Broken Lizard Talks About Super Troopers 2
On April 20th, 2018 Super Troopers 2 will be released in theaters. I was lucky enough to attend an advanced screening, and the next morning I met four of the five members of Broken Lizard at a marijuana dispensary in Seattle, WA.
In attendance was Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, and Erik Stolhanske. Paul Soter was unfortunately unable to attend.
Jasen Mortensen: Ill try to keep it pretty light. I got some more serious questions toward the end but I don’t think we’ll get to them.
Steve Lemme: We’re gonna get heavy today?
Kevin Heffernan: The deep shit?
Jasen: Im gonna try not to get too heavy.
Steve: Why don’t you start with one of those deep questions?
Jasen: Do you really want to?
Steve: Yeah lets mix it up
Jasen: You really want to?
Steve: Oh yeah.
Jay Chandrasekhar: He was just going to start light Lemmy, what the fuck?
Jasen: Well, this ones goes to Jay, So he kinda screwed you…So you directed some episode of Community for NBC…
Jasen: Do you have any comments about any of the allegations that have recently come out about Chevy Chase’s behavior on set?
Jay: Why did you have to get him to go to me?
(The guys explode in laughter)
Jay: Chevy Chase—is one of my comedic heroes, and you know, I think he’s a very funny guy. But I think he went through a little bit of a substance abuse rehab recently. And so I would chalk his behavior on set up to his current kind of uh, he was probably under the influence a little and it wasn’t always the best way to make a comedy.
Steve: He was doing…?
Jay: He was sometimes a little rough. But really all that matters as a director is that you get the actor to perform in a funny way and he was always eventually able to get a great take out of it and so the show was good and he was good in it.
Jasen: Ok. So Ill pick on Kevin now with a less serious one.
Kevin. What did I do?
Jasen: So, theres a subtle theme in the Super Troopers movies about bears. Does that have anything to do with your relationship with your teddy bear as a child?
Kevin: My teddy bear?! That’s uh, I tell you what that’s a fake story. That’s fake news, that teddy bear story. Lemmy started it.
Jay: There’s fake news out there?
Kevin: That teddy bear story.
Jay: There’s a story that you love teddy bears?
Kevin: Lemmy used to tell that story on stage that I made love to my teddy bear as a child, but it was actually some other friend of his.
Jasen: That’s disappointing.
Steve: Well, actually the true version of it is that a friend of ours whose last name is Spurbur which Spurbury, Vermont is named after. So, you know—its come full circle?
Kevin: We do have a significant bear theme that floats around for some reason.
Steve: We like bears and we like twins.
Kevin: Its true.
Steve: We likes putting bears and identical twins in our movies.
Jasen: So last night at the screening of Super Troopers 2 you said that you wrote about 35 drafts of the script. How does that work, writing a script with five guys? What does the process look like?
Jay: We have one person who runs point on the script. The initial three to four drafts we each write our own 20 page section of it, and then we give it to that person and they kind of unify it and they kind of deal with the notes for the next 32 drafts.
Jasen: So Kevin and Steve, you have the most broad range of characters across the Broken Lizard filmography. Which characters do you feel best represents who you are in real life compared to the characters you play?
Kevin: They would say that Farva is like me in real life, but its not at all.
Steve: I question your judgement if your talking about his range. Its all just variations of him. Landfill, Landfill 2, Farva, its all just the same guy. It’s the amount of gum he’s got in his mouth, that’s where…
Erik Stolhanske: What about Lars in Club Dread?
Jasen: Yeah, that’s kinda where I was going with this.
Kevin: I got the girl, I was good looking, I was tan…
Erik: Yeah that was a real stretch.
Jay: He wont touch anybody, he wont give us massages….
Kevin: But that’s more of the real me though, don’t you guys think?
Jay: Yeah, Lars… we call that guy Devon Heffernan because he’s so smooth.
Jasen: Speaking of Club Dread, does that come from a place of a love for the horror genre? Are any of you guys a horror fan?
Jay: Paul Soter loves horror movies. He was always pushing for us to make fake ones. And we were big fans of An American Werewolf In London and Scream. So we thought why not do that. Lately I’ve seen Get Out, I mean, that’s a great movie in that genre.
Erik: There’s also a little gratuitous, I mean, we shot Super Troopers before that in Poughkeepsie, New York and we were talking about how it would be funny to make a movie where you went somewhere that was a really awesome place to go to shoot the movie because that’s where it was set. So we decided to come up with a move on a resort, in a kind of warm weather beach climate, and then you get to go there for three months. It was smart.
Steve: We pitched it to the studio and thought there was no way they were going to go for it. You know, out you guys on a tropical island and then chase around a killer and they went for it.
Jasen: Speaking of studios, you guys have had your films funded pretty much every way imaginable. This time you had crowdfunding. Is there any way that has been better? How has crowdfunding been different and is it something you would want to do again?
Jay: I think crowdfunding was the only way to get this movie made which is why we went down that route. I don’t know that you can realistically crowd fund multiple movies in your career. Now crowdfunding has transformed into people who crowdfund movies can actually get a piece from the back end of the movie. That was illegal when we did it. We had to give them t-shirts or the right to come to the screening.. Now if the movie makes a profit, they make a profit so that’s a little more fair and more interesting. Its something we might pursue.
Kevin: But the good thing about crowd funding is its amazing how much more direction and fit you have with the fans. It definitely achieves that goal of having you interacting directly with them and them being involved, and I thought that was the best part of it all.
Jay: It starts the marketing campaign when you’re raising money. So when you’re raising the money, you’re already marketing and selling the movie to 50,000 people. But in terms of control, the studios generally finance films because they like the script and they like the film makers so they stay out of the way if you’re at the right studio.
Kevin: But also they have the machinery so the thing is when we made the independent films we had to go sell them, and rely on the distributor to have the machinery to put it out. So sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. When you make a movie with Fox or Warner Bros., you have a world wide system and you get a good feeling that people are going to be able to see your movie. That’s the upside to the studio system.
Jasen: This is for Steve and Erik—which of these guys (points to Jay and Kevin) is the most demanding director?
Steve: Most demanding director? I don’t know that either of them have ever made any demands.
Erik: Kevin might be the kinda guy that maybe taps on his watch a little bit more than Jay.
Steve: Jay says talk faster. That’s the extent of his direction. Faster, faster, faster, or say do it again. He’ll say it for his own amusement. He’s a little bit more sadistic I think.
Jay: Like are you going to do it that way? Because we are actually recording you.
Erik: Sometimes Jay will say “What movie are you reading that for?” Jay’s bedside man…
Steve: “What movie do you think this is for?”
Erik: Kevins more of a gentle giant.
Steve: He’s more by the book.
Erik: Kevin is there to carry you.
Jasen: You’ve had a lot of great people act in your movies and contribute to your films. The Beatles had an unofficial fifth member, does Broken Lizard have an unofficial sixth member? Who’s your Billy Preston?
Steve: Well—our sixth member is our producer Rich Perello who’s awesome.
Erik: He’s been there since the beginning.
Jay: We are deep in the comedy business so we met a lot of comedians. Every time we make a movie we get a chance to meet with a new set of them. So I think its sort of a rotating outside cast you know? This time it got to be Rob Lowe and Will Sasso and Tyler Labine and Hayes MacArthur and next time it will be somebody else.
Jasen: I’ll end this on a light note, and save the rest of the serious questions for another time.
Jasen: Jay, what the best thing to eat in Chicago?
Jay: The best thing to eat in Chicago is probably.. you know, they have great hot dogs in that city and I think the Weiner Circle hot dog is pretty damn good.