Mick Taylor is back. John Jarratt talks bringing his iconic sociopath back to screens in the new Stan TV series, and what SVOD is doing for Australian storytelling. By Caris Bizzaca.
Filmed in and around Adelaide for a little over two months, this new iteration of the Wolf Creek world flips the familiar story.
Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) goes from being the hunter to the hunted when he murders an American family and unknowingly lets their daughter Eve (Lucy Fry) escape with her life – and a newfound thirst for vengeance.
Jarratt says while this marks the third time he’s played the tattooed outback serial killer since 2005, he wasn’t about to say ‘no’ to creator Greg McLean (who co-wrote and co-directed on the series).
“It’s not every day you come up with an iconic character I suppose and this is mine in my career,” he says, assuring fans that Wolf Creek the series delivers.
“With this one I start out in a big way and give all my horror fans everything they want. Then we kind of hand it over the amazing Lucy Fry, who goes on a vengeful rampage trying to find the bastard who did over her family.”
For Fry, who was last seen in Now Add Honey, playing Eve not only brought her back home to Australia for a stretch, but also marks her first lead role.
The 24-year-old Brisbane actor says reading the six episodes from Los Angeles, she was immediately captivated by how Eve’s story plays out as a psychological thriller more so than a horror series.
“When I read how Eve transforms from a victim of Mick to someone who’s trying to take him on, that was really exciting to me,” she says.
Wolf Creek marks the second original series commissioned by Stan, after Jungle’s No Activity, a move which Jarratt says is extraordinary.
“Stan is… very proud and very vocal about being an Australian company supporting Australian stuff,” he says.
Speaking on the cusp of the six episodes launching on Stan, he says the future of this kind of commitment will be in the hands of audiences.
“If the Australian public backs them as they’re backing us, it’ll be a wonderful thing,” he says.
Jarratt, who has long been vocal in the battle against illegal downloading, says it’s thanks to SVOD services like Stan that there has been a decline in online piracy.
This is evident in a report released Intellectual Property Awareness Foundation (IPAF) last year, where executive director Lori Flekser acknowledged the contribution of video-on-demand services in the decline.
Jarratt says while he worries piracy will never fully go away without further action, this is a positive step.
“There definitely are figures to prove that they are (making a difference),” he says.
“I was talking to my son Charlie this morning about it actually. How it’s probably easier to turn on Stan or Netflix and find the movie you want for a lousy 10 bucks a month, rather than to go trying to illegally download it. So I think finally we might have a panacea to this full-on theft.”
While television grapples with changes with everything streaming services, to series length, it’s also being presented with the ever-present issue of the need for diversity – something that Screen Australia is currently researching.
While Fry believes Wolf Creek has done a great job in casting actors like Miranda Tapsell and Deborah Mailman, she acknowledges there is still a way to go.
“I’d love to get to a place where… you have a great story and automatically anyone of any nationality can be cast,” she says.
“Where (you don’t have to say) ‘we want Hispanic for this role, we want African-American for this role, we want to Asian for this role’… it’s just ‘this girl is great for this role, she’s a really great actress and she happens to be from a certain culture’.”
Wolf Creek is available on Stan from Thursday 12 May.