Since its release in 2002, Super Troopers has gone on to become one of the most beloved cult comedies of the 21st century. It’s instantly quotable, uniquely weird, and far more than the stoner film the original marketing campaign sold it as. With such a devoted following, fans always wondered if a sequel might happen, and with the help of an Indiegogo campaign, Super Troopers 2 is almost here.
A couple weeks ago, I got to speak with the group behind Super Troopers and Super Troopers 2, Broken Lizard—Jay Chandrasekhar, Steve Lemme, Kevin Heffernan, Paul Soter, and Erik Stolhanske—at the Sweetwater Brewery in Atlanta. During our conversation, we talked about what they learned about crowdfunding a movie, what their writing process is like, lines from the first movie that always get quoted at them, a scene they were disappointed to cut from the script, and more.
Check out the full interview below. Super Troopers 2 opens April 20th.
STEVE LEMME: Yeah. I mean, I think the only studio that could make Super Troopers was Fox because they own the rights to it, and they didn’t really want to do that because I think they felt that the fans weren’t out there, so this was … but they said we could go ahead and raise the money ourselves, if we wanted to. So we took traditional routes and tried to get financiers to come in on it and nobody would come in on it … and I think they had the same fear, that fans weren’t out. So we did this Indiegogo campaign, and we hired the crowd funding guru, Ivan Askwith … and so we did this campaign and raised four and a half million dollars and really that’s how we got the movie done.
PAUL SOTER: Yeah it was funny. We thought it was a very simple kind of process, how you crowd fund … you make a little video, you tell people the deal, you offer whatever shirts or posters … and this guy came in and showed us what a science it is, and it’s just unbelievable when you do it right. Just things like the level of imagination that has to go into all the perks and the content and creating lots of content to keep the process refreshed … and it was fascinating to see the science behind how that gets done right. It worked for us, ya know?
ERIK STOLHANSKE: Well, they do have to create a campaign. I mean we started like six weeks before we launched, it was like a political campaign. Campaign Farva in the trunk … somebody might come and check back every day to see if he’s ever going to get out, so we’re bringing people back …. and really incorporating the fans and making sure that you’re making a movie with them and incorporating them in the process.
Did it exceed your expectations in how much people responded in terms of what you thought the baseline would be and how far beyond it went to that?
JAY CHANDRASEKHAR: I mean there was a great fear that people would be like, “Yeah, we loved that first movie, but you guys just … why should we pay for it?” And so if that had happened there would be no sequel. So it’s literally … I mean, so we put the number at 2 million bucks. You can’t really make the kind of movie we make for 2 million bucks anymore. And so yeah, that happened in 24 hours … and in 30 days it was at 4.5. I think it’s at 4.75 now. I mean, it’s done, but that’s the number.
SOTER: It’s funny because there’s this celebration of like, “Oh wow, yeah. They’re out there. They stepped up. We got this money.” Followed by the inevitable like, “Gah, why didn’t we set the bar higher because then we could have gotten all the money,” because we still had to go out and raise money, and that still took forever. You have to … what I didn’t understand at the time is you don’t spend that money within the calendar year, you get killed on all these taxes. So we had to go out and start shooting the movie without having the money to make the movie. So we went and shot for a week … then had to go raise the rest of the money and then go back. And that’s just a bizarre way to do things too … so everything about how this movie was made was different than anything we’d ever done.