Yannick Bisson brought a dynamic, over-the-top, and hilarious menace to the character of Swallows, an evil beverage manufacturer who squared off against Leo Fafard's titular werewolf-cop in last week's release Another WolfCop.
Bisson, best known for his long-running role as upright Detective William Murdoch on Murdoch Mysteries, got to keep the sharp wardrobe but change basically everything else about his approach to a character.
Bisson joined ComicBook.com for a brief Q&A about his villainous role in the film.
ComicBook.com: How much fun was it to deliver that incredibly over-the-top opening? That was a hell of a note to start the film on.
Yannick Bisson: Yeah. I don't get a lot of opportunities to do that type of stuff so I was really, really going for it. I was chewing the scenery and giving it all she's got.
It's got to be fun to play a character who is so over the top that you can't possibly break the reality of the movie -- because no matter what you do, it's probably going to be about a half a level below the writing.
Yeah, that's right. That's the tricky thing, is finding that middle ground and threading the needle: doing something that's memorable, that's fun, that you enjoy doing, that's ni keeping with the tone but that people are going to enjoy as part of the overall.
Do you think that your experience doing animated work has helped with that? I feel like obviously you have to be able to turn it up, especially when you're playing multiple characters to differentiate.
That's a really good point. I hadn't really thought about that. I had it all bottled up in there, and it's been brewing for many, many years, and I just let it loose.
You make a very valid point. I have done a lot of animated stuff over a 30-year period, and you do have to go much bigger on that stuff in order for it to come across. So yeah, you're probably right.
Are you up for it if they call you back in a year and go, "okay, man: WolfCop in Space. Come back!
Oh, absolutely. Those guys and I have become friends and we've actually partnered up on some other stuff so I'd be happy to revisit. I think we've built a little bit of space into it so that that could happen. WolfCop is such a great IP, and such a great franchise, that I wouldn't be surprised if it keeps going on and on. I would love to be involved.
With a franchise where all of the characters are larger than life, how was it to bounce off of Leo [Fafard]? I feel like you guys were diametrically opposed in terms of your extremely well-spoken and well-turned-out villain -- and even when he's not a werewolf, he's very much a down-to-earth guy who curses and has a blue collar job.
Yeah, he's gruff. God knows how he became a cop.
But I think, at the same time, this happens a lot in storytelling, where you have these people that assume a little too much. They assume they're smarter than every other hick in town and so on. We have to do that. We have to have the complete polar opposites in term of tone and upbringing or whatever you want to call it.
I think it came off pretty well, because he does such a great job. It's even more solidified the second time around. Everybody, I think, has really settled into their roles nicely.
Most people probably know you for Murdoch, because it's been running so long and you are actually the title character -- but you're one of these actors who has managed to stay incredibly, incredibly busy while also being the title character in something. Do you have moments where you're just half awake and you're literally saying "Murdoch" or is that a rarity?
Oh, yeah. Yeah, definitely. When I start gearing up to do each new season of Murdoch, my wife will often catch me out. I start speaking differently. I start enunciating, and start using certain highbrow words, and things like that. I start getting in the zone. I don't want to say auto-pilot, but I take it on and that occupies a lot of my brain.
It's difficult to let your focus shift, and keep pushing forward on some of your other creative ventures, or pop out and film a commercial.
You end up on set and the director will say to me, "Feel free to move around if you want." I'm like, "Oh yeah. I can do that. This is a different character. I can do that." There isn't this stiff, bolt-upright guy with a stiff-upper-lip. So I do have to get shaken out of it a little bit. That was one of the things that was fun about doing WolfCop was that I was able to have a certain type of body language and move around. Even the way that you enunciate words is different. You're able to just be despicable and as different as I could possibly be to Murdoch.
Tonally, this is very, very different, too. This film is kind of self aware in a way that few movies are outside of the low budget horror realm. Is it fun to go in and almost break the fourth wall with the level of self awareness that's going on?
Oh, absolutely. I cut my teeth on that as a kid. I did a sitcom, and I really enjoyed looking for different ways to be funny -- lifting that off of the page and just really expanding on it in a way that with procedural and drama, you can't do as much. You can improve some things, but it's only when we start doing the funny stuff that you start spitballing back and forth and looking for different things.1comments
The scene where Kevin Smith and I are going back and forth and he's being poisoned, we kind of did a bit of that where they just let us go and say as many different responses as possible. It was a fast, "give me your 20 funniest things that you could say right now." It sadly didn't all get used, 'cause it was some really fun times sitting there imagining up stuff.
That's when it starts to really cook. You have his type of tone that you could literally turn and wink at the camera and it would work, that's a lot of fun, man. It's all a sudden, the lid's taken off and Lord knows what's going to happen.