Lowell Dean is a director to pay attention to. His 2015 surprise cult hit, WOLFCOP, showed that Dean and his crew could accomplish impressive effects work and a lot more on a limited budget and an even more limited shooting schedule. They crafted a funny, vulgar, and violent riff on both the werewolf and vigilante cop concepts that felt fresh while still paying clear respect to the cult films that came before it. Simply put, it is a really fun movie!
Now Dean has returned to the world of the WolfCop, Officer Lou Garou, and the perpetually threatened by evil town of Woodhaven in his follow up film, ANOTHER WOLFCOP! Here's the official synopsis:
A year has passed since the dark eclipse transformed hard-drinking Officer Lou Garou (Leo Fafard) into the infamous lycanthrope crime-fighter. Although the evil that controlled Woodhaven was defeated, the community is far from returning to normal. A villainous entrepreneur (Yannick Bisson) is looking to open a new brewery and revive the local hockey team, but it’s clear he has ulterior motives. With a new mayor (Kevin Smith) and the new chief of police (Amy Matysio), WolfCop has his work cut out for him when he has to save the town all over again.
Lowell Dean agreed to talk with me ahead of the upcoming home video release of ANOTHER WOLFCOP. We had a very fun conversation about all things WOLFCOP that I sincerely hope you'll enjoy. The interview is also followed by a brief look at the soon to be released Blu-ray edition of the film.
Wheels: Let's get started. Where do your ideas for the WOLFCOP series come from?
Lowell Dean: [laughs] That’s a good question! I don’t know …maybe somewhere dark and weird. Honestly, the first one just kind of came out of wanting to make the kind of movie that I wanted to see that I felt I wasn’t seeing, ya know? I’m from Canada and Canadian movies are not usually this weird. So I was just like, “why don’t people just do crazy stuff, like a werewolf cop?” We decided to put our money where our mouth was and make the first film and people responded well. I guess for the sequel, I noticed people liked a lot of the really weird moments from the first one. So, I felt like we had permission to go further.
LD: Some of the things that people were a little weirded out by in the first one, like the sex scene, the transformation scene …there was a lot of hesitation. On [ANOTHER WOLFCOP] everyone was pretty much on the same page: just go as far as we can, maybe TOO far. I guess we’ll see how people react.
W: I don’t think you can go too far with a concept like WOLFCOP. Those moments are some of the highlights of the first film. I think ANOTHER WOLFCOP just took them along their natural progression. You have to take that as far as you can or you are not being true to the concept.
LD: I agree.
W: What’s the most challenging aspect of creating a sequel to a film like the first WOLFCOP?
LD: I think it was all hard to be honest. I didn’t think it would be as hard as it was. I thought it would just be fun but the pressure of …even though it’s a silly movie, even though it’s called WOLFCOP. When we found out that people responded well to it. I felt an obligation to make it AWESOME, ya know? [I wanted to make it] much better. If I was in the audience watching it, I would get all the things I felt let down by on the first one, that’s a tricky thing to do with the amount of time and money that we had and to be honest, without exaggerating, we had fifty more gags in the second film than the first film. FIFTY TIMES, but the same amount of days [to shoot in]. The toughest part was just pulling it off and making it, hopefully, what we wanted it to be with the restrictions.
W: The film certainly looks bigger than the first one. I think you guys did an admirable job growing the scope of the film. I love them both. Speaking of adding more effects, I have to ask you about one of the more outlandish moments of ANOTHER WOLFCOP: the werewolf sex scene. It is such a weirdly brave scene; to take the concept of the scene from the first film and switch the genders on it to place the power with the woman, in a scene that’s not meant to titillate, like I said …It’s brave.
LD: Oh, Thank you!
W: What were the challenges in putting that scene together?
LD: For the second one, obviously, one of the biggest things people talked about was the sex scene [from WOLFCOP]. So, we knew that we had to have another one. It also had to be different and to be honest, it just kind of fell into being the opposite, right? The first [scene] people found very funny, with the lit candles and making it all romantic. How do we honor that feeling but still do something ridiculous? I wanted it to be like a rock and roll, aggressive, borderline violently playful sex scene. We actually went through many iterations …I don’t really talk about what they were because I hope that maybe they pop up in future films. We just kind of decided we’d have a were-cat in the film and it just felt like a nice [idea]. I was hesitant at first. It felt a little weird to me to go in this direction but as soon as we started shooting, it was so funny. I’ve never laughed harder while shooting a scene in my life. I actually had to leave the room. I would say “action” and then turn around and close my eyes because I was ruining takes by laughing. The best thing about Leo [Fafard], who plays WolfCop, whether he’s under like [a] feet of makeup and hair or literally just wearing a merkin; he goes hard. He does anything to get a laugh or to be the character. There was no shame. So, it was really fun!
W: When the scene started I thought, “they're not really going to go there’’ and then, ‘Wow. They really are going there. That’s amazing.” You never expect it to go THAT far. It’s wonderful in its absurdity.
LD: ….And for that long! [laughs] We also have them go on way too long. It’s part of the charm, I hope.
W: It gets funnier and more surreal the longer it goes.
LD: [laughs] Yeah, totally.
W: Speaking of makeup effects, did the WolfCop makeup go through any revisions between the first film and ANOTHER WOLFCOP? It seems like quite a lot of prosthetics for Leo to have to wear. Did you do anything to streamline the process between the two films?
LD: Totally. On the first film, we were just on a wing and a prayer trying to figure it out. Emersen Ziffle, who did the visual effects, it was a learning curve. If you watch the first film, part of the charm and hilarity is WolfCop doesn’t always look exactly perfect. There are some shots where his makeup isn’t the same and that’s because we were figuring it out. It was the first, second, or third-time Emersen ever did that makeup in his life. By the time we reached the second film, we had the added benefit of not just making the first film, we went to comic cons [and Leo] would put on full makeup. So, they had done it dozens of times between films and we had really found what we felt was THE right look. I think he looks perfect in the second film. I even said to Emersen, “If we ever do another one, never change a thing. We’ve found it. Now let’s just focus your energy on other weird characters”. I love how he looks in the sequel.
W: The fact that you are able to light the makeup so harshly, like in the hockey arena scene, and have it still look so good is a real testament to the top-notch effects work. It’s impressive.
LD: It’s so good and they are so much faster now too. On the first film it took four hours and on the second one they got it down to an hour and a half.
W: Wow. That’s crazy considering the amount of prosthetics involved.
LD: It really is.
W: How did Kevin Smith (director of TUSK) become involved with the sequel?
LD: It was super random. Anyone who’s a fan of Kevin Smith knows he wants to make a movie called MOOSE JAWS and [the town of] Moose Jaw is actually in Saskatchewan. So, he was scouting and just looking to get that movie made. We knew that he was in town. So, our producer reached out to him and he was gracious enough to come and play with us on our set. We had him for about six hours and we crammed him into two scenes. He was a complete gentleman. I felt so lucky not just to have him in the movie but to get to hang out with him and hear some of his cool stories.
W: What’s next for you? I know WOLFCOP 3 will eventually happen…
LD: I hope so! [laughs]
W: …but what are you currently working on?
LD: I just finished another film called SUPERGRID, a little one million dollar action film, shot in Saskatchewan with a lot of the same team. Producer Hugh Patterson, one of the producers of WOLFCOP, it’s his baby and he brought me on to direct. Leo stars in it again. It was fun to do a movie with a lot of the same family but a little different, a little more serious of a film. After that, [I’m] just hoping to get my next horror comedy off the ground – make another WolfCop [film] and hopefully try some other genres as well, ya know?
W: Who are some of your biggest influences as a filmmaker?
LD: I’ll be honest my trajectory, trying to make films, was looking to my role models which are Sam Raimi (director of ARMY OF DARKNESS) and Peter Jackson (director of BAD TASTE). Seeing what those two guys did, the kind of films they made, the community they kind of created around themselves and then the bigger films they made. That’s my ultimate dream. I read both of their biographies. What they do… that’s what gets me inspired. I mean I love people like David Fincher (director of FIGHT CLUB) too but I feel a kinship with Sam Raimi.
W: There’s something about the guys who love the prosthetic effects, who made smaller films and then applied that to blockbuster filmmaking. It is inspiring. What are some of the lessons you took from those filmmakers and applied to the WOLFCOP series?
LD: I think to let things be playful and …I feel like if you look at MEET THE FEEBLES or EVIL DEAD, especially EVIL DEAD 2, these are films that kind of know what they are. They are giving the audience what they want and at the same time the filmmakers are doing crazy, cool, dynamic stuff: sometimes visually, sometimes like what you said with prosthetics. For me, I don’t claim to be perfect at anything [laughs] but I just LOVE filmmaking so much and getting to explore the art of making movies with something as fun and liberating as WOLFCOP is, it’s a dream.
W: Thank you so much for talking with me today, sir. I wish you nothing but success with ANOTHER WOLFCOP. I think it’s a great film.
LD: Thank you, [Wheels]!
The Blu-ray for ANOTHER WOLFCOP includes:
- 1.78:1 1080p High Definition video
- DTS-HD master audio
It also includes the following special features:
“The Making of Another WolfCop”
“Friends & Foes: Meet the Cast”
“The Monster Shop: Special FX”
“Shoot or Die! Surviving On Set”
“Barn Burner” music video by Shooting Guns.
I recently had a chance to preview the Blu-ray disc. It has stellar video and audio and the special features provide a fun, breezy look at the making of the film. My personal favorite feature was the "Barn Burner" music video by THE SHOOTING GUNS (who provide the music for both WOLFCOP films). The video acts as sort of a short film, showing how WolfCop likely spends his days off. Fun stuff for sure. If you are still into physical media, like I am, then the Blu-ray of ANOTHER WOLFCOP is definitely the best way to enjoy this gonzo, little film. Recommended.
ANOTHER WOLFCOP will be available on DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital Video on July 3rd