything about Rob Lowe that maybe nobody else knows?
BL – (Jay) I always joke with him that he’s a Canadian trapped in a leading man’s body. He’s got great timing while willing to go anywhere the joke is. The thing about comedians is we ride the edge getting close to danger wherever the joke is. Rob is a brooding leading man but knows exactly how to do just that. He also has a hilarious take on Canadians that they cannot make up their minds so he was excited to go after them in our movie. I was directing an episode of his TV series The Grinder (asking) if he would appear in Super Troopers 2: “Anywhere any role, I don’t even have to read the script,” was his response. Then Fred Savage was sitting there too yelling, “What about me?”
The shaving cream scene, was that a tribute to Youngblood (1986)?
BL – We learned Canadians love shaving each other’s balls in Youngblood so we payed homage to that tradition and Rob in one of the greats.
Do you think the sequel might be banned or outlawed in Canada?
BL – We showed it in Toronto to rapturous response. I think the Canadians in the film turn the tables enough for the locals to enjoy. We did get our first complaint online from a French-Canadian who demanded an apology from Broken Lizard to all FC’s.
Was it hard to get Brian Cox or Lynda Carter to return for more?
BL – No, everyone on the original seems to experience the same thing. This little movie we made for a million is the film that people ask us about the most including Brian Cox who’s been in multiple brilliant films but says, I get approached for this one more than any other. All the cameos of others coming back were connected with it, bonded.
All the stunts have been ramped up, did anyone do their own?
BL – There were no doubles used for naked cartwheels. Also, there is a scene where I bust through a windshield. I was in a harness dropped from about 8 feet, we only needed one take (laughs).
Any advance plans for a Super Troopers 3?
BL – We have figured out a plot for Super Troopers: Winter Soldiers, with 37 more drafts to go.
SUPER TROOPERS: Rated MA, 100 min
IN CINEMAS NOW.
Shane A. BassettSydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.