Published on June 30th, 2014 | by admin
John Jarratt Interview (Wolf Creek 2)
Hi John, welcome to Impulse Gamer and thanks for sharing your time with us. S how you been?
Very well mate and thanks for having me
With Wolf Creek 2 just being released on Blu-ray and DVD, what was it like putting on the boots of Mick Taylor again?
It was a lot easier than the first time because when the original movie was released, I didn’t know whether the character was going to work or not. I personally thought the character was going to work but there was a possibility he could have turned out like Foghorn or Leghorn. Thankfully he didn’t and because it worked from the first film, I was a lot more comfortable and at ease playing Mick Taylor.
Besides the excellent script, what inspirations did you use to channel this despicable yet entertaining larrikin serial killer?
I read up on Ivan Milat and people like that to get into that headspace but as Mick is a fictional character, we only used some Milat’s techqniues. For me, I just had to find a way of justifying what he did and I looked at things like Nazi Germany and the Jewish people, the Klu Klux Klan and how so called white righteous people could string up an African American to a tree and not even lose any sleep over it… unfortunately it’s not like it’s brand new in the world. I just tried to figure out how someone could get into that mindset and after the research, I came up with Mick.
How did come up with the voice and the laugh? It’s quite unique and suits the character perfectly.
If you take the psychopath and serial killer side out of Mick, you know if he wasn’t evil then it’s an impersonation of my dad who was this raw boned Aussie bloke and we lived in the bush all my life. He’s a big country boy and was very funny, tough and very Aussie. So yeah, he’s an impersonation of my dad but then you add the serial killer and psychopath to the mix and come up with Mick. My dad also had a very deep voice and I don’t so I had to add in the croak to give it a bit more menace. With the laugh, I said to Greg in the first film that I wanted Mick to start out with a chuckle but end up like the Jaws music and that’s how I came up with it.
Compared to the original film, Mick seems to be having more fun… why is that?
Did you think he didn’t have fun in the first one?
He did but in the sequel he seems to be enjoying himself more and because he’s gotten away with all the murders, he seems invincible.
That’s funny because this question gets asked all the time and I find it quite curious because in the original I thought Mick was funny as buggery like “Sydney, the Poofter Capital of Australia” or ” If I tell ya, I’ll have to kill ya!” and then I cut his head off. I thought he was cracking jokes all the time at a hundred miles an hour.
I guess the difference is that we had 90 minutes in this one and we got more money so we got bigger toys like Kenworths and things, and in the first film, the monster’s in the cage for first half of the film and you get the feeling that this one is bigger, broader and funnier. I believe it’s similar because you get to experience more of Mick and learn a little bit more about him. In the first film, you’re waiting for this monster to turn up like Godzilla but in the second film, he’s there from the opening frame which I think is the reason why the audience believes Mick to be having more fun.
With that said John, do you think that’s why Mick Taylor has a cult following across the globe?
I think so because he’s engaging, funny and he’s just like this Crocodile Dundee character gone wrong and I think that’s his appeal. People don’t turn up to this movie if they don’t want to see a horror film. The audience wants to see this kind of film and that’s why I think Mick appeals to people who like this genre. It’s also a bit different as it has comedy, its horror comedy [laugh]
Ironically, Mick Taylor does make a great tourist ambassador for Australia, especially with his knowledge of Australia and the amazing cinematography of Wolf Creek… did you help Greg come up with some of the quotes that Micks says in the movie?
Part of it is Greg McLean (Writer/Director) but we worked together so much that I can’t remember what’s mine and what’s his anymore because we worked on it for years. For instance, I adlibbed on the day where I said sorry Skippy when I hit the kangaroo and I turned it into “oh Qantas the Flying Kangaroo” [laugh] There’s a good mixture of the two of us in Mick but most of the stuff in the lair is Greg. I did rewrote the cricket dialogue with him and came up with Dennis Lilly but yeah, we’ve worked together so much on Mick that it’s hard to remember what’s mine and what’s his [laugh]
I gotta ask… were the sideburns real?
Of course they’re real!
So it wasn’t movie magic then, they were really John Jarrat?
I’m a very hairy man so why fake them when you can grow them! [laugh]
Were there any challenges in filming outdoors with Wolf Creek 2 such as the elements or the heat?
Not for me because I don’t suffer from heat or exhaustion because the weather doesn’t bother me. Some people get knocked around by it and some people don’t. So when I done the film Rogue, the crocodile one with Greg McLean, the temperature was 52 degrees in Katherine and I was the oldest actor in the movie with a big rubber stomach on [laugh]. I was the only one that didn’t fall over in the cast. I’ve got a good metabolism for those kind of conditions.
Given that some of the scenes in Wolf Creek 2 are quite graphic in nature not to mention quite intense, how did you guys debrief or relax after a heavy shoot?
Well it’s fairly tame until we get into the lair as the dialogue and chase scenes are fairly loose. Sometimes with the German backpackers and stuff, that particular scene was quite rough and when I finished it, I felt quite drained because it was very full-on. But overall, it doesn’t really affect me too much but it did effect Ryan Corr because he was forever terrified and playing the victim. He had to be scared all the time, whereas my character is having the time of his life and having fun. It’s not that traumatic for my character that makes my job as an actor a little easier.
You’ve mentioned Ryan Corr one of the actors in the film, what was it like working with the others?
I was really wrapped with all them and thought they were fantastic, mainly the three young people and the lovely Gerard Kennedy who played a farm guy which was a pleasure working with him. I loved working with them all and thought they were brilliantly cast. And then you’ve got Aussies playing Germans who actually had German heritage so that worked well. Lastly, you’ve got Ryan who was just superb. I thought there wasn’t a cigarette paper between them. They were really good.
You’re very fortunate as an actor to have such a great team and it showed in Wolf Creek 2.
Greg’s really good with casting and he really nails it.
Without spoiling Wolf Creek 2, what was your favourite scene?
I think at the end because it’s kind of like a mini play within the film which we treated it like that. Without spoiling it for the audience, it was like a two hander in the room and we rehearsed it very thoroughly on weekends and nights [laugh]. We got together, Ryan Corr and I and we worked it very hard and put it on like a play. It was also a great exercise to do as an actor.
You mentioned “play” and I’ll give you two questions here, will there be a Wolf Creek 3 or 3D and could there be a twisted play about Wolf Creek?
[laugh] I never thought of it as a play but I would definitely not do it [laugh] … I would draw the line there because I wouldn’t want to do that every night. But Wolf Creek 3 will happen if Wolf Creek 2 does good and makes a profit, especially if people stop this lunacy of pirating independent films. It hurts the independent filmmakers a lot, especially if you get a million downloads. That’s a lot of money that we don’t have for that film. I mean if you could download a brand new BMW, they would put a quick stop to that wouldn’t they? Basically, they are stealing from us.
Given the global phenomenon of piracy, where do you think Australia fits into the grand scheme of things?
Australia is apparently the worst offenders so it’s something that we all have to turn around. I mean if you buy Wolf Creek, you get a master quality film with good audio and video. If you pirate, you’re killing the goose that that laid the golden egg and as a result, you may not get Wolf Creek 3 if you enjoyed it. It also effects the entire independent film making progress across the planet and as a result, you’ll end up with films like the Transformers only.
You’re also one of those rare Australian stars who is cross-generational. If my dad saw you walking the street, he would immediately know you from Better Homes & Gardens, whereas myself… I would link you to Mick Taylor…
.. and your grandfather from Picnic at Hanging Rock [laugh]
Which is the bigger fan base?
Obviously it’s Wolf Creek which I’m known for but I’ve got another bunch of fans from Better Homes & Gardens and McLeod Daughters which I call my nanna fans [laugh]. There is a wide berth there so if I can make a film that most of these demographics can come and see, it’s kind of good for me [laugh]
So what does the rest of 2014 hold for you? TV or movie wise?
I’ve just directed and acted in a film called StalkHer and it’s a kind of a cross Misery and Whose afraid of Virginia Woolf. The by-line is that he chased her until she caught him and we’re hoping to have that out in cinemas in February next year . We’ve got another film on the boil and couple of irons in the fire as well… but nothing locked in yet.
Before we go, I have to ask you a hypothetical…. Mick Taylor vs Crocodile Dundee, who would win and why?
Would a crocodile beat a gorilla dad? [laugh] I would want Hogs [Paul Hogan] to win… you know Croc Dundee to give him a hiding … I think Mick Dundee would walk in and go slash slash slash, wink and then walk away [laugh]
Thanks for your time John and all the best with your release of Wolf Creek 2 and your new projects!
Thanks mate and thanks for your support.
WOLF CREEK 2 AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY, DVD & ULTRAVIOLET FROM THE 26TH OF JUNE 2014
The Outback can be crazy this time of year.
While seeking an authentic Australian adventure, one unlucky backpacker learns the deepest, darkest secrets of the Outback’s most infamous serial killer.
Lured by the promise of an Australian holiday, backpackers Rutger, Katarina, and Paul visit the notorious Wolf Creek Crater. Their dream Outback adventure soon becomes a horrific reality when they encounter the site’s most infamous local, the last man any traveler to the region ever wants to meet; Mick Taylor (John Jarratt). As the backpackers flee, Mick pursues them on an epic white knuckled rampage across hostile wasteland. Only one will remain to be dragged back to his lair to witness the true magnitude of his monstrosity. And if the last man standing is to have any hope of surviving where no one else has survived before, he’ll have to use every ounce of cunning to outwit the man behind the monster and become every bit as ruthless as the monster inside the man.
Making of Wolf Creek 2