While suffering through the brutal vise grip of the pandemic in 2020, many former cinemagoers were clamoring for a film to give voice to their frustration. A rage-filled revenge thriller, with brutality that bordered on horror, with surprises and stunt casting that actually pays off and maybe even the potential to kickstart a franchise. And in June of that year they got it in BECKY, starring Lulu Wilson (Paramount+’s “Picard”), Joel McHale (TED, “Community”), and Kevin James (HERE COMES THE BOOM, HITCH).
BECKY was a blast, and young Lulu Wilson stole the show as the titular character. I got to chat with her and the filmmakers to help promote the film’s release back then and I was so pleased to get a sneak peek of the film before it hit streaming. If you haven’t seen it, stop reading and go watch it. Then come back because, yes, Virginia, there is a sequel.
THE WRATH OF BECKY picks up two years after the original and finds Becky bouncing through foster homes, trying to stay off the grid, and keeping her mind keen and body strong with relentless training. She’s a survivor, meticulously honing herself into an instrument of vengeance that will never be left to feel helpless again. She eventually finds a room to let with no paperwork with the friendly Elena, and a job waiting tables at a nearby diner, giving her the self-sufficience and anonymity she craves. While she’s cordial with Elena, all she really wants to need in life is her trusty dog Diego.
But Becky isn’t happy. She’s still dealing with a lot of trauma, and she views the world in very combative ways. She sorts people into categories of enemies or threats very quickly, and has violent fantasies of murdering those with whom she disagrees. She’s essentially a modern John Rambo, a warrior without a fight, a guided missile that’s lost its guidance. She’s one bad day away from being everyone’s problem… or maybe just one missing dog away.
BECKY filmmakers Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott have slid into producer roles to make way for newcomers Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote to tackle the writing and directing in the sequel, and they seem to have distilled Becky into a chrysalis of her core traumas. While THE WRATH OF BECKY steps up the gore from the original, it also cranks up the comedy, creating something that plays more like a fan-film or comic book sequel. We’re less invested in Becky’s survival or even her vengeance as we have to look at her as something of a catalyst this go ‘round - this is not to say she deserves what she endures, but she’s not completely innocent either. Whereas 2020’s Becky was precocious bordering on dangerous, 2023’s Becky is a weapon of mass destruction with a hair-trigger.
Coote and Angel keep Becky just barely on the side of justice by giving her easily-deplorable villains: the not-so-subtly named Noble Men, a self-proclaimed antidote to tolerance and inclusion and all the other horrible things that scare the little hairs stiff on the hyper-masculine. In what could be misconstrued as another case of stunt casting, the leader of this Strike Team of Noble Men, who intend to assassinate a POC liberal Senator, is played with cool authority by Seann William Scott (THE RUNDOWN, ROLE MODELS). Primarily known for his comedic work, Scott is a tremendously versatile performer who relishes roles that push him past our perceptions. I had the chance to talk with him this past Friday and pick his brain about THE WRATH OF BECKY and the legacy of being the one and only Stifler. Of course I had to apologize for running late, as I tend to do thanks to technological issues. I’m marking this as a spoiler as Seann does refer to the fate of his character, Daryl, but if you’ve seen the original BECKY you know how things fare for anyone not named Becky in a film like this.
Seann William Scott - Hey, Eric!
Eric McClanahan - Hey Seann, how are you today?
SWS - I’m good, man. How are you?
EM - I’m alright. I apologize for the delay.
SWS - No problemo!
EM - So we are talking about THE WRATH OF BECKY, which I got to watch the other day, and I loved it. I loved the original. Did you get to see BECKY before signing on to this sequel?
SWS - I didn’t. Well, actually, when I got offered the movie I wasn’t aware of the first one. I read the script for WRATH OF BECKY and loved it and then I watched it afterward. And, oh, it’s really Lulu’s [picture] - everybody was great and I loved the film - but Lulu was just amazing. But really I signed on just for the character and the script but it turns out the first one was a lot of fun, too.
EM - Yeah, I talked to Lulu when the first one came out, and I mentioned to her that it was a really fun character and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw her again that she’d be something more like a villain. And that really does seem to be the case in this. Becky is thoroughly unhinged.
SWS - [laughs] Yes!
EM - What was it like facing that energy on set?
SWS - You know, she’s just an incredible actress. I could never do all the things that she could do. In this movie, at sixteen years old, she’s seventeen now, she really conveys every emotion. She’s rage, she’s terrified, scared, she’s hilarious. So yeah, it also helped me as an actor when your scene partner is so good. It raises your game, though we really only had a couple scenes - that last scene where she’s tied up and that scene just before, well, she kills me. [laughs] It was a lot of fun, man. I just sat in awe of her, like “What is this?” She’s just an incredible performer, so it was a ball.
EM - I got to talk to Henry Jacobson a couple of years back when you two did the film BLOODLINE. He mentioned what a big horror aficionado you are and what a fan of the genre you are. Is that another thing that attracted you to the role of the villain?
SWS - Oh man, I love Henry. You know, it was more an opportunity to do something different, but yeah, I love this genre. And this particular movie feels like a little bit of a 16-year-old KILL BILL with a little bit of an Edgar Wright-vibe, so it’s like horror but there’s a bit more to it. It almost feels like a graphic novel. But it was mainly the character, because basically other than BLOODLINE I’ve mostly done comedies so this was an opportunity to try to do something different and showcase another side of me and that was really kind of the main attraction.
EM - Speaking of breaking out of comedy, now twenty-four years on, how do you view the legacy of Stifler? Is it something you’re trying to distance yourself from or is it something you’ll always hold dear in your heart?
SWS - [chuckles] It’s something I hold dear in my heart. That character, that movie, that franchise has been such a huge blessing. I mean, I obviously wouldn’t have a career if it wasn’t for that part. I think in the beginning of my career I was, I don’t really want to say anxious, but I was like “Alright, I want to do drama. I want to try to do other things.” And I just kept doing comedies, and it’s a huge blessing to try to make people laugh. So I don’t get bothered if people come up to me and call me Stifler. I feel like it’s a huge compliment.
EM - WRATH OF BECKY is, I’ve noticed, a lot more tongue-in-cheek than the first film. It’s like their EVIL DEAD 2.
SWS - [laughs] Yeah.
EM - Did you get to collaborate with Matt and Suzanne on the screenwriting and learning to develop the comedy in this film?
SWS - It was really fun when I got the script and I read the Daryl character. I thought it was really cool but I wasn’t entirely sure how to play it. I had some ideas, mainly “How do we make this guy more serious and more threatening?” and we talked about adding this idea where he was a former Army Ranger and there’s a kind of a monologue where we were able to explain a little bit more of who this guy is, and both Matt and Suzanne were really wonderful and receptive to the ideas, so yeah, there was this great collaborative feel on set when we would ask “How would this guy respond in this moment?” Like the idea that this guy would have a lot of respect for this sixteen year old girl whose totally capable and more capable than the guys that he has around him. So how do we incorporate that sort of respect into the movie while still keeping him a little bit of a psycho.
EM - Yeah, that scene in particular was so gripping, and a great anchoring performance for that character, so thank you for that.
SWS - Oh, man, thank you! What a great compliment. Thank you so much.
EM - My pleasure! So what are you working on next?
SWS - Something totally different, actually. I’m going to be doing a romantic comedy called THE LAST BACHELOR that Luke Greenfield is directing. It’s a really, really funny R-rated comedy. I haven’t done an R-rated comedy in a while and I’ve never done a romantic comedy, [laughs] so this should be fun. And then there’s a couple of darker movies that it looks like we may be able to do after that. It’s been pretty fun, because I think that, for a while, a lot of the stuff I was offered, kind of… sucked. And I’m like “I don’t want to do a shitty movie!” But what’s I’m finding is that a lot of the filmmakers now are in their mid-30s that maybe grew up watching some of the comedy that I did and are thinking “I want to see this guy do something totally different” so some of the stuff that is coming my way, like WRATH OF BECKY, is really exciting.
EM - It’s fantastic! Well hopefully we can reinvigorate some buzz for BLOODLINE because your performance in that movie is so goddamned good.
SWS - Thank you so much! Man, I love that movie, too. I just wish more people saw it.
EM - Just a dynamite performance and I can’t wait to see what you do next. Everything is coming up Seann William Scott and I am here for it.
SWS - Thanks so much! I appreciate it. All the best, bud.
THE WRATH OF BECKY is in theaters now, and BLOODLINE is streaming wherever you get your movies. And, of course, you can always bust out that old DVD of AMERICAN PIE. Take care!
-McEric, aka Eric McClanahan-