Wolf Creek: The Series has finally hit the UK, bringing John Jarratt’s terrifying Mick Taylor back to our screens with a brand new twist. This time, Mick’s the hunted, not the hunter.
The show is the story of Eve (Vampire Academy‘s Lucy Fry), who survives an encounter with the Outback’s deadliest creature and sets out to avenge the murder of her family.
“With the first movie it was like letting the monster out of the cage,” explains Jarratt. “The second movie was ‘The monster is out of the cage,’ and this is ‘Let’s chase the monster!’ We can’t just do the same old boring piece of crap, you know what I mean? We’ve got to change the tune and the dance steps occasionally to keep it interesting. It’s turned it into more of a psychological thriller.
“Every time you see Mick the horror fans get their little bag of lollies throughout the series, but it’s basically about Eve, Lucy’s character, chasing me all over the Outback. And it’s a great premise; it’s like Unforgiven but a little scarier and with a similar climax, only Lucy Fry plays Clint Eastwood.”
It’s the third outing for Jarratt as Mick Taylor, and he tells us that he wasn’t entirely sure that TV was the best route to take when Wolf Creek writer-director Greg McLean called him up.
“I said ‘It’s getting a bit gratuitous now, mate, isn’t it?’ And I said I couldn’t see it, honestly,” he remembers. “Not that I’m nervous, it’s quite simple. If he can prove to me that it’s good then I’ll do it and if he can’t then I won’t, so there’s nothing to be nervous about, really. And they sent me the scripts, and mate, the scripts were fantastic. We shot like six little feature films with extraordinary production value; it’s up there with any television on the planet. So I ended up a very happy boy.”
While the second film placed Mick very much front and centre, the series will focus more on the character of Eve. As Jarratt said, she’s the Clint Eastwood-in-Unforgiven character, and he tells us that his co-star most definitely has the chops to pull that off.
“We had plenty of opportunity in the make up bus to get to know each other, and it’s extraordinary, I watched her more than acted with her, I just liked watching her do her thing,” he enthuses. “I’m not the kind of guy that sits in a Winnebago all day looking in the mirror, I get bored, so I go on set, and it was great just to watch her do her scenes. When I met her I thought, ‘Oh my God, I don’t know whether she’s going to be able to cut it, you know?’ It was such a powerful character she was about to play, and she’s kind of butterfly-ish, if you know what I mean, like ‘Hi! Great to meet you!’
“And then you stick the clapperboard in and go clack and this other thing comes out. She’s got a lot of depth and goes straight there. She’s a really good actor, really good. I say ‘Look out Cate, here comes Lucy.’ I think she’s that good.”
The series has already aired with great success in Australia and Jarratt tells us that they’re currently putting together a case for a second season, so we had to ask: what is it about Mick Taylor that keeps audiences coming back?
“I think the fact that the audience can’t help liking him, especially people who love the genre,” he explains. “And the fact that you’re sitting there, liking someone who’s got a policeman by the leg and breaking it and then burning him, and you find yourself laughing, and you think ‘Oh my god, I’m laughing at this?’ You start laughing at something that he says and you think, this is not funny! So it’s that thing that you just can’t help liking the guy but in a crazy kind of way. And we know that and that’s what we’re working on, and that’s what keeps it intriguing. And they want me to cop it, and get slightly disappointed that he doesn’t. Yeah, I think that’s what keeps it intriguing.
“He doesn’t care if he dies, he just doesn’t want it to go slowly. I don’t think he’s worried about death, if it happens, it happens. ‘Ah well, it’s been cool so far,’ but he’s not really frightened of anything.”
It might be difficult to scare Mick, but Jarratt’s certainly got scaring people down to a fine art with this character, and the actor explains that the key to the character is keeping his sense of humour.
“He finds it all very amusing, even being scary,” says Jarratt. “He knows he’s being scary and gets a giggle out of scaring people too. He’s just playing a game and having the time of his life, and it’s a lot more fun than chasing kangaroos or pigs or buffalos. It’s humans who don’t matter much because they’re tourists from England or America or whatever, and he’s just having a fun time. It’s very amusing, it just colours up a dull day for him. It’s very shallow, there’s not a lot of depth there, he doesn’t scream and yell.
“I always say he never runs, he never yells…and never dies. [laughs]”
Wolf Creek airs on Tuesdays at 10pm on FOX.