Police officers and pot enthusiasts don't see eye to eye on a lot of things, but you can expect members of both groups to flock to theaters when Super Troopers 2 debuts this weekend.
Set to open on April 20, the sequel to the 2001 comedy reunites audiences with Farva, Rabbit and the rest of the hilarious Vermont state troopers as they venture across the Canadian border for another wacky adventure. While the world has changed a lot since the cult classic original first hit the silver screen, the Broken Lizard troupe hopes that the upcoming follow-up will once again serve as a unifying force between their diverse fan base.
"Half our fans are cops, the other half are stoners," Jay Chandrasekhar tells Metro. "We’re kind of hoping people can at least come to this movie and go, 'OK, at least we can agree on this damn thing.'"
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Aside from a quick "Make America Great Again" joke, the Super Troopers crew didn't want to alienate any viewers by going heavy on the Donald Trump jokes, as Chandrasekhar notes that half of their fans happen to be Republican. The actor and director adds that there's already "so much disunity out there," and they didn't want the sequel to contribute to the current divisive climate.
"The campaign that Trump ran, 'Make America Great,' was a very impactful statement, so we said, 'Yeah, we’ll keep that one in,'" Chandrasekhar says. "We’ve kind of taken the approach that the purpose of art is to probably unify people."
"America needs Super Troopers 2," Steve Lemme jokes.
Of course, political satire has never been a focus for the series, which is at its best when it highlights the outlandish aspects of life as a law enforcement member. The sequel takes things up a notch by pitting the Vermont troopers against their Canadian counterparts, poking fun at cliches and culture on both sides of the border.
The Broken Lizard team came up with the idea for Super Troopers after spending time with a buddy who lived in a quiet Vermont town that neighbors Canada. They played with the notion of cops who're forced to patrol a highway where pretty much nothing happens on a daily basis, and how locals find their kicks by exploiting the lax enforcement of laws.
"If we wanted beer, we’d go right across the border," Erik Stolhanske says. "There wasn’t anybody stopping you or asking for a passport."
While the original film was shot around New York state, production moved to Massachusetts for the sequel, which only came about after the team raised enough money from 54,000 fans through crowdsourcing efforts. According to Kevin Heffernan, Super Troopers 2 set up shop in the Bay State in order to take advantage of the "tax benefits."
"We were lucky Massachusetts had that incentive, so we came here," Heffernan says. "We shot a week up by the Quabbin Reservoir for all the road stuff, and then shot right around Boston in Concord, Acton and that area for the rest of the stuff."
As for why they decided to do a Super Troopers 2, the cast felt like they owed it to all their fans who've watched the first film 50 to 100 times over the years. The key, though, was to not try to top the original, but just create a story that felt like a natural progression for these characters.
"The best that you can do for somebody like that is to try to give them just a continuation of the first movie and not try to out do it or out think the room," Paul Soter says. "If you loved hanging out with these f—king guys enough to want to sit with them 100 f—king times, then you should just want to feel like you’re hanging out with them again."
In addition to the return of the fan-favorite troopers and stars like Lynda Carter and Jim Gaffigan, Super Troopers 2 features plenty of new faces, highlighted by Rob Lowe. The actor plays an ex-hockey player who serves as the mayor of a Canadian border town.
"Sitting there in a scene with Rob Lowe is totally surreal," Lemme says. "Especially when the scene is done and your trembling because he’s so f—king good looking."
Somehow, the Broken Lizard troupe was able to convince Lowe to do a particularly raunchy scene set inside a strip club involving male appendages. The gag wasn't in the original script, but Lowe seemed happy to oblige when the cast made Chandrasekhar spring it on him during filming.
"We kind of bait and switched him," Chandrasekhar says. "I said, 'There was this whole joke about him tugging on a penis.' He said, 'Oh yeah, let’s do that!'"
While we won't spoil it here, Lowe put his own spin on the scene, to the delight of everyone on set.
"He had all sorts of fun ideas for that," Chandrasekhar says. "His view was, 'How can you not do that joke once we’ve talked about it?'"
"These movies work best when you take some risk," he adds. "If it doesn’t work, we won’t put it in the movie. You have to take a risk and go over the edge a little."
Super Troopers 2 rides into theaters on April 20.