As Mick Taylor, John Jarratt gave a truly terrifying performance in 2005’s Wolf Creek. With his thirst for tourists still in full force, Mick returns in this year’s Wolf Creek 2. As well as speaking to writer/director Greg McLean, we got to speak to the man behind the monster, John Jarratt, about his inspiration for the character, horror icons, people’s perceptions of him, and much more. The full interview will appear in an upcoming issue of Starburst, but here’s something to whet your appetite in the meantime.
Starburst: The sequel starts with a lot of action, but the second half of the movie saw more of Mick’s personality come through in terms of dialogue and interaction. Was that a welcome addition for yourself as an actor?
John Jarratt: In the first one, I was only in 50% of the movie; the monster was slowly let out of the cage. Now he’s out of the cage, so you get him from the get-go. I had a lot more to do. We worked really hard on our script. Greg got up to about a third or fourth draft, then I worked with him for about three or four years on it. We explored and found things. We wanted it to be as good, if not better, than the first one. So we had plenty of time to figure out something interesting to do.
In terms of the perception of yourself as an actor and a person, any worries about how that character will paint you in people’s eyes?
Well small-minded producers are the only ones that piss me off because they think “Bring John Jarratt in? No, no, they’ll think it’s Mick Taylor.” That’s a bit of a drawback for me. It’s something of a double-edged sword, where I’ve done the character so well that people don’t want to employ me as anything else. So that’s a bit of a worry. But I’ve overcome that by making my own movies and putting myself in them and directing them.
Given the character’s twisted sense of national pride, how differently do people respond to Mick Taylor in Australia compared to the international markets?
They kind of love him in a macabre-kinda-hating way. The men love the character, which is a bit of a worry when you think about it. And the women are scared shitless about the guy and are not really fond of him at all… which probably says a lot about men and women.
Have any suggestions come up in the two films that you thought were too much or a no-no for you?
Well we have a lot of fun making it, because it’s not real and we get a bit of a giggle out of things. Greg and I have what we call Beavis and Butthead moments. Greg said, when I was walking through those tunnels, sing The Hills are Alive with Screaming or something, and I’d go “huh-huh-huh-huh”, which means it was Beavis and Butthead, it’s too much, it’s not gonna work. So we have our Beavis and Butthead barometer.
Going forward, do you see yourself happy to return as Mick and what else do you have lined up in the future?
If Wolf Creek 2’s successful, we’ll do a Wolf Creek 3. So as long as the general public keep their pirating fingers off the film and buy something, it’ll be okay. What I’ve got coming up? I’ve just directed and acted in a film called StalkHer. It’s kind of a cross between Misery and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and it’s set in a room at night with two people. The by-line is “He chased her… until… she caught him.” That’ll be out in Australia probably in October.
Wolf Creek 2 is currently awaiting a UK release date. Expect to see the full interview with John, not to mention one with writer/director Greg McLean, and a review of the movie in an upcoming issue of Starburst Magazine. You can also find an abridged version of our Greg McLean interview here.
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