Finding a reason to continue living after undergoing a traumatic experience can be a harrowing process in itself, as victims may feel as though they no longer have a reason to live. But the resolute young protagonist in the new horror television series, ‘Wolf Creek,’ powerfully won’t allow the grief caused by her tormentor stop her from pursuing her revenge on him.
The six-episode limited television series is set to premiere in America at 10pm ET/PT this Friday, October 14. ‘Wolf Creek’ will air exclusively on Pop, a cable and satellite television network that’s a joint venture of CBS Corporation and Lionsgate. The show was inspired by the iconic Australian cult film series of the same name. The psychological thriller series was created, directed, written and executive produced by the movies’ creator and helmer, Greg McLean.
The ‘Wolf Creek’ television series follows an American family as they’re vacationing in Northern Australia. The group becomes the unsuspecting prey of Mick Taylor (John Jarratt), a sadistic serial killer who hunts and kills tourists in the Outback. The sole survivor is Eve Thorogood (Lucy Fry), a 19-year-old college student who loses her parents and younger brother. Angered by the brutal murders, she vows to either bring the killer to justice, or die in the process.
Jarratt, Fry and McLean generously took the time recently to talk about acting in, as well as creating, directing, writing and producing, the limited ‘Wolf Creek’ television adaptation during individual exclusive phone interviews. Among other things, the stars and filmmaker discussed why they feel it’s vital to feature such strong-willed female protagonists as Eve on television, as she shows the importance of taking whatever means necessary to achieve her goals. They also embraced the opportunity to work together to build not only Mick and Eve’s distinct motivations, but also the characters’ physicalities as they approached their action sequences.
McLean initially discussed why he decided to adapt the ‘Wolf Creek’ film series into a television mini-series. “I think the idea of unfolding ‘Wolf Creek’ through the eyes of a different character was the main part that interested me,” the drama’s creator revealed. “I wanted to take the opportunity to tell a story that was about the Mick character. But I also wanted someone else to explore him. That way we can learn more about this evil psychopath the more we go into the story.”
The series’ executive producer also embraced the fact that the television series allowed him to “go into the known world of the ‘Wolf Creek’ movies, and then play in that same spooky environment. Being able to explore through that a strong female lead was an appealing concept.”
Further discussing how ‘Wolf Creek’ is unique in the fact that it features a female protagonist who’s determined to seek revenge, McLean explained why he feels it’s important to have such strong women on television. “In initially looking at where the ‘Wolf Creek’ television series could go, I thought the wrong approach would be to have Mick pursuing and killing a series of female victims,” the director revealed.
“So we really had to flip the whole concept and genre. We needed to have a female character who we initially think is a victim, but then who turns the tables, and begins pursuing him. That was a really compelling idea to me,” McLean divulged.
The filmmaker also noted that he loved the idea of having an American character visit the Australian Outback. “That way, the audience can see the Outback as she’s experiencing it,” McLean emphasized. “I think that was a really cool way of not only getting into the ‘Wolf Creek’ world, but also turning the whole thing on its head, as we reversed some of the cliches of the slasher genre.”
Jarratt also explained his interest in bringing his well-known role of the villainous Mick Taylor to television screens with the small screen adaptation of ‘Wolf Creek.’ But he revealed that when McLean initially called and told him about his plans to turn the film series into the six-part TV series, he was hesitant to reprise his role. “To be honest, I thought, I don’t know about that, because I didn’t see it working. But when Greg then sent me the scripts, I thought they were superb. It proved to be very good television.”
Fry also explained what interested her in portraying Eve in the television series adaptation of ‘Wolf Creek.’ While the protagonist is a new character in the franchise, the actress likes that Eve wasn’t afraid to pursue Mick after he targeted her family. “When I first found out about the story, I assumed that I must be going up for the role of the victim who appears in the typical slasher film. In the ‘Wolf Creek’ films, the blonde characters are typically the ones who are killed first,” the actress noted.
“But when I then read the script, I saw that this character flipped that idea on its head. My character, Eve, is actually the one who goes after Mick Taylor, as she’s seeking revenge,” Fry explained. She also revealed that aspect “really attracted me to the part. I like how strong she becomes, and the transformation that I would get to go through as an actor in order to find that. So I was thrilled to be a part of this epic franchise.”
Once she signed on to play the drama’s strong protagonist, Fry developed her own backstory while she was connecting with Eve as she tracked down Mick in the television series. “I did a lot of work on her backstory with her family. Her parents were cops, so that was one of the things that enabled her to be able to hunt Mick down. She saw the way her parents worked,” and their experiences taught Eve how to better protect herself.
“So I was able to really connect those characters. When Mick kills Eve’s parents in the first episode, I knew her well enough to want to avenge them. I think you can see that in the first episode, even though they’re not a perfect family,” Fry explained.
“Eve’s addicted to pain killers, and they have a lot of tension as a family. But once they’re gone, she feels as though she let them down, even though (Mick) killed them. They went to Australia to help her recover from her addiction. So she really feels like this is her fault,” the actress divulged. “So her need to revenge is also a need for forgiveness from her parents for what happened to them.”
While Fry also admitted that the overall horror genre has frightens her, she did watch both ‘Wolf Creek’ films, in an effort to help her prepare for her role of Eve on the show. “The (‘Wolf Creek’ movies) scared me, which was really good preparation. When John was dressed up like Mick, I would instantly be terrified. It wasn’t much work to be scared then,” she added with a laugh.
Also discussing the process of translating Mick from the movies to the show, Jarratt mentioned how he reunited with McLean to craft his character for the small screen. “Greg built the character in the first place, and I further built him from there,” the actor explained. “But we work really well together, so we collaborated a lot, so that we could get him right. We created a pretty good product, I think.”
In the two movies, Mick is presented as the murderous antagonist who wreaks havoc in the Australian Outback. But on the television series, Eve sets out to hunt down him down and avenge her family. The fact that Mick is now the targeted victim, after being the villain in the films, was an aspect of the show that Jarratt was interested in exploring.
“You now have someone who’s chasing him, or so she thinks. The strength of (Fry’s) character is that instead of having a petrified person running around, like you do in the two ‘Wolf Creek’ films, you now have someone who’s willing to die in the process,” Jarratt explained about Eve’s approach to tracking Mick. In the films, the people who are targeted by Mick “are trying to run away and save their lives,” the actor pointed out.
Fry was also intrigued by the fact that the ‘Wolf Creek’ television series features a female protagonist who’s determined to seek revenge against Mick. The actress appreciated that arc of the story, since “the female characters are often the ones who die first in slasher films,” she pointed out. “So it was exciting for me to tell a story that flips that idea on its head.”
“The show is about Eve trying to find Mick, and every time he does appear, something horrific happens. Lucy is extraordinary in her role, and she holds the series up very well,” Jarratt added as he praised his co-star.
Further discussing his experience of working with Fry on ‘Wolf Creek,’ the actor laughed as he also revealed, “I tried to intimidate her as much as I could. I teased her. I told her that since we had scenes together, she needed to work out, so she used my trainer. So we had a competition of who could get fitter. I did things that she couldn’t do, so I said, ‘I’m an old man, and look at you!'”
Jarratt added that they truly challenged each other, as “we literally had to trade punches with each other. She did more than that, because she’s a very powerful performer.” He also admitted that “at first, I was worried about how we were going to get an audience to believe that Lucy could fight Mick Taylor. But she did exactly that.”
Fry also spoke about the process of physically training for her portrayal of Eve in the ‘Wolf Creek’ television series. “I became strong enough by working out and learning to shoot a gun. I even cut my hair off on camera for one of the scenes,” the actress revealed. “It was one of these drastic transformations that was thrilling to do.”
McLean also discussed the process of casting Fry as Eve in the ‘Wolf Creek’ television series, and the experience of working with her once production on the thriller began. “I had previously worked with Lucy on a film,” the filmmaker noted. The actress starred in this past spring’s horror thriller, ‘The Darkness,’ which McLean wrote, directed and produced. On that movie, “I saw that she’s such a strong and committed actor.
“I thought for the character of Eve, we needed someone who would be able to fully commit to the physical transformation and emotional intensity of the role. Having previously worked with her, I thought she’d be able to do this role,” the filmmaker explained. “I thought we made a really great choice, because she rose to every challenge that the character threw out. So we’re really pleased with her performance on the show.”
Fry also discussed the process of reuniting with McLean for the show, after he directed her in ‘The Darkness.’ She called the experience “wonderful, because I love working with Greg. He has such a creative vision, and is a brilliant director. I love the way that he moves things, so that they’re powerful and visually striking. He also knows what to say, in order to get the right tone and performance out of me.”
The actress also describe McLean as being “so much fun, which makes the process really creative. You can play a lot, and he listens to different ideas about what’s possible in a scene. I’m so stoked that I got to work with him again on such a great project.”
Also speaking of collaborating with the cast, particularly with Fry, on developing the characters’ physicalities and the stunts for the television show, McLean described the process as “being really fun. Lucy was up for all of those challenges, and wanted to do as many of her own stunts as she possibly could. She’s really committed to her craft, and wanted to make things feel as authentic as possible. So she’s a real joy to work with on the set.”
Fry also embraced the process of performing her stunts, and noted that she “loved the action. The action sequences were actually one of my favorite parts of filming the show. Learning how to shoot guns and throw a boomerang and a spear was a dream come true,” the actress divulged. She added that the experience was even more exhilarating for her, as she pointed out that the stunts she performed are usually given to men.
The actress also praised Jarratt for the way he approached reprising his role of Mick from the film series, as she discussed the experience of collaborating with him on the show. “John brings such depth and power to this serial killer. He’s created this menacing character who’s become infamous for how dangerous he is,” Fry noted. But she also admitted that “it was really intimidating to be cast as the person who would have to try to go up against him.
“Since John is such a brilliant actor, he’s so believable in the role” of Mick. So Fry was “scared to see him in that way. When I then met him, he told me to go to the gym, so that I could become strong enough to fight him. So I thought, I really do need to toughen up to play this character,” which prompted her to workout.
“John was like a mentor to me as he helped me find the strength to beat him. So John was really supportive and kind throughout the whole process. So I knew that I couldn’t have found Eve, if John didn’t help me through it,” the actress explained.
McLean also praised Jarratt’s approach to working with his new co-star in the franchise. “John’s such a professional actor, so he made (Lucy) feel very comfortable. He worked with her on how to do anything that involved stunts.”
Further speaking of Jarratt reprising his role of the villainous Mick Taylor from the films in the television series, McLean added that the movies helped him build a great working relationship with the actor. “I also really like John as a person, which helps. We still hang out together. It’s also fun collaborating with him on the character,” the drama television series’ creator also explained. “It’s such a dark and crazy character that it’s interesting to work out what he’s going to do and say.”
McLean emphasized again that making the series was great, “but it was also a challenge. While Lucy’s in every scene, John isn’t in every scene, but always has a presence. **SPOILER ALERT** He really comes into play in episodes 5 and 6, when we have the final showdown with him. **END SPOILER ALERT** John is such a great actor to work with, and collaborating with him has been a dream.”
In his general approach to preparing to reprise his role of Mick in the six-episode television series, Jarratt explained that the development wasn’t much different to how he readied himself to play the antagonist in the films. “He is who he is, and he doesn’t change,” the actor pointed out. “If he does change, he’ll stop killing people, and people will stop watching the show! So there wasn’t much difference in how I prepared.” Jarratt added that “I’m telling people to watch the show, because it’s a really good drama, and was really well-put together.”
Having written, directed and produced the two films that influenced the creation of the television series, McLean’s creative and business involvement in the movies influenced the way he approached making the show. “I worked as a producer on the show, so that I could make sure that everything was up to the production standard that I wanted it to be,” the filmmaker explained.
“I really wanted to make sure that I had quality control, and that the show’s storytelling and performances were consistent with the production value of the movies. I think we were able to maintain that control, and we were able to make an extremely cinematic and compelling series,” McLean also divulged. “The show doesn’t feel as though it’s a water-downed version of the ‘Wolf Creek’ movies. I think the show is just as strong, content-wise, as the films.”
With the ‘Wolf Creek’ series premiering exclusively on Pop, McLean explained the process of making the deal with the cable and satellite television network. Pop acquired the drama as a completed series, after it all of the episodes were shot in Australia. “The great thing about Pop is that since it’s relatively new, it wants to take on much riskier and edgier projects, in order to make an impression,” the psychological thriller’s producer explained.
“The fun thing for us was to find someone who wanted to do bold and brash things. That’s great for the series, because it means that Pop is embracing its intense aspects, instead of trying to get us to turn those elements down,” McLean noted.
With the drama television series being set and shot in the Australian Outback, much like the films, McLean also revealed what his experience of returning to the desert to film the show was like during the production. “I love the Australian Outback, as I grew up in the country. I love being outdoors, as I grew up camping. So for me, it’s a real pleasure to be able to go into that environment. There’s nothing like being out at that location when the sun’s rising and setting,” the horror series’ creator revealed.
“You go back to these locations after you scouted them with three or four other people, and are now surrounded by about 100 people as you film. Then at the end of the day, you’re walking out of these beautiful environments with these shots,” the franchise’s director said. “You look around and think, how lucky are we that we get to do this at this place?’ Part of the reason why I enjoyed making the show is not only is it fun to make, we work with incredible people at these amazing places.”
The Australian-born Fry also embraced the experience of filming ‘Wolf Creek’ on location in the Outback. “It was so great to go home-I love Australia. It was such a treat to shoot in the open space of the Outback. It was so great to get to explore different places, as well as get to see my family.”
In addition to enjoying the process of capturing the visual aspects that help the filmmaking process, from the stunts to the production design, McLean also relishes the experience of helping to determine what type of music and score to include in his projects. “I make sure my credit stamp is on the whole thing, so I’m involved in the score, cinematography and visual effects. I’m involved in everything you would be as a director, just to make sure the quality is consistent,” Mclean revealed.
Playing the right kind of music on the set also helps Fry, as it helps her find her way into her scenes. “There wasn’t any music on the set, but I would bring my iPod and earphones. Since Eve’s such a loner, I had to make sure that I didn’t get too social on the set,” the actress revealed. She felt that if she became too connected with the rest of the thriller series’ cast and crew, she wouldn’t be able to fully relate to Eve’s emotions and mindset. “So a lot of times I would listen to Florence and the Machine or Sia.”
The actress added that since playing the character of Eve required so much physicality, she would like to dance while listening to music. “In order to bring my energy up, I would dance a lot on the set. But I would hide behind a tree while I was dancing,” Fry admitted with a laugh. “By the end of the two-month shoot, everyone had gotten used to the fact that I would be dancing on the set all of the time.”
With Mick having appeared in both ‘Wolf Creek’ films and the television mini-series, McLean divulged that are there plans of returning to the ‘Wolf Creek’ world again. ‘We’re currently making a third feature film. We’d also love to make another season of the television series, if this one goes well, as we had such a blast making it. We had such a blast making this season. I hope fans like it, and we get the chance to do it again,” McLean admitted.
For more information on the ‘Wolf Creek’ television series, visit Pop’s official website. Watch a sneak preview of the horror show below.
Written by: Karen Benardello