Kevin Heffernan was making the press rounds in support of Broken Lizard's latest comedy release The Slammin' Salmon this afternoon, which hits home on DVD and Blu-ray April 13th. While discussing that film, the subject of Broken Lizard's new deal with Universal came up. According to Heffernan, Rogue Scholars will most likely be their next film. And the other project they currently have set up at Universal is Pot Quest, which will be a thematic follow-up to their 2006 film Beerfest. But Super Troopers 2 isn't being put on hold. It is being set up at a different studio with Jay Chandrasekhar set to direct. Broken Lizard hopes to get all three projects in production soon by attaching other members of the team to each individual film as a director. Here's what Kevin had to say about the future of his popular comedy troupe:
Is Rogue Scholars going to be Broken Lizard's next film
Kevin Heffernan: Yes. It's looking like that. Its up to Universal in terms of when they want to shoot. We are well into writing it. It's been a pretty fun thing to write. We are trying to do a spin on Animal House from the professors' point of view. We have some out of control professors who end up pranking all of the students. It's been great. We're close to having a shooting script, and hopefully they will pull the trigger on it soon.
You guys have had so many different projects in the works over the years, especially between Beerfest and Slammin' Salmon. But I don't remember hearing about this one. Is this something you guys chose to never talk about? Or is it something you recently came up with?
Kevin Heffernan: It's not too recent. We started working on it about a year ago. To get stuff done, you throw a lot of stuff at the wall and see who wants to make it. This was a project that we thought would be a cool idea. It caught on. So we pitched it around town. People really responded to it. Universal really liked the idea. So we rolled with it. But it's relatively new.
Are you going to direct again, or is Jay coming back? Or might you pass it off to one of the other guys this time around?
Kevin Heffernan: One of us will direct it. We're trying to figure out right now who is going to do that. We are going to attach different guys to different projects so that they all move forward at the same time. We really want to make Super Troopers 2. Jay Chandrasekhar is going to direct that, of course. So we are still debating internally about who is going to direct what next.
You guys usually have a pretty well known actor come in and do one of the major roles, like Michael Clarke Duncan in Slammin Salmon, or Bill Paxton in Club Dread. Are you thinking along those lines with Rogue Scholars? Do you have someone in mind to cast?
Kevin Heffernan: Character-wise, we have it figured out. But we don't know who's going to play them. In this one, we are going to have some college aged kids be the bad guys. We are going to look for guys in that age group. Then there will be us. Then there are some older professors that we interact with. It will be fun to get some older comedic guys, some younger comedic guys, and mix it all together.
So you guys are going to blow this one out and have a whole bunch of great comedians in it. Not just the Broken Lizard team.
Kevin Heffernan: That's what we hope.
Do you know what character you are set to play in Rogue Scholars?
Kevin Heffernan: My character in this is on the crazier side. He is a psych professor. He is always mind fucking people. He will get you to do shit you don't know you're doing. It's been fun writing a psych guy.
One of the guys will usually play a double character. Who is going to be taking on double-duty in this film?
In the story I read about Rogue Scholars, it said that Universal also picked up a secret project from you guys that we're not allowed to talk about. Is this one of the older scripts you guys have been working on? Is it one of the films fans have been waiting for?
Kevin Heffernan: We sold them Pot Quest. It is going to be our pot adventure movie. People have been wanting us to do a Pot Fest movie. We debated a couple of different ways to do this. I don't think its going to be a sequel to Beerfest. Once we put that idea for a sequel at the end of Beerfest, people kept saying that we needed to make that kind of movie. We started getting phone calls from Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent. Willie Nelson. All of these guys were like, "Yeah, lets do a pot movie." So we went, "alright." We ran it by Universal, and they were into the idea.
Is it safe to say that all of those guys you just mentioned are going to be in the film?
Kevin Heffernan: I don't know. I don't know if we're going to be making the The Cannonball Run of pot movies. We have certainly had a lot of people express interest in it. And we have a lot of fans that really want to see that movie. We have to hit that road and see where the culture is.
I think all you had to say was Cannonball Run of pot movie. Everyone is going to show up.
Kevin Heffernan: We'll see what happens.
With Rogue Scholars and Pot Quest, are you going to bring more of a party atmosphere to these films, like we saw in Beerfest? Where people have to see them two or three times, because they get so blasted midway through watching it the first time, they forgot half of what they saw?
Kevin Heffernan: I love that. I love watching it in those ways. Every time we go down to the Alamo Draft House in Austin; it's such a fun way to watch those movies. I think people enjoy getting together in that manner to watch them. We get all kinds of fun offers like that. We are going to go throw out the first pitch at a Padres game later on this month, because they are having Beerfest month in San Diego. It seems like a fun way for people to come together.
How do you view the cult status of that film since it came out? Obviously, Super Troopers is a cult phenomenon. Has Beerfest grown in the same way?
Kevin Heffernan: That is the cool thing. I am waiting to see what happens with The Slammin' Salmon. Our movies are ones that people discover later on down the road, on video or cable. Whatever it is. They become these communal movies that people like to watch together. And they like to watch them over and over again. Beerfest has certainly achieved that. I'll go around, and as many people known me know from Beerfest as they do from Super Troopers. Which I think is great. That all comes from people discovering the movie down the road. I think its worked out pretty great for Beerfest. The same way it did for Super Troopers.
With this type of movie, would you ever consider having a break, or an old time intermission, just for the folks that need to pop on over to the bathroom? Your films move so fast, if someone gets up and goes to the bathroom, they're going to miss quite a bit.
Kevin Heffernan: They are screwed. That's why we're part of the DVD culture. People can just pause it and go. Either that, or you put a love moment right in the middle of the movie. That's what they did in Avatar. They had that one big love moment. That's where everyone got up and used the bathroom.}
I haven't seen Avatar yet. I went and saw The Slammin' Salmon instead.
Kevin Heffernan: There you go. See. They came out the same weekend, I think. The Slammin' Salmon opened against Avatar and Club Dread opened up against The Passion of the Christ. We have a pretty good track record of getting creamed by these monster successes.
I think its safe to say, the story in Slammin' Salmon is a little stronger than the one in Avatar. Those guys just have all that spectacle tacked onto their film.
Kevin Heffernan: We'll have to do Pot Quest in 3D. I don't know. 3D is on a roll. It helps people get their movies green lit. We don't have huge plans to do a movie in 3D. But I don't know what is going to happen now.
We haven't seen a comedy in 3D yet. I know they're working on Jackass in 3D. Do you think you guys could benefit from having your next film in 3D?
Kevin Heffernan: Maybe. I don't know. It has to be a visually comedy, like Jackass. I think that will help. When we were raising money for The Slammin' Salmon, we had a 3D company pitch us. "A 3D restaurant movie would be great!" Because you'd have the food coming right at you. There are ways you could make it work. But you'd have to have a visual underpinning to it.
You mentioned Super Troopers 2, and that its still on the horizon. Where is that as far as getting it in front of an actual camera?
Kevin Heffernan: We are still finalizing the script. We've gotten four or five drafts further along. We keep revising it. I would imagine that we would have the script done-done in the next couple of months. We'd love to get into production on it. We'll see how it works out timing wise with Rogue Scholars. We'll see which one lands first. We are trying to push both of them forward at the same time.
Is it possible that you would shoot them back to back, and that we'd be seeing two Broken Lizard films in the same year?
Kevin Heffernan: Yes. I would love to do that. That was the idea of pushing both those scripts forward at the same time. I think that would be great.