Wolf Creek was released on an unsuspecting audience in 2005 introducing outback larrikin and cowboy madman Mick Taylor. Mass hysteria grew with a jolting advertising campaign propelling curiosity and anger. Word spread quickly and box office boomed. However, due to graphic content, Wolf Creek made headline news. Certain theatres showing the film placed health warnings on signs in the foyer, a public outcry to ban the movie was put forward and all of a sudden one of Australia’s best loved actors John Jarratt couldn’t walk down the street without people becoming nervous. Even the great director known for his shock tactics Quentin Tarantino called it brilliant. Now nine years later, equally vicious Mick Taylor returns in a road movie style sequel. I spoke to John Jarratt and his co-star nemesis Ryan Corr (Packed to the Rafters) on what we can expect this time around.
How hot did it get out there filming the South Australian outback, did it affect your performances or patience?
Ryan – It was more a hassle for the make-up department. It got hot so I had real sweat, I acclimatised a little bit. It was fine.
John – I am very lucky as the heat never bothers me, even wearing a flanny (flannelette shirt) the whole time.
The locations were amazing, practically a character of the film with changing landscapes and colours.
Ryan – The framing was spectacular, I agree.
John – We had two brilliant DOP (Director of Photography) gurus who knew their stuff. Australia is home of the finest Oscar winning cinematographers in the world. The outlook of this film is a big screen joy.
You both looked extremely fit in the film, how much of the stunt work did you do yourselves?
John – As much as we could but it’s certainly not like the old days when an actor could participate in everything, political correctness has taken over. During Wolf Creek 1, I did most of the driving myself, you can’t do anything too risky now.
Ryan – I was very lucky I did most of that chase scene with the truck myself, as long as I could keep 15 metres from the camera crane in front of me. I was told to stick to 80 km per hour. They basically blocked off a freeway for us to continuously film on. I felt blessed to be allowed to do my own stunt-work.
John – In the first one I was doing 190 km up the highway in the truck, you can’t do that any more.
How many Jeeps did you go through?
Ryan – Two, they had to chuck one of them off a cliff (laughs) without me in it. There was a surfboard on the roof too, it was never mentioned, did the character surf? And the board never got wrecked.
Ryan – (laughs) There was a cut scene where I spoke to my girlfriend and mentioned I had been up the coast surfing, but that was it.
Did director Greg Mclean shoot Part 2 chronologically as he did the first one scene for scene.
John – No, that was impossible this time. The first one lends itself to it, but the second we had too many variations in locations. The truck scenes were in the Flinders’ ranges then we had to head south for other scenes. All points of the compass around Adelaide.
Those particular truck scenes reminded me of the Steven Spielberg film, Duel, until the kangaroos showed up that is.
John – If you have ever driven out in the bush, you have to hit a few roos. That’s how it is.
Ryan – The truck was moving fast but no kangaroos were actually hurt. Greg kept things interesting to watch on set with DVDs on hand as examples so when it came from effects or CGI images, he is a visual director.
Is Mick still having the time of his life eradicating the tourists and dispensing the noxious weeds as he calls backpackers?
John – Yes he’s not bored yet, still shooting the feral animals and having sex with them, he’s mad and loving life. Mick is who he is, but you see a lot more of him in the sequel. You get him from the get go here so he had further opportunities for demented play.
There is a moment during a mysterious farmhouse that started quite surreal before rapidly changing moods. Was that a hard scene?
Ryan – Well no because when my character woke up, he was still dazed at all the confusion and drama that had led him there.
John – I went in and didn’t show remorse, it was one of the best scenes of the film for sudden impact.
Did the cameras keep rolling during those torture scenes, there were some pretty crazy things happening and I found certain priceless moments between you both excruciating but funny. Was it unscripted banter?
John – Not really, we had most of that on the page. Greg does encourage longer scenes to flow into anything. It is one of the great things about using digital cameras in place of film stock, you can let the cameras roll. As a director you don’t hear him yell ‘cut’ for the sake of it.
Ryan – That particular scene though was almost word on from the script, there were other moments of extra dialogue throughout. It took four long days right near the end of the entire shoot. We were tired by the end.
John – My favourite part of all that was with the knife in hand and going real close (pointing at Ryan) and saying, ‘That gives me the shitssssssssssss’. It was a word I exasperated. The Dennis Lillee and Shane Warne comments were also a crack up.
Mick has a bull whip this time around, he’s on horse back, he’s behind the wheel of a semi trailer. That range must have been fun.
John – I love the whip, that was nasty, it does something to your testosterone when cracking a whip. It was my idea for Mick to get on a horse, he’s a cowboy and I knew how to ride.
How much further can Mick go, are we looking at a possible trilogy?
John – I haven’t seen the draft for the next one, I know it’s being written, I’m sure there will be a third if this one is successful and I’m sure it will be. These kinds of films lend themselves to sequels. There has to be a shorter gap this time. If it’s another nine years, I’ll be 71.
Will he expire, can someone be smart enough or cunning enough to take him out?
John – No one will get close enough.
Ryan – That person will get only one shot and Mick would enjoy it.
Do you think anyone who may have been too young or viewers who may not have seen the original would still get into the sequel?
John – Good question, I think so. It’s more of a juicy horror film and gets going quicker than the first.
Ryan – If anything, it will stand alone and freak people out faster, Mick is not imitating a kind persona as he did in the beginning of 1.
Did you know what you were signing up for, steadfast for the mayhem?
Ryan – Yes I did, I knew it was going to be different from anything I had ever done. I was looking forward to working with John, at how real he was in the first. Something rustic and real made it terrifying for me so I jumped to be in this one. John helped me along. There is a real head-butt in the film thanks to John. (laughs).
Where the Wild Things Are is a movie you were in which current Oscar nominee for ‘Her’ Spike Jonze directed. Any on set memories?
I worked with him in such a small capacity on that but it was a massive movie to be on set. I shot four or five scenes and one made the final cut. Spike was an exocentric, I really liked him, he made things interesting. Instead of getting the kids to act for him, he would make it into a game and film the reactions which made the scenes organic. He was a lovely guy, Catherine Keener (co-star) was cool. The scale was so huge, filmed in Port Melbourne they were shooting snow over the rooftops in our spring turning it winter in America.
Finally, you’ve got two movies happening. Your first directorial debut Stalk Her. And a western comedy in the works, Passing Winds.
John – Well, Stalk Her is a three act film set in a kitchen. Low budget but doesn’t look it. My producing partners OZPIX are wonderful and I think we have made an interesting drama. I didn’t want a half cocked director so I decided to do it to save a lot of money.
Craig McLachlan is on board and Steve Bisley will be in Passing Winds, it’s Blazing Saddles meets Crocodile Dundee. Everything you have ever seen in a western is being sent up remaining very Australian. I seem to remember another Aussie comedy outback western, Lightning Jack, with Paul Hogan and Cuba Gooding Jr was terribly received.
John – That didn’t work because of misplaced cultural exactness. This is going to be tongue in cheek Australian fun.
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.