IT HAS been a while since John Jarratt was giving handy home hints on Better Homes and Gardens, but the Aussie acting veteran says there's no doubt he can still use a circular saw.
"It's not chopping off lumps of wood, it's chopping off lumps of people," he tells The Guide.
Jarratt has achieved cult status with the role of the psychopathic killer from 2005 film Wolf Creek, who has gone on to hunt down backpacker victims across the Australian Outback in the movie sequel Wolf Creek 2 and the TV series on streaming service Stan.
"The Outback is just a fantastic backdrop for this kind of scary stuff," Jarratt says.
"It's like the ocean, you know when you look at the ocean on a really bad, rough day day but it still looks inviting in a really crazy way?
"But if you jump in there you could drown, or in the desert point of view you could die of thirst. Or you could get eaten by a white pointer, or get killed by Mick Taylor. It's that sort of battle with nature and a fight for survival."
In season one, the hunter became the hunted when 19-year-old Eve (Lucy Fry) tracked Mick across the desert to seek revenge for the murder of her family. But Jarratt says the killer didn't learn anything from the experience.
"He never changes. He remains decidedly shallow," he says.
"If someone comes up and trades punches with him really well, he gets a lot out of that, he admires that but he doesn't learn anything. He just thinks, 'Wow that was a good game,' because it's all a game for him."
The villain has quite the game ahead of him in the new series which dangles a tantalising carrot in the form of a busload of tourists in front of Mick's nose and Jarratt says the variety on offer - people of different genders, nationalities and sexualities - will add to the hunt.
After taking out the bus driver, Mick will strand his new playthings in the merciless desert and go about picking them off one by one.
"He just finds these tourists, and unlike kangaroos, he doesn't just kill them. He lets them go and it's cat and mouse," Jarratt says.
"He just plays with them and has a lot of fun with them and lets them go to see how far they can get and see how far he can go without himself being hurt.
"It's just a big cat and mouse game.
"They're good fodder because they're just like feral animals and noxious weeds - they're in the Outback where they don't belong."
There are quite a few familiar faces among those on the tour bus, including Tess Haubrich (Alien: Covenant), Matt Day (Rake, Paper Giants), Charlie Clausen (Home & Away) and Ben Oxenbould (The Kettering Incident, The Code), whose strengths and weaknesses will add a few twists to the plot.
Meanwhile, Jarratt is happy playing the bad guy.
"As Stephen Curry said, it's just pretendies," he says.
"When you're a kid you like playing the bad guy and your sister or brother liked playing the good guy and you'd swap.
"The bad guy's always the fun one... there are a lot more levels and usually they've got a better sense of humour than the good-looking lead."
Season two of Wolf Creek premieres on Stan on Friday, December 15.
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