Finally, after 17 years and a record-breaking Indiegogo campaign, the highly anticipated sequel Super Troopers 2 is hitting theaters this weekend. The riotous comedy about a rag-tag group of Vermont highway police became a cult classic, and helped launch the careers of the writing group Broken Lizard. Men’s Journal sat down with two of the crew, Steve Lemme and Kevin Heffernan, at New York’s Roxy Hotel to talk about working with grizzly bears, fighting Rob Lowe, those iconic mustaches, and how their movies actually might’ve helped them get out of a few scraps with the law.
Did you actually get permission to portray the police in Vermont with that first movie?
Kevin Heffernan: Not really. It was a pretty interesting story. When we first started making the first movie, we didn’t know that you needed to get permission to say Vermont State Police in the script. Everyone got stuck with different jobs because we were so hands-on with this one, and my job ended up being making sure we could use the logo. I just called this number I found and said, “Hey we want to use your department in this movie.” He asked me to send the script. Few days later I got back a letter that said that they weren’t giving us permission to use it. I called him right back to ask what was up. He was like, “Look man, someone in the department is going to see this movie and ask who gave them permission. I can’t have my name associated with it.” So we changed the patch and the colors a little bit. Once the movie came out, we got great reactions from the cops, except for the ones who lived in Vermont. I was confused by that result, because they come out as the heroes of the whole thing. I later learned that apparently people would drive by them and yell “Meow” or “Chickenfuckers!” So obviously they weren’t happy about that.
Did you show them the sequel?
KH: We went back to Vermont to screen the new movie, and I have a feeling that those guys who were yelling stuff out the windows are now cops themselves. They were cool with all of it.
So if the cops in other parts of the world ended up liking it, did you get out of any tickets?
Steve Lemme: I got pulled over doing 120 miles per hour going from Los Angeles up to San Jose. I was probably the only car on the highway and the guy got me good. I saw the lights. He looked super pissed off as he was walking up to the window and said, “Mister, do you have any idea how fast you…Super Troopers?!” He told me that his department plays all the games that we did in the first movie, and I knew I was good. He let me off with a warning and we took selfies on the side of the road.
KH: I was on my way to go throw the first pitch at a San Diego Padres game. They were doing a beer fest down there so they invited us down to throw the first pitch. I was driving down there, a little late, and about five miles out from the stadium I get pulled over from the California Highway Patrol. The guy asked me why I was in such a hurry and I gave him the reason. I could tell that this guy didn’t recognize me, so I started explaining that I was in this movie Super Troopers. He just kept looking at me weird, and then he walked back to his car. Few minutes later he came back, shook my hand and asked me if I wanted a police escort. I just wanted to get away from him to be honest, so I said I was good. I finally get to the stadium, and this local cop walks up to me to tell me that when I got pulled over it went out over the police banner radio that “Farva got pulled over.” [Laughs]
How was getting on a mighty steed, Steve?
SL: I loved getting to ride a horse. I had to learn how to do it. I think that is one of the fringe benefits to being an actor, is getting to learn skills like that. There is just something about riding a horse, while rocking a nice mustache. I feel like I should be the next Men’s Journal cover guy.
Do you remember his name?
SL: I think his name was Charles, and he was a gentleman.
Kevin, you had a pretty epic scene with a bear.
KH: I mean, there is nothing like acting with a real grizzly bear. His name was Whooper. I had a scene with it. The simple fact is that bear makes you its bitch, no matter whom you think you are. That thing is 1,700 pounds and moves like a tractor-trailer. Everything you do, is focused on not having the bear eat you. The rest of the crew came to set that day,
SL: There were actually two grizzly bears on set. Whooper’s sister. There was going to be a scene where one of our guys was naked, with whipped cream on his man area. The bear was going to come into the scene and take a lick, and then get upset that it is actually shaving cream. Then the bear takes a swipe at him. So I guess Whooper’s sister wasn’t feeling it that day, and we decided against putting an upset bear with our friend.
Now that the mustaches are back, are you going to keep them this time?
SL: It is coming in all of its glory. One of the indicators of how success I have become is the fact that my mustache gets groomed now. I have it blow-dried, waxed, and combed. It is a pretty amazing feeling to be the recipient of all that mustache attention. They make it a full-bodied mustache. I am never shaving it, even though my wife and I don’t actually like it. I’m riding it to the grave. Kevin’s mustache, on the other hand, sucks.
KH: The main conversation is always whether I’m starting early enough to get mine ready, because the guys are concerned with whether I am going to be able to grow one good enough. I started about four weeks out, and the guys were not sure if I was going to make it, because my mustache doesn’t come easily. But I kind of think Farva should have a shitty mustache. I am definitely keeping it until Saturday—that is the last day of press that we are doing. My wife is telling me that it has to be gone by the time that Saturday comes back around. I am starting to get attached to it again, but I guess that is how mustaches work.
What was it like working with Rob Lowe?
KH: It is pretty weird because you are acting in a scene with a guy that you have watched since you were a kid. I mean, holy shit, I have a fight scene with Rob Lowe. We are on set one morning and we are punching each other, it is just hysterical. I mean, I am punching Rob Lowe. You don’t want to mess up that face. It is just too beautiful.
Was there any talk of him growing a beard?
KH: I don’t know if Rob Lowe can grow facial hair. Has he had a beard? I know I wouldn’t cover up that face if I had it.
Do you see there being another Super Troopers movie?
KH: I would be happy to do another one of these. The characters are so fun. We finished shooting this movie about a year ago, and I’ll be honest, I’m ready to go again. I will always play Farva. It is fun to play an asshole.