Thinking back about how they released something as ridiculous as the meow gag into pop culture consciousness, "We were putting ourselves in Mac and Foster’s shoes and we were like, ‘Would they remember the meow game a month later?’ Certainly this many years later the idea of being like, ‘I saw you on your job 17 years ago, and you said something!’, and you’d be like, ‘Why in the fuck would anyone remember would anybody remember what I said as an offhand stupid thing on my job 17 years ago?’" Soter, along with the rest of the crew, chuckles aloud at the notion these slackers would hang onto a one-off memory of tormenting Gaffigan’s character; like so much else that Broken Lizard whips up, the thought is ludicrous.
"It felt like a meta way to re-approach that gag," Soter says.
Of course, jokes come easily to them. Character is a bit tougher, though being able to slip into familiar roles is a bonus when you’re trying to bang out a script with four other people: that comfort helps grease the wheels on production. "Coming up with ideas we could do that all day, writing jokes, we could do that all day," explains Soter, "but always with us that trick is five guys with five different voices. Because you read it on paper, and if you haven’t really distinguished those different voices, people read the script and it’s just kind of a bunch of talk. In this case, everybody had that voice established, and that’s the hardest part."
"Then you hit the ground running and you don’t have to worry about character so much," Heffernan chimes in. "You just worry about the bits and the jokes and that kind of stuff." There’s a side effect to that kind of freedom from character concerns, though. Liberation gives way to exaggeration, which explains why Farva, the loudmouth boor of the troop, is even more intolerably jocular this time around. "Anytime we had an un-PC line or an obnoxious line," says Lemme, "we’d just give it to Farva, and as a result, all he says is un-PC, obnoxious shit. He’s a little more unhinged in this movie."
After 30 drafts of writing and the long journey of getting Super Troopers 2 made between the announcement of a sequel at the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con and 2015, when they finally got a greenlight on production but were forced to find funding for the film on their own, "unhinged" is a quality to be expected. As Heffernan tells it, "Part of it was how long it took to get the movie made, right? So every time there was a chance that we’d get funding, or whatever it was, there’d be a flurry of activity and you’d do five or six drafts. Some of them were just joke drafts. Some of them had full plots that ended up being too hard to shoot, or too expensive, or there were many characters."
At one point, a United States Homeland Security agent was involved in the plot, which sounds like the height of excess -- and that’s not even taking into account the technical aspects of the movie. "We knew we wanted to do pullovers, but the nature of the pullover in the first movie was like, ‘We’re bored. This is how you’re going to meet these guys, we’re doing a pullover,’ and then we’re just peppering them throughout that movie," says Lemme. Figuring out how to fit that callback into Super Troopers 2 took a full ten drafts on its own. Say what you will about Broken Lizard’s comic style or about their movies; you can’t deny that they’re as devoted to their craft as they are to their fans -- and each other.
Soter, Heffernan, Lemme, Stolhanske, and Chandrasekhar have known each other for nearly three decades: The soul of their work is the camaraderie they’ve built together over the passage of years. Whether they’re struggling to get the money they need to make movies like Super Troopers 2 happen, finding a balance between bringing the script to life and allowing their cast to improvise as they see fit (specifically Will Sasso, guesting here as a bitter Canadian Mountie with a grudge against the troopers), or taking the piss out of each other on and off set, it always comes back to one thing. In Lemme’s words: "Making movies with your friends."