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Wolfcop’s writer-director Lowell Dean talks to Live for Films

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Director Lowell Dean, left, talks to Leo Fafard and Sarah Lind

Director Lowell Dean, left, talks to Leo Fafard and Sarah Lind

When burnt-out beat cop Lou Garou walks into the middle of a sacrifice in the woods one night he gets cursed to become a werewolf. He awakes the next day to find that when it comes to being a cop in Woodhaven, a lycanthropic curse may actually be a blessing. Crime is out of control in his small burg and claws, fangs and super strength are going to come in very handy.

Wolfcop is a cracking horror comedy that is out on DVD, Blu-Ray and download in the UK on the 13th of October. You can read my review here. I recently caught up with its writer and director Lowell Dean to talk werewolves, wolf cock and Freddy Krueger.

 

Hello! Is that Lowell? I’m Alan from Live for Films.

Yeah. Hey, man. How are you?

 

Yeah. I’m good, thanks. So how did the film happen? You won a competition, right?

Basically what we did was, I wrote the script and we shot a concept trailer, and we were just trying to find ways to finance it, you know? Indie style. However the heck people make movies anymore!

While we were looking for strategies to finance it we came across the CineCoup Film Accelerator. It’s a contest. The way I’d explain it is it’s basically like American Idol, where anyone could submit any trailer they’d made, then over the months, people, through social media, and industry professionals would pick a winner.

So we entered because we already had a trailer, so we were ready to go, and the winner got a budget of a million dollars and a guaranteed theatrical release in Canada. Which never happens in Canada!

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Where did the idea come from? How did Wolfcop come to be?

I had just finished directing my first feature, and for my next one I wanted to write it too. I had a bunch of, like, half-baked ideas and I threw ’em all in a pot. I really wanted to do a cop movie, and I really wanted to do a werewolf movie, and I couldn’t decide between the two.

I ended up just starting to mash my ideas together, and the visual of “Wolfcop” was so funny to me that I was just lying in bed that night thinking “What would he do? What would he look like? Would he be solving crimes? Would he have fangs?” You know? And it all just came from there.

 

I think you’ve created an iconic transformation scene. How much work went into creating what is the most pivotal sequence in a werewolf movie?

A lot of work! We knew… Emerson Ziffle, my effects artist, and I knew that werewolf movies are judged on their effects more than anything. SO before there was even a finished script, we had a meeting about what we wanted to see, and what we could create, what was possible on a very low budget, right?

We both looked at American Werewolf as a touchstone. I think it still, to this day, holds up. Emerson wanted to do something really painful. He wanted to do something where it would be like ripping off your own skin, and I wanted to do something kind of cheeky! I thought to myself, “You know, I’ve never seen a penis transform. So let’s do that!” Because you never see it, but it has to happen, right?!

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Well, yeah! That was going to be my next question: Whose idea was it to have Lou transform dick first?!

Yeah! Well, I thought it’d get people’s attention, firstly, and I really love it when horror movies take something from the norm and then upset it. So I was hoping that any time a guy went to a urinal after seeing the movie, that he would do a double take!

 

How did you go about casting Lou?

Uh… Lou, Leo Fafard, is a not primarily an actor. Before this, he’d primarily worked on films as an Electric, actually. He’s got a great look to him, and an intensity. He had studied acting at University, but when he started working in film he ended up behind the scenes. He still wanted to be an actor – he still had that about him. So I was doing a music video that had a werewolf in it, and somebody recommended him to me.

He came in, Emerson and his team made him up as he werewolf, and I think seeing him like that was what first inspired me to do a werewolf movie. So it was written for him.

Apart from American Werewolf, do you have any other favourite werewolf movies that influenced Wolfcop?

I really like Teen Wolf… and Ginger Snaps! In a weird way… this movie is as inspired by those films as it is superhero films. I’m a big superhero nerd, so I wanted to make a really twisted, messed up superhero film. So Wolfcop is like my love letter to American Werewolf, Teen Wolf and superhero origin stories.

 

Were there any werewolf tropes that you wanted to avoid, or any you wanted to make sure you definitely included?

The only one I really wanted to avoid was the bite. That’s just because… I mean, honestly, in the first draft there was a bite. But the more I researched the history of the werewolf, and especially early Hollywood werewolves – it was always a curse. There’s something so much more romantic and… it’s not that I dislike the bite – I just think it’s a bit played out right now.

 

There’s a lot of humour in the film as well. What’s the secret to juggling horror and comedy?

I still don’t feel like I know! It’s really hard. Still, when I watch the film today, I’m like “That could have been funnier, and that could have been scarier”. I think it’s a learning curve and I think you just have to go with your instinct and your heart.

There were times when we were shooting… I felt like it was my duty, as director, to regulate how we walked the tightrope of comedy and horror. The actors might have been being too funny in a scene, or they might have been too straight. When in doubt, we just did two different takes of everything.

 

wolfcop-3Oh! So is there literally a funny version and a scary version of every single scene?

I totally think you could make a straight up scary version of Wolfcop, and a full-on comedy version with what we got.

 

That would be a great Special Edition – to watch it as a comedy, or as a horror movie.

Yeah, it would! That’d be a lotta work for somebody though! Maybe in ten years, or something!

 

Are you a horror fan in general?

I love horror. All my role models are people like Sam Raimi, Guillermo del Toro, Hitchcock – I love suspense, and I love messing with people. I think the horror genre produces a good visceral reaction, and I also think horror fans are some of the best fans in the world. They’re very embracing of films. They’re less fickle, and just hungry for content.

 


How are you following up Wolfcop? Will there be a sequel?

Yes. This is going to be a sequel. I’m writing it as we speak. I really think… hope, that… anyone who liked the first one is really going to like the second one. I’m taking the opportunity to go for broke and really improve the Wolfcop universe.

 

Do you have a title yet? What about “Wolfcop 2: Electric Boog-AWOOOH!”?

Oh my God, that’s amazing! [laughing]

 

You can have that one.

Right now, we’re just Wolfcop 2, or Wolfcop Unleashed.

 

Wolfcop Redemption?

I don’t think he’ll ever get redemption! Right now I see it as the Empire Strikes Back of Wolfcop. There’ll still be comedy, but I just wanna really kick the shit out of Wolfcop in this one.

 

If you could write and direct the remake of any film, which would it be and why?

That’s a tough one. I… That’s a really tough question. There’s a couple of films that I love from my childhood: Superman and Die Hard. I’d to remake them, because they’re perfect films, but I think the fun of playing in those worlds would be really great.

 

If you were to be killed by and movie monster, which one would it be, and what would your last words be?

That’s a good one… [thinking] I think it’s be fun to get killed by Freddy. Just because… it’s not gonna be a conventional death…

 

You’re guaranteed a crowd pleaser, right?

Yeah, some really insane visuals. My last words would be… “Let’s do this!”

 

Great. Well thank you very much for taking the time to talk to me, and I’m really looking forward to Wolfcop 2.

No, thank you. Yeah, it’s gonna be bigger, dirtier and hairier!

 

I very much hope so! Thanks! Bye!

 

Bye!

 

 

Great big hairy thanks to Lowell for a cool chat, and Sandra Kusba at Jive Communications for hooking me up.

Wolfcop is out on DVD, Blu-Ray and download in the UK on the 13th of October.

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