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Marisa Coughlan Talks the Shenanigans of ‘Super Troopers 2’ (Interview)

Photo: Fox Searchlight

After seventeen long years, the highly-anticipated sequel film Super Troopers 2 has finally arrived in theaters and we could not be more excited! In the sequel, the Troopers will once again be battling to keep their territory only this time, it’s against the Canadian Border Patrol. The official synopsis says:

“When the United States and Canada get into a dispute about the location of the actual border, the Super Troopers – Mac, Thorny, Foster, Rabbit, and Farva – are called in to set up a new Highway Patrol station in the contested area.  Our heroes quickly revert to their own brand of unconventional police work.”

Thanks to a very successful crowd-funding campaign with Indiegogo, the entire Broken Lizard gang (Erik Stolhanske (Rabbit), Steve Lemme (Mac), Jay Chandrasekhar (Thorny), Paul Soter (Foster) and Kevin Heffernan (Farva)) has returned to reprise their roles along with original film star Marisa Coughlan (Ursula).

We had the opportunity to speak with the absolutely delightful Marisa Coughlan ahead of the film’s opening weekend. During our interview, we chatted about the success of the first film, the incredible display of support from fans leading up to the second film, what die-hard Super Troopers fans can look forward to in the sequel and much, much more!

Photo Credit: Todd Williamson/January Image

Denise Caputo: Thank you for taking your time out of your schedule to speak with us. I really appreciate it! Congratulations on the release of Super Troopers 2. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the first film. I’m super psyched for this one as well. Before we get into talking about the new film, can you talk a little bit about how you became involved with the Broken Lizard gang and how you landed your role in the first film?

Marisa Coughlan: It’s funny because, ironically, I went to the same high school as Erik Stolhanske, who plays Rabbit. People often think that it’s because of him but we really didn’t know each other at all. We’re both from Minneapolis and went to this really small school, but it had nothing to do with that. Because he’s a little bit older than me and he was so cute, I was very aware of who he was but he did not know who I was.

The five of them wrote it and they wanted the female lead too. I had just come off of doing a couple of other projects and Jay had seen me in Teaching Mrs. Tingle. There’s a scene in that film where I do this Exorcist type thing; Where I completely freak out and channel The Exorcist movie. (laughs) He saw that and thought, “Well, if she can do that, she can do this,” and offered it to me.

I’d never heard of them. I didn’t know anything about it. It was a very low-budget movie but I read the script and thought it was so laugh-out-loud funny! I said to myself, “who cares if we’re going to sit around in a park and have no trailers and get paid 35 cents. It is so funny and it’s hard to find scripts that are that funny, then or now. I was eager to do it.

Of course, no one knew at the time that it would become what it has become. Even when it first came out in theaters, nobody knew. It was a small release and it was just a very slow build into what the film has become. Now, I think I can safely say, for any of us even, we get recognized the most for these roles. Even Brian Cox who plays Captain O’Grady in Super Troopers. He’s done so much stuff. He’s a legit actor who’s done crazy respectable movies and theater and everything, and even he says, “nobody recognizes me ever for anything compared to this. I get recognized and stopped everywhere I go for this movie,” and, of course, he didn’t see that coming either.

DC: Speaking of being recognized for other roles, after the success of the first film, you went on to several different and exciting projects including a couple of recurring roles on Boston Legal and Bones, and then also you got into writing your own pilots. Being involved in so many different aspects of film and television, what did you find most enjoyable, writing or being in front of the camera?

Photo Credit: Nick Hudson

MC: The writing has really coincided with a time in my life that I had children. I was either pregnant or I had a very young child to take care of and, to be honest, I’m just emerging from that now. It has been a wonderful, creative avenue for me during that phase. It’s hard to be 9 months pregnant and on camera, and I have ginormous babies. It’s not a cute, adorable pregnancy. (laughs)

It’s been really creatively rewarding to write my own stories, create my own characters, and to be in charge of the direction of a project. That being said, I miss the acting side. Now, I feel like I’m coming to a place where I’m going to do what these guys [Broken Lizard] have so successfully done, which is to merge the two.

A lot of people have successfully found ways to merge the two and I just wasn’t there yet because I was so preoccupied on a personal level. Now, I feel like it’s a good time to do both because I really love both writing and acting equally. I’m hoping to go forward doing both.

DC: So now, seventeen years after the first film was released, the sequel is finally here! Why do you think now is the right time for Super Troopers 2?

MC: All of this crowd-funding stuff is still a pretty recent phenomenon. I used to run into the guys and ask them, “what are doing to your fans?” I think they get recognized for Super Troopers everywhere they go and maybe they didn’t realize the scope of passion that there was from the fans. Being sort of an insider but also an outsider, I was able to see it more clearly. I’ve been a part of a lot of great things and I’m getting stopped for Super Troopers everywhere I go.

I kept saying to them, “if you put it to your fans, I swear to God that money will come.” They wanted to do it, I just think that they were trying to figure out when to do it. Then, of course, when they finally did put it out there to fans and they saw the response, they made their money and then tripled it! The response was insane on everything they’ve put out there. It’s all because of the fans and I think it’s a really good time to be more in touch with fans than people were fifteen or sixteen years ago when a normal sequel would have occurred.

DC: Did working on Super Troopers 2 feel any different knowing that the fans helped make it happen because it was something they so badly wanted to exist?

MC: Yeah! The spirit and energy behind the film was one of pure excitement. When you do a little indie film that you’re personally financing, you have no idea if anyone’s ever going to give a rat’s ass that it comes out. So many indies just get lost in the shuffle and no one ever sees them. We were super passionate and excited about the first film because it was so funny but there was still that chance that it would never see the light of day.

Then, you do a movie like this where you know that the fan expectations are so high and that the excitement about it even coming to fruition is so high – it’s fun to be involved in anything like that.

DC: For sure! Fans of the first film are definitely super excited about the sequel coming out but being that it has been such a long time there’s a whole new audience that is going to be experiencing these characters and this crazy world for the first time. How do you think the new generation of moviegoers is going to react to the Super Trooper 2 shenanigans?

MC: Especially since it was financed by the die-hard fans, it was really made for them. I think it’s kind of similar to a film like Caddyshack in that it’s a timeless movie. The next generation discovers it and the generation after that and so on. For a long time, there was a specific demographic of people who knew the Super Troopers movie. If you were in college in 1999, I know you know Super Troopers. Now though, it’s totally cracked wide open. People from college today to 45-50 years old are all kinds of fair game to be the target demographic for this movie. It really is timeless in a lot of ways.

DC: I agree, absolutely. Let’s talk specifically about your character. When we met Ursula in the first film, she and Foster [played by Paul Soter] just started their unique Romeo and Juliet style of relationship. No spoilers obviously, can you tell us about your character and about her relationship currently with Foster?

MC: Minor spoiler alert, but I’m not in very much of this movie. I had just had a baby so it was not ideal timing for me. Seventeen years in the making and I just had a baby two weeks before filming. (laughs) I’m not in a ton of the movie but I will say that the love is alive between Foster and Ursula!

DC: Yay!

Photo Credit: Todd Williamson/January Image

MC: (laughs) I think the dynamic was always that I was the level-headed, normal person in the film and they were all up to no good. I would say that dynamic is pretty consistent in this movie as well. Even if it’s a small part of the movie, the dynamic continues to stay alive.

DC: By the way, I loved that about your character from the first film. The guys were really, pretty much, out of their minds and then the one female character was the strong, level-headed normal one. I loved that. That was fantastic.

MC: Yes! When we were at the LA premiere, it was mainly fans that were at the screening since that was part of the Indiegogo perks. I had a couple come up to me and they were dressed in their uniforms. They were Chicago PD. The woman came up to me and gave me a Chicago PD hat, which my son is over the moon about, and she said exactly what you just said. She said, “I just want you to know, it’s really great for us, as female cops, to have a really strong role model in the media, and someone that we can all look to that’s out there that’s representative of females in the force.” It really meant a lot to me. It was really fun and I was happy that the character can serve that purpose.

DC: Definitely! So, here at Fan Fest News, we’re a site that’s for fans, by fans, meaning we celebrate the things that we love and that our readers love today in pop culture. With that said, what are some things (tv shows, movies, music, books, etc.) in pop culture that you fangirl over or that you love?

MC: This is a hard question! I would say I fangirl over Guillermo del Toro. My 8-year-old son is a huge fan and we recently went to see an exhibit featuring his work. He fuses the horror genre with a human drama genre in a way that is really pretty magical. My son and I watched The Shape of Water together and he loved it. We’re big fans. I’m also a big fan of Barry on HBO, especially being that I’m sort of in that bubble of writer-actors who are finding their niche. I’m a big fan of his [Bill Hader] to begin with. Then, with also being an actor, having gone through acting classes and auditioning, etc – it was very relatable and it’s pretty funny.

DC: If you had to sum up Super Troopers 2 in just three words, what three words would you choose?

MC: Well, “Shenanigans,” would definitely have to be one of them. There are ample shenanigans in this film. Then, I would say, “Meets Expectations.” There’s a very, very high bar set for this film. It’s really funny and maintains a lot of that charm from the first film. I think the fans will be very pleased.

DC: That’s great to hear! I can’t wait to see it. Last question for you. Do you have any upcoming projects or anything you’re currently working on that you’d like to share with our readers?

MC: I’m actually in the middle of writing two different things – One for Warner Bros., and one for Sony. I’m not sure when those will be out in the world, but I will hopefully be able to do some press around that soon. Right now, they’re works in progress!

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Thank you, Marisa Coughlan, for taking time out of your incredibly busy schedule to speak with us here at Fan Fest News! Make sure you check out Marisa and the Broken Lizard gang in Super Troopers 2 in theaters nationwide right meow!