Q&A: Director Lowell Dean on “WOLFCOP” and… “WOLFCOP IN SPACE”?!Movies/TV,News Ken W. Hanley
With a title like WOLFCOP, you’re either in or you’re out. Luckily for fans who enjoy their horror with a side of super-gory camp, WOLFCOP goes above and beyond to deliver for those who join his pack of growing international fans. And at the forefront of the joke is WOLFCOP writer/director Lowell Dean, whose love for the character and the concept bleeds through every frame of the film… and sometimes bleeds all over the sets as well. On the eve of WOLFCOP’s U.S. home video release, FANGORIA caught up with Dean to talk WOLFCOP, WOLFCOP 2 and… WOLFCOP IN SPACE?!…
FANGORIA: How’s everything going now that WOLFCOP is about to finally come out in the U.S.?
LOWELL DEAN: It’s good! I’m actually working on WOLFCOP 2 as we speak.
FANGORIA: That’s great. WOLFCOP is one hell of a film to come out of the gate with. What did you find most rewarding about WOLFCOP, as a director?
DEAN: I guess it would be getting to direct my own script. It’s pretty hard and rare lately go get the opportunity to direct a feature film, and to get to do that with a story that was my own was pretty exciting. It’s so fun to make something that had my voice and the comedy that I wanted to make.
FANGORIA: Were you surprised that, through all the years of the genre’s existence, there has never been a werewolf cop movie before?
DEAN: I was very surprised, actually. When I first had the idea for WOLFCOP, I was like, “This had to have been done.” In the horror genre, there’s been a million incarnations of everything, but I couldn’t find anything similar to what WOLFCOP was, so I just kept it quiet, didn’t tell anybody and thought, “This could be cool.” And it’s cool to see people reacting in the same way that my brain did when I first came up with the character.
FANGORIA: WOLFCOP definitely falls heavily on the comedy side of the horror-comedy fence. Was there ever a period where you considered approaching the concept completely straight-faced to mine the humor that way or was it always something with an explicitly comedy edge?
DEAN: I definitely wanted WOLFCOP to be a horror comedy vehicle, and to an extent, it’s played straight since we don’t overly try to make it slapstick. I also wanted WOLFCOP to be like a comic book character, too, that you could take seriously to an extent. When I saw ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER, I thought it was a hilarious idea, but when I saw the movie, I thought it took itself a little too seriously. It’s definitely a tough balance to find, and I can say from my WOLFCOP experience that it’s also not something that works all the time. Sometimes, people think you’re being funny when you’re actually being serious, but it’s also a fun tightwalk to walk.
FANGORIA: What was it like to cast WOLFCOP? Did you have any reservations about finding an actor who could nail the wolf side as well as the cop side of the character?
DEAN: I actually wrote this role for Leo Fafard to play both roles, and that was because in just getting to know him, he does have that personality in him a little bit. He’s a fun, dark, crazy guy. He actually played a werewolf for me in a music video once, and ever since that moment, I was like, “You’re really good at playing a monster.” And he’s so interesting as a person and a monster that I didn’t want anyone else playing a werewolf side so that I could get both of those sides of his personality.
As for the rest of the cast, it was either that you were on board or that you weren’t. WOLFCOP was a pretty small movie, and I think there could have been a lot of people that, had we approached them with the script, would have laughed us out of reality and said, “I’m not going to do something called WOLFCOP.” I think anyone who got on board knew what we were doing, and we wanted to give them the opportunity to do something fun with that concept.
FANGORIA: As a writer, was it fun to interweave the procedural archetype with werewolf mythology?
DEAN: Yeah! I geeked out pretty hard when I was writing WOLFCOP. I have a pretty good history with werewolf films and I kind of felt like I had a cross to bear since werewolf films have been ignored lately, at least from what I’ve been seeing. I don’t think that there’s enough werewolf films and that the character has not been given enough glory; even the practical FX of werewolf films have not been given enough glory.
I definitely came into WOLFCOP with a mission, and as I was writing WOLFCOP, I researched the curse of the werewolf and thought how much fun it would be to establish our own mythology and mix it with what existed. I took the werewolf aspect of the character much more seriously than the cop. The cop side was easy to write, and kind of wrote itself sometimes.
FANGORIA: I like some of the more subversive elements of the film as well, especially with the arc of the sidekick character. Was there anything else you specifically wanted to avoid or change up from the typical creature feature approach?
DEAN: I think we really wanted to embrace our rating and our genre, so we really didn’t shy away in terms of anything. What I really wanted was a really dark, really messed-up superhero film. You’ll see Spider-Man kiss Mary Jane, but you’ll never see them have sex, so it’s cool to have this sort-of superhero rip apart bad guys and then go have sex with the leading lady. It’s also fun to take things a little bit too far.
FANGORIA: You mentioned before that you’re developing WOLFCOP 2. Are you going to push the envelope even further the second time around? Should fans expect WOLFCOP to go the route of other atypical cop movies, like going into the big city or another locale?
DEAN: I think that there are a lot of opportunities for WOLFCOP, and not just in WOLFCOP 2. I hope there are other sequels so we can take him in all kinds of crazy directions, since not only do we have a world of werewolf ideas but a world of cop cliches as well, like WOLFCOP going into the big city, or going to another country, or being partnered with someone else.
As for the sequel, I can say he does leave town, but he does spend a lot of time in White Haven, his original town, and we definitely take things further. I feel that the first one was just warming up, and I’ve seen a lot of reviews and a lot of the reactions that people had, and I think I know where the next movie needs to go to take things up a notch.
FANGORIA: As a writer-director, are you beholden to the mythology that you’ve built up in WOLFCOP for the sequels, or would you be willing to set it aside to serve your interest in the direction of the character?
DEAN: I think you should follow your own rules, in that if you create a rule, you should be true to them. With that being said, you also need to service the audience. You don’t make a movie like WOLFCOP to play in an art house theater. WOLFCOP is a movie made for the fans, so if fans scream out for a certain direction for WOLFCOP, I need to take that seriously because I want them on board. I want to make a movie that surprises people but also will give them what they want.
FANGORIA: Is there any direction you specifically would rather not see WOLFCOP go, or is there anything from either werewolf or cop films you’d like to stay away from?
DEAN: That’s a really good question. I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. I mean, if there’s enough rationale and heart put behind it, there’s a lot of directions we could go. In fact, I remember somebody said, “Oh, we should go in a scenario like JASON X and MOONRAKER and have WOLFCOP go into space.” My first reaction was, “That’s stupid.” I spent a few days thinking about it and then after the weekend, I was like, “Man, that could be a really cool movie, and it could be really funny because on the moon, WOLFCOP could be a werewolf all the time.”
So I wouldn’t want to do that in the first 2 or 3 movies, but done with enough heart, imagination and grit, we could throw that character into a lot of places, and I think that’s great. Look at all of the heroic characters, like Batman and Superman, and they’ve been everywhere. So hopefully, WOLFCOP will have some years ahead of him.
Lowell Dean’s WOLFCOP is now on DVD/Blu-ray from Image Entertainment.