You Have the Right to Laugh! Super Troopers 2 Cast Discuss the Sequel that Almost Never Was

It’s incredible to think that it has almost been 20 years since the release of Super Troopers, which ascended to cult status and ignited a genre, thanks to it’s skewed take on US law enforcement. But despite its success and having provided some of the most comic lines of the time, the reality of a sequel as years went by became more of a pipe dream.

Fortunately, not all heroes (or anti-heroes for that matter) wear badges, and fans loyal to the first film banded together to make the sequel a reality, through a crowd-funding scheme that smashed it’s initial targets.

And they have been rewarded for their loyalty – with a sequel is quite possibly better than the first, embracing a rawer sense of humour that is close to the edge at times, but pulls back just enough to be great fun.

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The story brings all the troops back for one last shot at being police officers, as they must help transition a small Canadian town that is found to be on the wrong side of the Canadian/American border. Obviously, with the history of dislike with the Canadian’s and American’s, it makes for some hilarious…shenanigans.

Screenwriters and stars of the film, Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske (of comedy troupe Broken Lizard), sat down with Man of Many recently to talk about the long road to the sequel.

police officer transition a small canadian town

Talk us through the journey of the sequel and why it took so long?

Erik: well it took forever for Kevin to grow his moustache!

Jay: You know what it’s hard to make movies and…we had to raise the money ourselves so it took us a while. We did a crowd funding campaign for a couple of years. It just took a while. But the result is very much the movie we wanted to make. We’re all very happy about it.

The new movie seems a lot more polished than its predecessor. Did the time between the movies, and your other projects in-between, help hone your comedic craft?

Jay: yeah we have become much better filmmakers, both as writers and certainly as actors and for me, directing. We now know how to shoot all the shots…and we’re not trying to figure out how to do it. It’s much quicker and streamlined.

We focussed ourselves on writing a well-organised story, that was lean and mean…so that we could expand it with jokes. I think we’re just better at it.

You mentioned that you wanted the film to be leaner and meaner, and it certainly eschews a lot of the political correctness themes of today. Was that an important point?

Jay: We just look for the comedy, you know. Political correctness has its place but we try and take jokes to the edge and try not to offend too many people. And when we do, we just wanted to say that it’s not like we are doing it randomly, we read books and we read newspapers – we’re big intellectual guys and we’re making THAT joke. And if someone is unhappy with that joke, that’s ok we intended to make that joke, and we can live with that.

For a sequel, it’s unusual for most of the cast t make a return. How was it when you all got back together in uniform?

Steve Lemme: We were lucky that we were all alive still to be honest…that could have been a problem.

Kevin: It was good. It’s nice that you have the first you as it allows you to use that as capital to get the people to come back and it was such a beloved first movie…people were happy to come backand join us. It was an easy project in that sense.

Were you guys surprised by the cult status that the first film achieved, and did that put pressure on the sequel?

Jay: We were completely surprised. Surprised that we got into Sundance, that we sold to Fox…that people connected with it and watched it multiple times and bonded with the film – it was a stone surprise. So, there was an immense amount of pressure because of the relationship people have with the first, to not screw it up.

Because if we messed the second film up we were really going to mess the first film up as well. Because they would say ‘oh, well that was a fluke and these guys…they’re not funny anymore’ and all these bad feelings would happen. So, yeah it was a high-pressure situation. Openly, we just took a risk and went for it.

With the process that you went through to get this sequel made – including the crowd funding – do you see this as an indie film of sorts?

Kevin: Yeah, I think we do. You know we worked hard to fund it privately and the studio wasn’t so much involved in the finance of the film or the creative – so we did really treat it as an independent film.

There were so many pledges that came with roles in the film to producer credits, to getting the cop car driven by you guys in the movie. Was there on standout experience that you had from this process?

Kevin: I was most disappointed because we put up a perk that if you gave us $US25m then one of us would sire a child with you and no one picked us up on it. We even dropped it by $US1,000 and still none took us up on it – I was a little disappointed in that.

Jay: I was surprised, very surprised. I think my wife was actually relieved I was trying.

see a third super trooper

Are we likely to see a third Super Troopers and, if so, we’re not going to have to wait another 20 years?

Jay: You know it all depends on how the fans consume the movie. The first one, the majority of fans saw it [on DVD]. It made $US20m on the box office here and then $US80m on video. And unfortunately, the arm that green lights movies is the theatrical arm. So, if enough people go into the theatres to see it then we’ll say ‘ok lets make another one’. If everyone waits to watch it on home video, then it’s going to be another 20 years.

Do you think that for the third movie, you might go down the crowd-funding route again or hope that it is just a case of the studio picking it back up again?

Jay: Ideally that would be the fastest route to it. Now, we had a really good experience crowd funding, so it is possible but crowd funding has changed while we were making the movie. Before, when we first did our campaign, the crowds were not allowed to own a piece of it and get back in the back end if it did well. Now, you are allowed to do that and you can literally sell shares in the movie and it’s an intriguing idea to make a film where the audience can just put money up and if we do well at the box office, they get a check in mail with their money back plus a profit.

Kevin, in the latest movie Fava finally has a bit of a love scene, can you tell us a little about that?

Kevin: Are you talking about my love scene with Mac? It was you know, one of those weird things that you circle on the calendar and you look at it for a while and then you’re like ‘oh God, we wrote this so we have to do it now.’ It all went pretty well, until I got his moustache hair in his mouth and then things kind of got a little gross.

gets shouted or quoted at you the most

Is there a line from the first film that gets shouted or quoted at you the most?

Kevin: I get yelled at all the time ‘how do we make a fireballs?’, ‘want a litre of cola?’, ‘Shenanigans’. I think everyone has that one line from the first film and it’s flattering, because we try to make…lines that will be memorable, and I hope in the second one there are some that have that same effect.

Do you think that all friend groups have a Fava esque character?

Jay: People certainly tell us that. They say that everybody has a Fava in their group and that’s why people really resonate with that character.

And is Kevin the Fava of your group?

Jay: Yes Kevin is the Fava of our group!

Kevin: Wait, what?

Erik: I’m going to play devils advocate. Kevin actually is a very organised member of our group. He’s actually a lawyer and a lot of people might be surprised that he has passed the bar in New York and Connecticut.

Can you imagine if you were in prison and Fava showed up as your lawyer? You’d be thinking ‘errrr…this isn’t going to go well.’

Group: (Laughs)

Jay: Yeah probably.

Super Troopers 2 is in cinemas now and is certainly one of the funniest films we’ve seen in recent years. And based on the fact that it took $US14.7m in the US in its first weekend with a budget of just $US13.5m, the future looks set for the return of the most dysfunctional police force in the world.

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