Christopher Redmond spoke with Canadian icons the Trailer Park Boys about their non-Trailer Park Boys movie, Swearnet.
Mike Smith (Bubbles)
Rob Wells (Ricky)
John Paul Tremblay (Julian)
C. Redmond: How drunk were you when you came up with the original idea for Swearnet?
Mike: Not too drunk. Probably pretty high though.
If I were to describe the movie to someone, it would be Curb Your Enthusiasm meets Jackass. Does that definition fit or is it totally fucked?
Mike: Probably pretty fucked. No, I mean there's probably elements of those in there. Parts of the movie are true. The fact that we were in our post-Trailer Park Boys lives and we were frustrated with being censored and stuff, we wanted to start our own uncensored all-swearing network. All that stuff actually happened.
Would you say that the film and broadcasting industry in Canada is fucked?
Mike: At one time it was pretty lenient and pretty great. But the rules got stricter and stricter. Is stricter a word? They got more strict. It was time to just cut that tether and go into the world of uncensored, full swearing.
Rob: Well as the soon as the Janet Jackson whole boob thing happened with Justin Timberlake, that just kind of destroyed it for a lot of people. Censorship-wise.
So is your goal as producers to turn Swearnet into the Marvel Studios of the Trailer Park Boys universe? And if so, when are we getting movies for Conky and the Green Bastard?
John Paul: (laughs)
Mike: That would be a fucked up movie.
Rob: That would be interesting, yeah.
Mike: I mean the end goal, the end game for Swearnet is to get it sort of chugging along like a real network. Have a variety of programming. We just bought a couple of buildings in Halifax that we're putting studios in, so were pretty focused on making Swearnet a real, functioning network.
In the film, when you guys are launching Swearnet, you need to do everything yourselves - you're stunt drivers, cinematographers, art directors, costume designers, pussy-eye fluffers… But what real-life film role on set would each of you fucking hate to do?
Mike and Rob (together): Hate to do?
Mike: I'd hate to be a grip. Lugging all that shit around.
JP: Yeah, I agree.
Mike: They're always lugging the heaviest shit. I wouldn't want to do that. I mean it would be fun for a day, but I wouldn't want it to be my job.
JP: And especially with the pace that we shoot. It's very fast. Those guys are constantly running around, setting shit up. Sweatin' their asses off.
Rob: The fluffer job would be tough too.
Mike: I did it for a year.
Rob: Yeah. It's not easy.
On the flip side, can you guys each think of someone who worked on Swearnet who deserves a special shout-out? Maybe a DECENT boom operator or super hot wardrobe assistant?
Rob: Pretty much everybody who worked on the film deserves and extra shout-out. Everybody went above and beyond.
Mike: Yeah. Really good crew, willing to do whatever we had to do to get it done. And we did it.
You're used to working with Mike Clatternberg as a director and creator of the Trailer Park Boys. But for this film, you're working with Warren P. Sonoda. How was it to take direction from someone else, especially on something that you guys wrote and created?
Mike: Oh it was fine. Warren was just sort of there to steer the ship, you know? What's great about Warren is that he knows we wrote it and he know we have a particular vision, and he doesn't get in there and try to force his stamp on anything. He's there steering the ship and he really lets you do, sort of, what you want to do. I mean he has great ideas and he's great as a director, but he sort of knew to just let us do our thing.
What was it about his filmography that attracted you to him?
Mike: It was more about his physical size and body.
Rob: I didn't realize that, Mike.
Mike: Yeah, I was more attracted to Warren's looks than anything.
Rob: Well besides his fantastic looks, one of our producers, Gary Howsam, introduced us to him. We met with him and he definitely got our vision. I thought he did a great job.
There's a line in the film where Mike says "sponsorship means censorship". Is that true, and if so, how the fuck did you get The Toronto Sun and some other grey hair brands on board?
Mike: It is true. Sponsorship a lot of times does mean censorship. But the Toronto Sun, they just got it. They were into it and they wanted to be a part of it. So in that case, it wasn't censorship. It does mean that a lot of the times, but you get the odd company that gets it and wants to be a part of it. So kudos to the Toronto Sun for getting on board.
This is a tangent, but how drunk would you guys have to get Ellen Page to convince her to come back and work with you again?
Mike: I don't know. We'd obviously love to have Ellen come back and reprise her role on Trailer Park Boys. I mean, of course she's pretty busy these days because she's a massive star now. But of course, yeah, we would love to have her back if she'd ever do that.
And now that the new season is coming out, is there a conflict between Swearnet and having the new Trailer Park Boys season on Netflix?
Mike: No, the whole Netflix thing was great. It was obviously the best move for us at the time, because we get to show the show around the world on the hottest medium there is these days. Netflix. For Swearnet, no, everything's running smooth with those two entities.
You decided to do a film that was not in character of the Trailer Park Boys, but are you conscious of how similar some of your mannerisms still are? Mike, you're always saying "boys!" at the end of things and putting in the little maniacal laugh sometimes, or even some of JP's expressions too. Do you see that or is that completely unintentional?
Rob: For the most part I think it's unintentional.
Mike: Yeah, I didn't really notice it but I don't really pay attention to these two dicks either.