Of the many things that separate Dave Lawrence and Paul Spence from their big-screen alter egos, one of the most obvious is patience. In the 2002 film Fubar, the duo introduced the world to Terry (Lawrence) and Dean (Spence), a pair of halfwit headbangers not exactly known for making careful, intelligent decisions. Speaking in thick hoser accents, Terry and the Deaner left a trail of beer and drug-fuelled mayhem in their wake and, in the process, earned the improvised mock documentary Canadian cult status.
It would have been easy for Lawrence and Spence, along with director and co-writer Michael Dowse, to churn out a quick sequel and capitalize on Fubar's unexpected success. Instead, the trio waited eight years to resurrect their beloved characters in Fubar 2, which opened last week. Lawrence says he and his fellow Fubar-ians felt Terry and Dean deserved better than a half-assed follow-up.
"We were just taking our time with the idea," says Lawrence, who's instantly recognizable as Terry, even when speaking over the phone from Calgary. "When we'd had enough time to work with it, we were like, 'Hey, we think we know what to do with these guys.'
"And there was a fan base. Besides the fact that we could do it, there were people who wanted it."
Those people will be pleased to note that Terry and Dean have learned virtually nothing in the years since the first film, when Dean's loss of a testicle to cancer had them (briefly) questioning their hard-living existence. Fubar 2 serves up plenty of Pilsener, pot, heavy metal, acid freakouts and chainsaw-powered destruction---in the first 10 minutes alone.
For Spence, who's much more soft-spoken than the character he plays, this aspect of the Fubar movies allows him to explore a different side of himself.
"I don't speak with the Deaner kind of tongue," says Spence. "But at the same time, that guy is still somewhere in me. It's always smouldering somewhere in the brain and soul."
Based on the experiences of Lawrence and Spence, there's a Terry or a Deaner inside a whole lot of Canadians. Spence says he's continually amazed at the cross-section of people who recognize him and his screen partner. "Cops love us. Schoolteachers. Women in their 40s, we're signing their boobs in Edmonton," Spence says. "That's just the thing that slays me about these characters. Somehow they're lovable but totally offensive at the same time."
That lovability is the secret weapon of the Fubar films. The partying and intellectual deficiencies of the main characters elicit laughs, but at the core the movies are about the bonds of friendship. In the sequel, these bonds are tested by new challenges: Terry and Dean head to Fort McMurray in search of oil patch riches and find that hard work suits one of them far more than the other, and Terry's new relationship with a strip club waitress.
Terry may not be the most obvious romantic lead, but Lawrence says he can imagine women being fascinated by him.
"I can see why some girls want me to sign their boobs, 'cause [Terry's] pretty soft on the inside even though he's got this exterior shell. I think for girls that have that take-care instinct, to take care of their man, Terry seems like the kind of guy they could take care of."
Lawrence adds that Terry is also "kind of a sucker," the kind of guy whose puppy-dog devotion gets him ragged on by his friends and steamrolled by his lover.
Dean's development, meanwhile, hinges on a plot development that once again involves his balls. According to Spence, an update on the happenings inside the Deaner's scrotum was required to satisfy fans' curiosity. "People would see me in the street, and of course I'm not the Deaner, but they'd say, 'So man, what's up with your other nut?'" he says. "People literally wanted to know what was happening with his second nut.
"It was this strange kind of focus on that part of his anatomy that seemed like a natural avenue to explore."
Equally natural for Lawrence and Spence was setting Fubar 2 in Alberta's oil fields---both actors spent part of their youth working on the pipelines.
"Having actually had a lot of experience welding pipe together, spacing, just basically being labourers on the pipeline gang, it made it a lot easier to come up with these scenes that draw out the universe of the labour world, where you're very much isolated, laying down this pipeline in the middle of the Boreal forest and it's just you and 15 to 25 other guys, day in, day out for 15-hour days," Spence says. "We've done that, so we knew that world."
Lawrence agrees that he and Spence took advantage of an opportunity to write what they knew. But more importantly, he says, Fort Mac was a logical pilgrimage for Terry and Dean to make.
"It's a quick cash grab and that really seems to lend itself truthfully to these guys," Lawrence says. "There's lots of Terrys and Deaners up there, so it's a no-brainer."
It would also appear to be a no-brainer, if Fubar 2 duplicates the success of its predecessor, to bring back Terry and Dean for a third film. But unlike their characters, Lawrence and Spence have well-functioning brains, and those brains aren't currently thinking about another sequel.
"We've jokingly talked about Fubar 3-Dean," says Spence. "But that would be the three-dimensional concert film of Dean's band Nightseeker on tour."
Spence is kidding, but there's always a chance Terry and Dean could return again. Just don't expect the Fubar creators to rush it.