The guys from Broken Lizard were in Boston recently to talk about their new film Super Troopers 2. The follow-up to the cult hit, Super Troopers, was also shot in the area. The movie is about an international border dispute between the U.S. and Canada, and the Super Troopers – Mac, Thorny, Foster, Rabbit and Farva, are called in to set up a new Highway Patrol station in the disputed area. I talked with Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske about the film. Unfortunately Jay Chandrasekhar wasn’t able to join us at the time. With four guys talking at times it was hard to distinguish different voices so instead of guessing who was speaking, I’m just going to label their answers as Broken Lizard (sorry guys!).
The guys were asked if having played these characters before, did it make the process of making this film easier?
Broken Lizard, “Coming up with ideas and writing jokes, we could do that all day. The trick is you have five guys with five different voices. The great thing is that they all had their voices established already. We can hit the ground running and not worry so much about the characters.”
The night before they mentioned the script had over 30 rewrites, I asked them with their improv background, how much of the script actually made it on film?
Broken Lizard, “We like to shoot the script, because we have crafted some jokes for it. We will improv during rehearsals and add lines into the script that way. When you bring the new players in, they want to have some fun too. That’s a good thing. Will Sasso is one of the great improvisers around and you need to let him work his magic. The ‘Danny DeVito’ scene was not part of the script, but Will was so great, we kept it in. We didn’t think it would make it (the final cut) but the first time we played it to an audience, they laughed. People love that scene.”
Kevin Heffernan’s character Farva, has a Canadian counterpart, a person who acts and looks similar to him. They talked about where that idea came from.
Broken Lizard, “Originally it was just a mention of that character then at some point we decided we should see this guy. It was just about the joke. As we have come to find out over the years, when we talk to people about the first movie, everyone is like ‘Yeah I have a Farva in my life’. So of course in Canada they will have one too. Then (one of us) had met Paul Walter Hauser and he’s in I, Tonya. He had some credits, I saw him in an improv show and I said I found the guy. We sent him into our casting director and he got the part.”
The film doesn’t really show what happened to the troopers in between the first and second movie. They mention a Fred Savage incident, but not much more. The guys were asked if there was a reason they stayed away from what these characters had been doing for the last 17 years?
Broken Lizard, “We just didn’t want to get bogged down in any kind of narrative. The whole idea was to get to the laughs. In the opening scene, we do make a joke about it. We talked about it a lot and also we didn’t know when the movie was going to get made.”
With the first film being so iconic, I asked them how difficult it was finding a balance between getting in new material and mixing in jokes fans love from the first film like the Meow Game, the liter of soda and if there were references/jokes that didn’t make the final edit.
Broken Lizard, “I think that’s the criticism of a sequel, making the same joke. Our philosophy was, if we are going to bring a joke back, let’s put a little twist on it. That will make it funny. It’s also one of those things, if you hadn’t seen the first one, it wouldn’t take you out of this movie. People do want to see those references too.”
Of course they were asked if there will be a Super Troopers 3.
Broken Lizard, “If we do, we will make Farva the romantic lead. He will finally get the girl. He will have survived the tumor surgery and won’t be such an obnoxious jerk anymore.”
Super Troopers 2 is in theaters 4/20 (obviously).