Just when you thought it was safe to travel through the Aussie outback in a camper van or a beaten up Kombi van, Mick Taylor turns up with 'that' voice and 'that' laugh in a new six part series on SVOD service STAN.
Filmed on location in South Australia, but set in the Northern Territory, the TV version of Wolf Creek is very different from the movies.
While John Jarratt has made the jump to the small screen, this is not a cheesy 'made for TV' movie. Nor is it a pale imitation of the originals.
The story has been flipped and the hunter has become the hunted. It’s that aspect that helped secure Jarratt’s involvement.
“Greg Mclean (writer, director producer) rang me and said ‘I think I’ve sold Wolf Creek as a TV series’ and at first, I couldn’t see that work. I could see another movie, but a TV show?
I wasn’t keen at first, but then I got the scripts and they were amazing. They’re brilliant and the story holds up. And I’m not just saying this because I’m it, but I know it’s a fantastic piece of television”.
It’s eleven year since the release of the first Wolf Creek movie and three years since it’s follow up Wolf Creek 2. But it wasn’t hard for Jarratt to climb back into Mick Taylor’s skin.
“It’s really easy now. The first time doing Mick was really hard because I’d never done it. I’d worked out this character with the funny voice and the funny laugh and I thought that this was either going to be a really bad Warner Bros cartoon character or its going to be fantastic.
I don’t have to work too hard to get to Mick. I’ve done all the hard work in finding the character. I know the bike, I just get on it and ride”.
Unlike the movies, Mick Taylor is not the ‘star of the show’. The story focuses on Eve Thorogood, who hunts Taylor to avenge the deaths of her mother, father and younger brother. They meet their end in a violent and bloody way all before the opening credits roll.
“I think that opening sequence is as horrific as anything in the movies. Our horror fans get the chance to say ‘woo’. But those who aren’t horror fans, can at least close their eyes through that and wait for the thriller to unroll.
It’s like that because there’s six hours of television and we had to make it interesting. It’s not like a movie, where you only have to fill up 90-minutes. They very cleverly had Eve go on a vendetta and she IS the lead character, chasing this ‘will of the wisp’, which is my character”
Eve Thorogood is played by 24-year-old Lucy Fry, a Queenslander, who is already carving out a career in the US.
“I was really lucky that I'd already worked with Greg (McLean) doing a film that he wrote and directed. It was intense and emotional. So, when this role came up, I think he knew that this was something I could do.
I’ve always wanted to work more in Australia, but for some reason, things opened up to me in the US a bit more than they did here.
When I found out about this, I was really excited. I’ve watched the first and second Wolf Creeks and I was like ‘oh my gosh, I get to be part of this franchise. This amazing and terrifying Australian story. AND work with John, which was really exciting”.
When it was intense, John would be singing creepy songs to me and getting us prepared for the scene. When it was a more relaxed day, we’d be laughing and having good times. But on those intense days, it was like a Halloween party”.
The pair shares a mutual appreciation of each other. Jarratt is equally effusive about sharing the screen with Fry and the other actors.
“Lucy is brilliant in it. I’ve got a really good actor in Lucy working with me and it makes for some very intense, very exciting television.
Lucy is a fantastic actor. I keep saying ‘watch out Cate, here comes Lucy’. And Dustin Clare is fantastic too. The actors are all wonderful and the cinematography is gorgeous, it’s just to die for”.
Visually, Wolf Creek loses nothing in being on the small screen. If it was a risk for STAN to commission the series, then it’s a risk that should pay off handsomely.
As for the future, John has high hopes for the Wolf Creek franchise.
“We’ve got an idea for Wolf Creek 3. We’ve got a really good idea for it. But it depends. We may do another one for STAN. If it rates its bits off, then we’ll do another one.
And if it doesn’t, we’ll go and do Wolf Creek 3. Or we might do both, I don’t know”.
Wolf Creek premieres Thursday May 12 with all six episodes available to stream on Stan.