Another WolfCop Interview With Filmmaker Lowell Dean
More BEER… More GUNS… More DOUGHNUTS… More BLOOD… More WOLFCOP!
Playing during the holiday season in a limited theatrical release, Canadian Filmmaker Lowell Dean has got the cure for the modern day exploitation FAN! It’s ANOTHER WOLFCOP, the follow up to the cult classic 2014 werewolf action, blood bath! Drawing praise from critics, fans and peers, Dean returns with all the beast mode action, thrills, Canuxploitation, gore and attitude that a sequel can handle. Taking some time from the promotional front of the theatrical release for ANOTHER WOLFCOP, Dean sat down with Jay Kay to talk the follow. Starting out all the way back at the Premiere during the 2016 FANTASTIC FEST, Dean discusses the film’s score, humor, FX makeup, evolution of the characters, having a TV detective for you villain and more only here on TOM HOLLAND’S TERROR TIME!
TERROR TIME: Thank you Lowell for taking the time to speak with me about ANOTHER
WOLFCOP. First, how does it feel to see your film and sequel to WOLFCOP playing theaters throughout North America?
LOWELL DEAN: It feels like an early Christmas present. Having any kind of theatrical release is far from guaranteed for an independent film nowadays, so I’m overjoyed that ANOTHER WOLFCOP is out in more theatres than the first one and in the US this time as well! Let’s go back to September 2016 at FANTASTIC FEST. ANOTHER WOLFCOP had its premiere. I was there and saw how well received it was.
TT: What was your thoughts that night as Todd Brown presented it?
LD: I was very nervous for our premiere at FANTASTIC FEST. Screening a film for the first
time is nerve wracking enough, but our debut screening was a “work in progress cut” so much of the final gloss of filmmaking (final sound mixing, voice-overs, color timing, visual effects) weren’t yet in place. So, I felt a bit naked. But the response from Todd and the crowd was wonderful, so it was a nice confidence booster moving forward as we finished the film.
TT: Why did WOLFCOP need a sequel? Who came stepped up to support and help make this film happen?
LD: Depending on who you talk to, WOLFCOP did not need a sequel! But it felt like it had
enough of a groundswell and cult support worldwide that a sequel became inevitable. I give a lot of credit to J Joly, the creator of CINECOUP, for pushing it out there and making sure people were aware of WOLFCOP the first time around.
TT: Where did you want ANOTHER WOLFCOP to pick up? Where did “Chicken Milk Stout”
I wanted ANOTHER WOLFCOP to pick up pretty quickly after the first one, just as Lou is
learning (or maybe NOT learning) how to be a werewolf cop. “Chicken Milk stout” came from the idea of eggs and birthing… and the characters being impregnated with lizard babies. In the first draft of the script, I wanted Willie to return to Woodhaven in a literal giant egg that hatched to reveal him. Then Lou and Tina find a factory where the baddies are keeping all the stolen citizens of Woodhaven in giant eggs (as they steal their identities). Through script revisions, producer Joly felt we needed a simpler way of doing that, so he encouraged it to be a drink instead – like eggnog instead of actual eggs. In the end, in true Woodhaven fashion, we went an “egg themed beer” instead.
TT: What influenced the sequel that we did not see in the first film?
LD: Insanity. I wanted this film to feel manic and off the rails. More action than horror. Now that the origin story is out of the way, we had freedom to be crazier. The first WOLFCOP by design was more of a mystery off the top so it had to move a bit slower. This one is straight chaos inspired by films like LETHAL WEAPON, SLAPSHOT and GREMLINS.
TT: How could you make this sequel more Canadian than the original? Can you talk about the guest cameos?
LD: Funny you should say that, as back in Canada some criticized the original film for not being Canadian enough. So, we decided to playfully up the ante of national “pride” especially in the last act. I can’t say much more without spoilers, but in terms of cameos we had a trilogy. Some members of the amazing Astron 6 film collective, Kevin Smith (who is an honorary Canadian at this point) and Gowan who lends not only his amazing music once again, but also a playful cameo as a hockey rink organist. Great cameos!
TT: What did the locations bring to the film? How did you land the brewery set?
LD: The locations were key to making the film, especially since we shot across two provinces (Saskatchewan and Ontario) and we needed to be sure they blended seamlessly to feel like one sad, small seedy town. The exteriors were shot in Saskatchewan to maintain the “prairie look”. Our key location of the brewery / hockey rink is a “frankensteined” mix of multiple locations in multiple cities. The exterior is a large event arena in Moose Jaw, the rink interior is a hockey rink in the small town of LUMSDEN, the brewery side is partly a soundstage build (a Spaceship set!) and part actual working brewery in Regina. It was hard to keep it all straight sometimes!
TT: How were the action sequences and stunts approached for the sequel? Was there a different planning or execution than the first film?
LD: Like the first film, the sequel was shot in 17 days, so the action was fast and furious. We had a great stunt choreographer in Sean Skene, who always came prepared with a plan (and a backup plan) depending on how our schedule shifted during the shoot day. I pushed hard on the sequel for more time for fights and stunts, but it was often challenging since we were twice as ambitious this go-round. Some fights (like the strip club) we had a day to shoot. Others (most of the stuff in the hockey rink) we had 15-30 minutes for each showdown. It was madness!
TT: What was thinking about this film’s villain? What made a clean cut man of the law like William Murdoch (MURDOCH MYSTERIES) or actor Yannick Bisson decide to take on Sydney Swallows?
LD: We ultimately went with a villain who was a bit of a “snake oil salesman” type – as it felt like a good fit to have someone come to Woodhaven to swindle the citizens, so the shapeshifters could regain control of the town. There were a lot of influences for the character, but Yannick Bisson came in and made it his own. He often plays good guys, so he was open to the idea of playing someone a bit nastier, a bit more unhinged. So, it was fun. We did a lot of improv.
TT: How did you want to see these characters like WOLFCOP /Lou Garou, Tina or Willie
LD: I wanted to see Lou realize he wasn’t invincible. Becoming a werewolf would sure
embolden a certain type of personality, so I wanted to see him starting strong and fearless and realizing he needed a team by the end. For Tina, I wanted her to get what she clearly always wanted (to be the boss) and then realize how much work is really is. I wanted to see her as a mentor. As for Willie, I just wanted to see him back in Woodhaven and give him a bit more development than just being hilarious. Luckily, all three actors were game to return and they each had a huge say in the evolution of their characters for the sequel. For example, it was Jonathan Cherry’s idea that Willie should have a crush on Tina.
TT: The practical FX makeup is taken to another level in this film. What was the thinking for the creature work as well as Lou’s transformation into WOLFCOP? Is this the heart of the horror for the film?
LD: We could not (or should not) do them without Emersen Ziffle, the man behind the design of WOLFCOP. For the look of WOLFCOP, Emersen and I just brainstormed and tested looks in prep to improve him from the first film. For the other creatures and gags we made a list and prioritized which were crucial for weeks of development versus which he could throw together on the fly during the shoot with buckets of blood and guts!
TT: Can you talk about the style and feeling you want to achieve with the score?
LD: THE SHOOTING GUNS really set the template for the first film with their awesome
score, so we already had key themes in place. Personally, the only real note or request I had for them was to dabble a bit more with synth, especially for the villains.
TT: How crucial was post production?
LD: Post production is always crucial! Not as crucial for a film heavily reliant on things like visual effects or green screen, but still very important. For a practical effects film like WOLFCOP, post is most important for sound – and we are always pushing for BIG sound, a kitchen sink level of sound effects and loud rocking music to shake the theatre. I’m also quite excited that ANOTHER WOLFCOP has an amazing animated end credit sequence by my buddy Trevor Corrigan and WINGMAN VFX. He and his team put together something really cool that ends the film in style!
TT: The idea for the poster art is such an homage to 1980’s and the action thriller COBRA. Both film’s posters are hand drawn not floating heads, what does it mean to have the poster art presented this way?
LD: I love every poster Tom Hodge (THE DUDE DESIGNS) has created for WOLFCOP. Joly
wanted a teaser poster for ANOTHER WOLFCOP, so the Dude provided the cool Cobra homage which is a wonderful standalone piece of art that also hyped the film. That said, it was important to me that we’d also get a classic sequel poster in the style of the first one (again, a “kitchen sink” look). I’m a continuity nerd so having both the posters for part 1 and 2 side by side makes me extremely happy. I think doing something beyond a floating head poster shows respect for the audience. It shows that you’re not just trying to sell them an actor or two, but more a mood and an experience. It shows thought and heart.
TT: Is ANOTHER WOLFCOP a funnier film than the original? Is the humor presented
different from the first film?
LD: Without a doubt, I think ANOTHER WOLFCOP is funnier than the first one. For better or
worse, it’s also cruder and more ridiculous. I think the first film is a bit more dry and weird, with shocking moments and touches of crude and absurd. This one is full on absurd, from start to finish.
TT: Was it more challenging creating the initial film and idea or creating a sequel that equaled or exceeded with ANOTHER WOLFCOP?
LD: Believe it or not, the sequel was much harder. The idea for the first one was sweet and fun. Production was hard, but never impossible. The sequel was at least twice as ambitious. Every day on set felt like a losing battle for what we were trying to pull off! I felt a lot of pressure to do better – mostly from myself. I also faced more producer input on the sequel. So, I had to juggle all that, and try to please everyone. On the first one I felt like I was just trying to please myself. No pun intended.
TT: What does the films fans, your family and those involved with the production mean to you?
LD: They mean the world to me. I’m overjoyed that I got to make these films. It was never a guarantee we’d get to make his film, nor than anyone would ever see it, or like it. So, to get the chance to make a sequel is certainly a “pinch me” moment. I just love making movies. To orchestrate something this absurd, surrounded by friends and family, is pretty much the best thing ever. I wish I could do it more often!
TT: What is next for the franchise and for you as a filmmaker?
LD: At the end of ANOTHER WOLFCOP, we say “WolfCop will return” and I believe he
will. Though in which form, I;m not sure yet. I’d love to see more comics. I’d love to see a TV series. I have ideas for a third and fourth film. If there is desire for more WOLFCOP I’d love to return. He is my baby, after all! As for what is next, I'm currently developing a few other projects. I’ve got a couple genre film scripts ready, I’m writing a TV pilot and I recently directed another film for producer Hugh Patterson (WOLFCOP AND ANOTHER WOLFCOP) called SUPERGRID. It’s a post-apocalypse story about two brothers on a dangerous road trip, once again set on the prairies. It’s like a “future western”. We should be done post production in early 2018.
TT: Thank you for the time Lowell and check out where ANOTHER WOLFCOP will be
playing near you at http://Wolfcop.com and see the trailer
Follow Jay Kay on Twitter @JayKayHorror