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Interview: Actor John Jarratt talks ‘Wolf Creek 2’

John Jarratt in 'Wolf Creek 2'
John Jarratt in 'Wolf Creek 2'
Courtesy of RLJ Entertainment

Australian actor John Jarratt reprises his role as the sadistic, serial killer, Mick Taylor, in the horror sequel, “Wolf Creek 2,” which releases to VOD on April 18. The film will then open in limited theaters on May 16.

It’s been eight years since the release of the first “Wolf Creek” film. This time, the story focuses solely on Mick Taylor keeping the obnoxious tourists out of his area.

Jarratt talks about reprising his role eight years after the first film and more in this exclusive interview with the Chico Movie Examiner. Check it out below.

David Wangberg: I wanted to go back, actually. Before we get to “Wolf Creek 2,” I wanted to talk about [the first] “Wolf Creek.” When you finished filming it, did you ever think that the world would see Mick Taylor again?

John Jarratt: I did, when the film was successful, and a year later. It just took a hell of a long time to get back up and onto the screen again.

DW: Since it had been a long time from the first movie, did you have to go back and see how you did it before, or did you approach it like you had never done it before?

JJ: Oh, no. I approached it like I certainly did it before. It was like I had to get on the same bike and ride it. But I was attached to it. I’m kind of the “Wolf Creek” team, if you like, and I had a lot to do with the development of the script, and I was a big part of moving forward toward “Wolf Creek 2,” so it wasn’t like I just turned up. It was just an ongoing process that took eight years, unfortunately. [laughs]

DW: And in this one, you’re the central character in this one, as opposed to the first one, where you were just the villain. Was it more of a challenge to do this than the first movie, since you’re more of a central character?

JJ: Well, in the first movie, I was a little apprehensive, because I didn’t know if it was going to work or not. I knew the script was good, and once I started working, I realized I was in good hands after everyone was doing a great job. But you don’t know if a film’s going to be great until it’s out there. If I knew how to make a great film, I’d make one every day, and I’d be extremely rich.

I kind of had to [see if it would work], and it did work. My instincts were good, and so the second time around, I just jumped back into his skin and off we went. But in the first one, the monster didn’t come out of the page until halfway through the film. And that’s because it’s a set up, and it’s a whole different ball game. It’d be a waste of time to do that in the second one, because everyone knows who he is. And so you get Mick Taylor from the get-go, so there’s 90 minutes of him. And people say he felt funnier this time around, but I don’t think so. I just think he’s weird from one end to the other, and he’s quite funny in the first one. Yeah, that’s the difference, I suppose.

DW: Yeah, you are more charismatic in this one, but you’re still pretty creepy. When I watch you in this movie and in the first one, I kind of do get creeped out. When you watch yourself in this movie, do you get creeped out by your own performance?

JJ: Do I get freaked out? Sometimes, yeah. We’d see a little rough cut, and the sequence where I do the German guy, I’m thinking, “Oh, my god, did I do that?” It’s a little bit overwhelming sometimes, because I shared Mick’s skin, and then I’m watching this thing as John Jarrett. And I think, “Well, I must be doing a good job if I’m freaking myself out.

DW: When people run into you on the street, do they approach you like every other actor, or are there some that kind of fear away from you, because they’ve seen you in “Wolf Creek?”

JJ: It’s strange, because the first year after [the first] “Wolf Creek,” women would jump behind their boyfriends and husbands, and then they kind of got over that. They’re not fearful [anymore]; they’re more like, “Oh, I love ‘Wolf Creek’” and “Do the laugh” and that sort of stuff. In Australia, it’s very iconic and every second day for the last nine years, I’ve been approached, and it’s usually about “Wolf Creek.” And now that it’s come out again in Australia, there’s a lot more people freaked out about it at the moment, because it’s fresh.

DW: There’s a scene in “Wolf Creek 2” where Mick tells Paul: “The first rule of being in the outback is you never stop.” What’s the first rule of portraying a character like Mick?

JJ: First rule? [laughs]

DW: Yeah, first rule or first step.

JJ: The first rule is to make him real, I suppose. Is that the nature of your question? I’m not quite getting it.

DW: Yeah, what’s the first step of playing him and making him creepy and making him crazy and all that?

JJ: Oh, well, I don’t make him creepy. Mick doesn’t think he’s creepy. He jus think that he’s an outback hunter. And all of his life, he’s killed pigs and kangaroos and shot all of this game. And then these backpacker fa***ts come into his realm, and he decides to shoot them because they’re vermin, and they’re a hell of a lot more fun, you know? It’s not like a long way out of the psyche of human behavior, when you think of the Ku Klux Klan, and what German people – so-called innocent, normal German people – did to Jewish people, it’s not a long way from what happens in the world.

DW: I also watched you in “Shiver,” and you played a serial killer in there as well. And that was based on a book, and “Wolf Creek” is somewhat inspired by true events. So, knowing that there’s some truth behind “Wolf Creek,” is it a little bit more difficult to get into the film because this might have actually happened?

JJ: Oh, it does happen – everywhere. Mick’s fictitious. It’s based on two serial killers called Ivan Milat and [Bradley] Murdoch. We pitched a few of their ideas, but it’s not those characters. I didn’t even think of that, when I built the character. He’s a fictitious character as far as I’m concerned. It’s based on true events, but it’s not a true event.

DW: So, the character himself didn’t exist. You drew from people who did exist, but this actual character did not exist?

JJ: Yeah, it does exist. I built the character, and he’s an impersonation of my dad, who – I will quickly say – was not an evil psychopath. Mick wasn’t a psychopath; he was basically an impersonation of my dad with psychopath added to the mix. My dad was a larger than life bloke who lived in the outback. I was brought up out there as a kid.

DW: A lot of the horror films from the 70s and 80s have been remade today, like “The Last House on the Left” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Do you think in about 20 years, maybe 30 years, we’ll see a completely different version of “Wolf Creek?”

JJ: Well, it’s every chance they’re making that next again, aren’t they? We don’t know. Who knows, [maybe] “Son of Mick” – his bas**** child? Who knows, mate? Who knows?

This concludes the interview, but the Chico Movie Examiner would like to thank John Jarratt for taking the time to talk about “Wolf Creek 2.”

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