In the first Wolf Creek movie John Jarratt's laconic, grinning pig shooter Mick Taylor didn't turn up until about the 45 minute mark. The stranded backpackers, and audiences, soon realised he's evil -- but the serial killer's back story and motivations were never explained.
Wolf Creek 2 will fill in those gaps as it seeks to surprise, scare and amuse audiences, according to the director and co-writer Greg Mclean. “We're not treading over old ground,” he tells SBS Film from the Melbourne editing suite where he's cutting the film after a seven-week shoot in South Australia.
“We look much more into Mick's personality, who's an enjoyable character in many ways. He's a racist, homophobic, sexist and xenophobic maniac but he considers himself to be very Australian and very patriotic, so much so that he thinks that anyone who comes over here doesn't deserve to live.
“I think it will be genuinely surprising as the plot goes to a few very strange and interesting places. We didn't want to do a stalk-and-slash movie; it's a thriller more than anything else, with a lot of humour.”
The sequel follows Taylor as he encounters three backpackers, a Pom and two Germans, played by Ryan Corr, Shannon Ashlyn and Philippe Klaus in the Outback. Corr starred alongside Ryan Kwanten and Sarah Snook in Not Suitable For Children and it's the film debuts of Ashlyn and Klaus, who both featured in the ABC-TV miniseries Devil's Dust. Arclight pre-sold the film to eOne in Canada and the UK and to Scandinavia, Turkey, Middle East, Malaysia and Poland. Roadshow will distribute in Australia; the date isn't set yet but will be late 2013 or early 2014. The producers intend to pursue a US deal when they can show potential buyers a print in June/July.
Mclean and horror novelist Aaron Sterns wrote the screenplay. Tying in with the film's release Sterns and Mclean are writing two Wolf Creek novels, both prequels, Mclean says four more books are planned, released in pairs to coincide either with further sequels or long-form TV dramas.
When he's finished with that film he will focus on four projects to which he's attached either as director, producer or executive producer. Two years ago he formed Wolf Creek Pictures to nurture emerging directors and produce genre movies for international markets. In that vein he's teaming up with Odin's Eye Productions' Michael Favelle to co-produce Territorial, a hybrid Western/horror/thriller/action film from writer-director Matthew Holmes. The plan is to shoot in Victoria in September.
Mclean is collaborating with writer-director Abe Forsythe on an untitled black comedy set around the 2005 Cronulla riots in Sydney; it'll be Forsythe's second turn as director following the 2003 Ned Kelly comedy-Western Ned.
He'll executive produce and has written the screenplay of One Foot Wrong, a horror movie about a five-year-old girl who makes friends and communicates with inanimate objects like trees and spoons. Glendyn Ivin will direct, based on a novel by Sophie Laguna, and the producers are Bianca Martino, Greg's partner, and Ayisha Davies.
He's attached to direct Black Echoes, the saga of a bunch of tourists who get more than they bargained for when they enter a Viet Cong tunnel in the Vietnam countryside, scripted by Shayne Armstrong and Shane Krause and produced by Murray Pope and Michael Robertson.
Another venture is the graphic novel Sebastian Hawks: Creature Hunter, which he created, written by Tristan Jones and illustrated by Chris DiBari, which raised $37,643 via crowdfunding site Pozible. It will be published by Gestalt in mid-2014 and he believes the concept of a swashbuckling hero who's recruited by Queen Victoria in 1900 to hunt down mythical creatures lends itself to being turned into a big budget movie.
(Image credit: Mark Rogers)