It’s been almost a year since we dropped our review of Lowell Dean’s riotous WolfCop and tomorrow the bad beast is finally shredding its way onto home video and VOD. The Canadian production is more than just a wicked name, it’s an excellent exploitation homage with retro-80s synths and hammy acting that also works really well as an actual cop movie, in which the lone wolf (ahem) policeman takes on small town corruption.
That lone wolf would be Lou Garou, played by Saskatchewan’s renaissance man Leo Fafard. He drinks, he growls, he welds Wolf Cruisers in his garage! I recently spoke with Leo and he dished out the ins and outs of playing WolfCop, the role’s difficulties, and more. Let ‘er rip…
(and come back tomorrow for our interview with WolfCop writer/director Lowell Dean).
The first question I have to ask you is, what’s it like being WolfCop?
It’s fucking awesome, what do you mean “what’s it like”? It’s the shit.
Good Answer. How did you get involved with the project?
A couple years ago I was shooting a music video for a local band in Saskatchewan called Rah Rah. I played a werewolf in their video for this song called “Henry.” Lowell (Dean) was the director and by the end of the shoot he liked what I did so he asked me would I like to be involved with a project he was writing called Wolfcop. It took about half a second to answer that one. “A movie called Wolfcop and you want me to play the wolf?” Done.
Such a no brainer. What was the most difficult part of the role?
A lot of people think it was getting in and out of all the makeup. But let me tell you, Emersen Ziffle, the makeup artist, is so much fun to hang around with. He’s so talented and good at his job. That part wasn’t as nearly hard as you think. For one thing, he would start putting all the stuff on me and I’d doze off, he’d wake me up an hour later. So the most difficult part of playing Wolfcop would have to be playing a cop.
I’ve never really gotten along with cops all that well. I’ve never really had anything to do with them unless I was running my ass off from them. Lou is a downright drunken, kind of cast off, so that’s what kind of got me into the role.
When Lou transforms, his whole attitude and movements change as well. How did you approach playing the cop versus playing the wolf?
Very little as far as the direction. Lowell really gave me the reins on that. As far as the transformation scenes, they were kind of difficult. You had to get yourself in the mindset of someone who is in excruciating, body-twisting pain. To portray that and the fact that he’s losing his humanity and becoming a beast, a savage as his skin falls off…it’s traumatizing enough. There was some challenge there. I grew up in northern Saskatchewan in the wilderness, so I spent a lot of time observing nature and animals. It was really just a manner of getting back to a more basic being. More instinctual, finding that aspect of yourself. If I didn’t have the foreshadowing of societal pressure and how you’re supposed to move through society, what’s the most efficient way? That’s what animals do. They behave in the most efficient, most instinctual sort of way. So it was that sort of idea.
The film’s obviously really out there. Was there ever a moment on set where it felt like you were going overboard?
(Laughs) Every moment. What this movie had to rely on was Lowell’s skill and his vision. He’s very talented and very professional so it’s easy to put your trust in his hands. He knows what he wants and he knows when to take a break. I mean, we shot a lot of stuff that was over the top and he went into it knowing what he wanted to get out of it and what he wanted to do with it. We didn’t have much rehearsal time, you know. This movie didn’t have much money. So we really hit the ground running every time we stepped on the set. Lowell did take the time to shoot scenes a couple of different ways to get what he wanted. It’s over-the-top and campy, but it’s still marketable. And we just let loose to see where we could take it. So yeah I thought we were going over-the-top a few times but I had faith in Lowell and knew he’d capture what he needed.
I talked to him and he mentioned that you helped weld the Wolf Cruiser together.
Yeah! I spent a lot of years as a welder so I had all the equipment. I have a small welding shop in my garage so I’m always making stuff. And I’ve been working on vehicles as a backyard mechanic my whole life. So we looked at some pictures, broke out our pencils and sketched some stuff out. I patched up the car a little bit and then we decided “we need more of this or less of this.” Then Lowell said “I want you to do this and this, rip the doors off, blah blah blah.” We really did develop it together and then I just took it to the shop and I cut the fucker up.
Give me one crazy story from the set.
Me and another local actor were sharing a fight scene during the climax when I’m on one of the final killing scenes. So we’re out in the bush and he shoots me with a shotgun and has the drop on me and whatnot. We did a lot of blocking and when it comes time to shoot it we know what we’re doing and what we want. In the initial shot when I attack Josh (Strait), it starts with him hitting me in the face with the butt of the shotgun and then I sort of push him against a tree. We started into this fight scene and really went at it. And Lowell at this time had a sprained ankle and was walking with a cane. He’s behind the monitor about 40 feet away and I guess he wobbled up had yelled “cut”, but neither of us heard him. So we keep going at it. Throwing punches and slashing and I’ve got him up against the tree, Josh’s squirming around and tossing himself on the ground and Lowell has called “cut” about four times. Finally he just goes “okay keep going! Keep going!” Me and Josh look at each other and we’ve been going for about three minutes. I look at Lowell and he’s just got this look of shock on his face. It was awesome.
It’s early in production, but is there anything you can tell us about Wolfcop 2?
I don’t know what I can get away with telling you, so I’ll just say this: bigger and badder. If you thought the first one was over-the-top, buckle your seat belts.
Very good to hear! Congratualtions again on the film and thanks so much for talking to me.
No, thank you!