Also, I should mention that this movie has a full on human-on-werewolf sex scene to a cover of Gowan’s Moonlight Desires that you cannot unsee once you've seen it, and it’s so hilarious, you won’t want to unsee it! Probably. That was my opinion.
My super-awesome colleague from across the pond, Rob Richardson got to chat with Lowell a few years back, and now at Montreal Comiccon, I actually got to to reconnect with Lowell, to find out how the long awaited WolfCop sequel is coming along.
And oh yeah, I also got to schmooze with some of the cast from the flick, including the MAN himself, WolfCop (the actual actor in costume, Leo Fafard)!! You don’t get to hang out with a werewolf often, so it was a real thrill!
So without further ado, let’s hear from Lowell!
FPB: First off, how are you enjoying Montreal?
LD: I love Montreal! I’ve only been here two or three times, but the last time I was here after the screening of WolfCop at Fantasia was one of the best screenings we’ve ever had. So I now associate Montreal with like the most awesome WolfCop fans!
FPB: We have amazing crowds, especially at Fantasia. So, how did all this crazy WolfCop stuff come to be, for those that don’t know?
LD: I wanted to just do a film. A horror film. I’m from Saskatchewan, I have a small community of friends around me, and I’m inspired by people like Sam Raimi who did Evil Dead with just a bunch of friends in their high school gymnasium, I think. We just decided, y’know, we’re tired of waiting for permission; let’s just go make an indie film.
Being the writer/director in the group, I just brainstormed a bunch of ideas and the one everyone seemed to love was something called WolfCop, which is as ridiculous as it sounds, just a wolf who’s also a cop. It’s a bit of a murder mystery and a superhero origin story, so we poured our hearts into a concept trailer. Everyone volunteered for a weekend and I shot it over a few days and edited it together and long story short, we entered it into a competition called the CineCoup Film Excellerator, which was looking for an independent film to put in cinemas and we were selected out of 90 independent trailers across Canada, and we got to make our movie!
FPB: What genres really inspired you as a filmmaker?
LD: Well, I’m a traditional 80’s geek, I’d say. I grew up in the time of, some people would say the lowest times in cinema, but for me it’s just what I know and I love it. I grew up on the high concept 80’s cinema. Y’know, like things like Back To The Future, Evil Dead, Superman, American Werewolf In London...these really big ideas done with varying degrees of quality and success, but that just endeared you no matter what. Just by its charm.
My goal was to make something that felt like it might have been a lost 80’s gem. Obviously on a low budget, but I was never emulating like, a grindhouse thing. I was more emulating the messed up, bizarre movies of the 1980’s like Ghostbusters. That’s really what I wanted to do.
FPB: Now going into WolfCop II, how’s this going to be new/different/fresh than the first one?
LD: I was very excited to get to do a sequel, because the first one just scratched the surface. I always loved the origin story, but I always wanted to get PAST the origin story. It’s done now.
I love comic books, and I don’t wanna see Spider-Man become Spider-Man, I wanna see him on his darkest hours and craziest hours. So, now for us it was a mixture of what I wanted to see in WolfCop II and what I really believe, from the reaction from the first film, what the fans really wanted to see. So, I will say it’s VERY weird...I wanted to go VERY WEIRD for this one...and I believe it’s MUCH funnier than the first one.
We really embraced the comedy, we really went all out and the first one, being an origin, it’s a little slow because you gotta bring people into the world. I’d say for the people that have seen the first one, the second movie feels like the second half of the first movie all the way through.
FPB: Is there more pressure now?
LD: Definitely. A huge amount of pressure. For the first WolfCop, nobody knew what it was, nobody cared! The bar was very low! Especially calling it “WolfCop”, so when it comes out it’s either just a big joke or people like it. We got lucky. It was kind of a mixture of both. The people that didn’t like it, well, it’s a silly movie called WolfCop...but we also got a GREAT cult fan base.
So, I felt huge pressure making the sequel. We had a little more money on the second one, not a lot, I mean it was just over 2 million, and the first one was a little over one. So, for anyone who knows a little about independent filmmaking, it’s next to nothing, right? And we’re hoping to do some pickup days, but right now, the second one was shot in about the same amount of days as the first. So, we’re basically trying to do something twice as good in the same amount of time. Huge pressure! I don’t think there was a single day that went by where I’m not like, “oh this is easy and relaxing.” Every day I was pulling my hair out, racing at top speed and pushing myself and everyone to make something that DESTROYED the first one.
FPB: Are there any plans to expand the franchise? Comic books, toys, video games?
LD: Oh yeah! One of the things that excited people about WolfCop was that THAT’S what we were pitching. Right from the beginning. Before we had a movie. Just from the concept trailer, we said we wanted to do action figures and comics. For the first one we did an Indiegogo campaign for a 10-inch figure of WolfCop designed by Emmersen Ziffle, our visual effects artist. It was really amazing, but for the sequel my dream would be a line of action figures for some of the main characters! Also, an 8-bit style video game, I think we need a WolfCop video game. And my big, BIG hope, as much as I’d love to do a WolfCop III and IV, which I want to do...I wanna do a WolfCop TV show!
FPB: (laughs) That would be EPIC! You guys use a lot of creature effects. Do you find there needs to be more of that? Less CG, more “real stuff” in Hollywood today?
LD: I do. I mean, when you GOT the budget for that, CGI can be amazing. Like the stuff you see in like, Jurassic World? Yeah, I would embrace the FX in a heartbeat.
FPB: For sure, there’s some stuff that you just HAVE to do that way...
LD: Well, yeah. There’s filmmakers that already have that background in working with those kinds of VFX when they do huge monsters, then yes, you use them in your film. But with me, Emmersen is one of my best friends and he’s a practical SFX artist. And for our style of film, practical effects feels right. But I think you just do what you know. And because I’m so immersed in practical effects, I just love it more.
I find, and this is my personal opinion, that even AVERAGE practical effects are more charming and heartwarming than average VFX. Average VFX just feels dead to me. And I will always go practical over digital unless I’m making a 150 million dollar movie.
FPB: Have you been approached by any big name Hollywood studios?
LD: Not yet! I’m standing outside usually just begging people to hire me! (laughs)
FPB: Would you prefer to keep things smaller?
LD: No, I just want to make good films. I mean, there’s a trade-off on either side of the fence, right? Doing these smaller films is REALLY hard! I won’t lie, making movies like WolfCop and WolfCop II under 17 days, you’re just DYING for more time. But I’m sure if you have 150 million dollars there’s other problems in your brain. It’s a trade-off.
FPB: That was awesome, man. I really appreciate this catch up. Looking forward to seeing the sequel! Do you know when it will be out?
LD: We’re just in post now, so look for WolfCop II to be in Canadian theaters and hopefully all over in late 2016 or early 2017 at the latest. We’re just bustin’ our butts to make it as good as possible!
We will be howling at the moon to see it! As always, we will keep everyone posted on when the movie is gonna be released! Stay tuned!
Well, that’s the last of my MCC 2016 coverage! Once again it was great to touch base with creators from comics, movies and even a music legend! I already can’t wait to see who I run into next year! Bleed out!