Interview with Broken Lizard

Broken Lizard consists of Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske. They have made the films “Super Troopers”, “Club Dread”, “Beerfest” and the recent “The Slammin’ Salmon”. With many projects planned for the future Broken Lizard is just getting started. Movie Mikes had the chance to talk to the group and discuss their movies and their plans for the future.

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Mike Gencarelli: You guys recently toured the country with a comedy show, was that fun?
Jay Chandrasekhar: It was incredibly fun. We started out performing on stage in New York. Back then we used to hand out fliers in the street to try and get people to come. It was exciting to show up in these 1200 seat theaters and see big crowds and their excitement. It was fun and we had a blast. Plus we got to hang out every night after the shows so it was great.

Mike Gencarelli: In case anyone missed the show was it taped for TV or DVD? Are you planning future tours?
Steve Lemme: We actually filmed something for Comedy Central. It airs this September and we are definitely planning future tours, now that we got a taste for it. We are ready to hit the road a lot.

Mike Gencarelli: Kevin, “The Slammin’ Salmon” was your directorial debut, how was it stepping behind the camera, as well as starring?
Kevin Heffernan: It was great. We kind of work as a family, we use the same crew a lot and same actors. It was a very comfortable situation. There were no curve balls or anything. It was a fun way to direct your first movie. With “Salmon” we filmed it independently without a distributor. Then you kind of scramble and get people to put it out there. Since it is on DVD now, I think now people will be able to see it, discover it and it will be great.

MG: After doing the studio film “Beerfest”, how was it returning back to indie roots with “Salmon”?
Kevin: It was great. It was fun going back to the way we did “Super Troopers”. We did that independently. It was a really fun experience. You took away layers of people giving you notes and stuff. We were able to do a lot of what we wanted to do.

MG: Paul, I know you directed 2007’s “Watching the Detectives”, how did you land that gig and any plans for you to direct more?
Paul Soter: Probably right after “Club Dread” came out, I started writing a script. It was a little indie script, to see if I could do one by myself. I thought from watching these guys it seemed like a fun thing. I wanted to see if I would be able to direct. I wrote it and sent it around. It took about a year of going around to production companies until we found a producer for it. We shot it right after we wrapped “Beerfest”. Yeah it was a great experience and it was a fun little indie. I am just going out with the next script I am going to direct. I am talking to producers in the next couple of weeks, so we will see what happens.

MG: Steve and Erik, how about you guys planning to direct anytime soon?
Steve: I am directing Erik in the “The Erik Stolhanske Story”
Kevin: I can play that part!
Erik Stolhanske: I am directing Steve in “The Erik Stolhanske Story” project, it will be a two part series.
Kevin: I play Steve.

MG: Here is the most important question though…Will it be in 3D?
Steve/Erik: (Simultaneously)…. 4-D

MG: Jay, you directed “The Dukes of Hazzard”, that was a high profile studio film, how did it differ from let’s say “Super Troopers”? Did you have creative control?
Jay: The film was PG-13, so we had to sort of keep within that box. We did do an R-Rated version for the DVD though. The good thing about “Dukes of Hazzard” was we had a garage running 24 hours. We would crash the cars during the day and then take them in and fix them in the night. The next day we take them out and crash them again. We had fifty cop cars from Batman and twenty five General Lee’s. We had an entire stunt crew shooting. We shot 50 days, they shot 25 days. It was substantially more action going on in the background. “Super Troopers” was a blast too. They have all been really fun to make. We really worked hard on the scripts and get them to a certain point when it is fun to go and execute those jokes.

MG: I got to ask, how much beer was actually filmed during the making of “Beerfest”?
Jay: A lot. There was a lot of real beer and then we couldn’t get enough work done. We switched to fake. We drank more real beer during the afternoons and more fake in the morning.

MG: Out of all the films you have made so far, what has been your favorite?
Jay: “Super Troopers”
Paul: “Club Dread”
Steve: “Beerfest”
Erik: “Puddle Cruiser”
Kevin: “The Slammin’ Salmon”

MG: Has there been one film that has been the most challenging out of all of those?
Kevin: I think different ones for different reasons. “Puddle Cruiser”, since we didn’t know what the hell we were doing. “Super Troopers”, since we made the movie on a small budget that had a bigger scope. “Beerfest” has been the largest scope, I think so far. They all have their own elements.

MG: How much improv is actually used on the set?
Steve: We like to start off with a strong script. We will do a few takes as scripted and now that the budgets have gotten a little bit bigger, we have more time to improvise. In the beginning we didn’t have the money to just burn film and free form it. I think we really started during “Beerfest”.

MG: You currently have numerous movies listed in development, what is actually getting made and what is just rumored?
Jay: We are writing “Super Troopers 2”. We are also writing a film called “Rogue Scholars”, which is at Universal. We are under contract to write a movie called “Pot Quest”, which is also at Universal.
Kevin: “Rogue Scholars” is kind of a twist on “Animal House”. It is a college comedy in which we play professors that are in a war with the students. It is a funny different twist.
Steve: We already mentioned our comedy tour on Comedy Central that airs in September but it will be on DVD also after it airs.

Click here to purchase Broken Lizard’s movies

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