Altered State Police: An Oral History of 'Super Troopers'

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Lemme: People come up to us and tell us about the Super Troopers drinking game or they would challenge you to chug maple syrup against them. You're in an IHOP and some stoners come up to you with the maple syrup containers and they want to chug against you. You're like, "Please, no." [Laughs]

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Chandrasekhar: Bouncers and bartenders are our best friends. There's no line in the country where they're not like, "Oh, you? Yeah, absolutely." The drinks are so often free. Owners will show up and keep bars open for us. We're dragged into freezers with joints. It's like a real hard-partying fanbase. It's been kind of fun to be part of that, honestly. 

Lemme: Once, I got pulled over doing 120 miles per hour and the cop looked in. He walks up to my window, really pissed, and says, "Do you have any idea how fast you were…Super Troopers?" [Laughs] I said, "You got me," and he said, "Oh my God. We play all those games you guys play. We play the repeater. We play the meow game." I said, "Bulletproof jockstrap?" And he goes, "Oh, we're not that crazy."

Long story short, he said, "So I got you doing 120, but I'm gonna let you out of this with a warning, and it's not because Super Troopers is my favorite movie of all time. And it's not because I'm nicknamed ‘Mac' after your character. It's because I don't feel like filling out any paperwork tonight." And then he said, "Are you in a hurry? Is that why you're driving like such an asshole?" So I said, "Nah, I just got this new car," and he said, "Well, can I trouble you for a photo and an autograph." So I got out of the car and we wound up taking selfies by the side of the road. A police car with its rollers on and my sports car. We have our arms around each other taking selfies and people are driving by like, "What the fuck?" And then he let me go. That's happened to all of us many times since then.

Heffernan: Except in Vermont. We heard that in Vermont, the cops don't like us. The Vermont State Police. [Laughs]

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Lemme: I was at a rock concert with the girl who is now my wife. Her favorite band was playing out here and we had pretty good seats. Halfway through the show, the lead singer stopped the concert. It was like that Bugle Boy jeans commercial back in the 90's. He stopped it and he's looking in my direction. My wife goes, "I think he's looking at you," and I said, "No."

Then he says, "Is that you?" Nobody knows what he's saying, so he says it again and I point to myself and say, "Me?" I'm like 100 feet away from him and he's like, "Holy shit! The Eye of the Jew! This guy made Super Troopers!" The whole place goes nuts. We had a little more of a dialogue, shouting across this rock club, and then they start the concert again. Next thing we know, the manager came out and said, "The guys want you backstage." Now this is my girlfriend's favorite band. We went backstage and partied with them after the concert and became friends with them. She was impressed, to say the least.

Chandrasekhar: Judd Apatow had seen Super Troopers and this pilot I'd made, so he called me in and asked me to do an episode of the show he was running, which just happened to be Undeclared. Mitch Hurwitz had seen the movie as well and he felt like I knew my way around a joke, so I got to direct several episodes of Arrested Development. I got to write my own show [Really], which I'm down in New Orleans right now directing the pilot for. Cheech & Chong's manager said, "Why don't we put their movie together with you guys?" So Kevin, Steve, and I are writing the next Cheech & Chong movie, and then I'll direct it. There's a nice intergenerational stoner marriage there. All that happened because people saw Super Troopers.

Super Troopers 2 Is Go!
Lemme: Yeah, the sequel is going to happen. We closed the deal with Fox and the script is written; pre-production will be when we get the money. It's a strange situation because the studio has given us the green light, but they're not financing the film. We're aware of all the bad press that came from Zach Braff's Kickstarter campaign, but then there's also Rob Thomas and the Veronica Mars situation. We are going to find the money for this. We've been approached by a number of people. It's a matter of figuring out the terms that are best for everybody.

Stolhanske: There was a time, right after the film came out, where we were asked to put on the uniforms and go promote the film. [Laughs] We got sent down to malls and tire stores in Australia, so there was a moment where we were like, "We are never putting these uniforms on again." And now we couldn't be more excited to put it back on. It was fun to write the screenplay because you know what the voices are. It's been fun to get back into character.

Chandrasekhar: I'm excited to shoot that movie knowing what I know now. Even making Super Troopers, it turned out that I knew how to make that movie, but at the time I didn't know that I knew how to make that movie. I was under a lot of intense, artistic tension. I had anxiety about, "Is this the right shot?" Super Troopers I lost 10 pounds. By the time I did The Dukes of Hazzard (2005), I gained 20 pounds because, by then, my mind was like, "You know what you're doing now."

I'm a student of sequels and I know what they did wrong when you see them. Usually what they try to do is make them glitzier and broader and all that stuff. Our approach is not going to be that. If anything, the mustaches will be a little bigger, it'll be a little tougher maybe, but we're just going to make a second one. We're not going to dye our hair blond and spike it up or anything. This is going to be just another cop story.

Heffernan: I think it's going to be very fun to grow that mustache back again and go be an asshole.

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