Filled with wild behavior, harsh language, and completely trashy people, the Canadian comedy series Trailer Park Boys did not initially appear to be an appealing series. However, audiences found humor in its main characters and fell in love with the residents of Sunnyvale Trailer Park.
The series, which debuted in Canada in 2001, established a growing audience and dedicated fan base early on. The success of its first six seasons led to the investment into a full-length motion picture: Trailer Park Boys: The Movie. Gaining the nickname The Big Dirty, the film followed the antics of Julian, Ricky, and Bubbles in their pursuit of one last big score so they can retire from a life of crime. As expected, nothing goes as planned for the friends, resulting in a ridiculous but hilarious adventure for viewers to enjoy.
However, behind the success of the film and overall cult following of the series as a whole, there are many behind-the-scenes secrets that many fans were not aware of. Though the film served as an extension of the series itself, it also stands as its own unique entry in the Trailer Park Boys franchise.
From the origins of the feature-length film to the controversies surrounding its stars, here are 15 Secrets Behind The Making Of The Trailer Park Boys Movie.
15 Trailer Park Boys: The Movie Is Not The First Movie Of The Franchise
After finding success on the TV series Trailer Park Boys, show creator and director Mike Clattenburg decided to expand the franchise to the big screen. Trailer Park Boys: The Movie (aka The Big Dirty) debut in 2006 as the first movie of the franchise. However, technically, this movie served as the second film for the series.
In 1999, the feature film Trailer Park Boys debuted at the Atlantic International Film Festival.
After catching the eye of producer Barrie Dunn, the film then became a 13-episode series. The original movie was later aired as a special in 1999. In addition, the three stars of the series and future big screen films worked together previously on the 1998 short film One Last Shot.
Although the film did not take place in the Trailer Park Boys world, it did serve as the first time actors Robb Wells, John Paul Tremblay, and John Dunsworth worked together.
14 There Were No Plans To Include Bubbles Originally
Fans of the series have come to expect the crazy antics of thick glasses-wearing, cat-loving character Bubbles. As one of the leading characters of the series, his transition into the feature film was expected by viewers. How could he not be a part of the film?
However, long before the series came to television, Bubbles (played by actor Mike Smith) almost didn’t make his debut in the show. Serving as one of the characters in Clattenburg’s short film The Cart Boy, his appearance on the show began as a recurring character.
Adding Bubbles to the cast added a new dynamic to the series beyond what was seen in the original film.
The eccentric character soon became part of the Trailer Park Boys family and an integral part of the feature film.
13 Some of The Supporting Cast Share Names With The Characters They Portray
Part of the appeal of the Trailer Part Boys lies with each character’s quicks. Their mannerisms and trademark phrases have added to their popularity with viewers. From Ricky’s infamous “Rickyisms” to Julian’s ever-present Cuba Libre in hand, their uniqueness makes them stand out from other comedic characters on TV. However, it is not just their mannerisms that make them stand out.
Some of the minor characters on the show stand out due to their odd connections with their real-life stars.
Many of the characters’ names are the same as the actors and actresses that portray them. Julian’s on-again, off-again girlfriend Lucy shares her name with the actress Lucy DeCoutere. Other pairs include Lucy’s best friend Sarah (played by actress Sarah E. Dunsworth), Tyrone or “T” (played by actor Tyrone Parsons), and Cory (played by actor Cory Bowles).
12 Tributes To Classic Canadian Rock Bands
Despite its attempt to appeal to a broader audience, Trailer Park Boys: The Movie never strays from its Canadian roots. The fiction Sunnyvale Trailer Park in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia serves as the backdrop for the series and the movie. Although certain elements of life in Canada can be found throughout the movie, only true fans can appreciate the awesome Canadian rock band cameos in the set.
According to IMDB.com, “In the scenes showing the marquee of the movie theater, all of the movie titles are the names of songs by Canadian rock bands the Tragically Hip and Rush.”
These nods to the famous bands were taken one step further when Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip and Alex Lifeson of Rush were included in the film in cameo roles. Long live Canadian rock!
11 Timeline and Actor Conflicts With The Show
When the Trailer Park Boy: The Movie released, fans of the series eagerly flocked to the theaters to watch it. However, some fans were confused when watching the film given its different timeline.
The film, released in 2006, fell between season 6 and season 7 of the tv series. However, the events of the movie were based on an alternate timeline. Some fans believe the movie took place somewhere between season 4 and season 5. Others disagree, arguing that the film fits better in the break between season 5 and season 6. Confused yet?
Well, to add to the inconsistent timeline, a change in one of the stars of the show cause even more questions. Jeanna Harrison-Steinhart, the actress who usually plays Trinity, did not appear in the film. The role was instead played by Lydia Lawson-Baird. Harrison-Steinhart then resumed the part on the TV series.
10 The Movie Vs. The Show
Given the separate timeline in Trailer Park Boys: The Movie, fans just assumed the film was non-canonical. Though they were few in number, specific details of the film directly conflicted with storylines from the series too.
Bubbles’ shed, for example, was depicted as being a mashup of several store-bought sheds. In the movie, it is shown to be made of varied materials including plywood, plastic, and lumber.
Characters Lucy and Sarah have varied plot points as well. In the movie, they seem to have had several romantic encounters in the past vs. their previously shown platonic BFF relationship on the show. Additional varied storylines include J-Roc being successful in completing his greasy films (movie only) and origin of the funding for Lucy’s enhancement surgery (from the owner of a gentlemen’s club in the movie).
9 It gets even more confusing
Just to review, Trailer Park Boys: The Movie did not follow the established timelines and plots of the series. Given these variances were so noticeable at times, the film can be seen as a stand-alone adventure for these characters, right? Wrong again.
Not only did some of the elements of the non-canonical movie show up on the series but also in some of the future films as well.
As reported by IMDB.com, “…[E]vents and moments from this movie are referenced later on in episodes and the other films i.e. a wedding photo of Ricky and Lucy, which is seen in Ray's boat in Countdown to Liquor Day.”
How’s that for confusing? For any fan that may not have seen the movie yet, let this serve as a head’s up for you. Good luck keeping it all straight!
8 They Take Method Acting To The Extreme
When learning a new movie role, many actors choose to employ method acting in their preparations. By delving deep into the life and mindset of the character, many professionals feel they connect with their persona better, and deliver an exceptional onscreen portrayal. However, the actors of Trailer Park Boys: The Movie often employed this technique for a very different reason: to confuse the heck out of their fans.
Given the mockumentary setup for the series and film, some viewers mistook the show as being a “forced” reality program.
They even believed the characters were real. To add to this common mistake, actors Tremblay, Smith, and Wells would often stay in character while making public appearances. According to Trailerpark Wikia, the behind-the-scenes features of the movie show that “steps are taken to imply that the film crew is there to document real life.” Is that brilliant or insane?
7 The Movie Broke Records Upon Its Release
Given its often crude humor, jokes and very crass language (the f-bomb is dropped in this movie 163 times), the audience for the film seemed to be very limited. Even the addition of revealing moments in the movie added to its “trashy” humor and appeal. However, dedicated followers of the series made an impact at the box office.
According to IMDB.com, “Its $1.3 million opening weekend is the highest ever for an English-language Canadian film, beating the previous record holder Men with Brooms (2002) at $1 million (all quotes in Canadian dollars).” That’s pretty impressive.
Not only was the film “the highest-grossing movie in Canada for its first weekend in release October 7–8, 2006” but it became the “the 11th top-grossing film in North America for that weekend.” The Trailer Park Boys would be proud.
6 American Limits
Even with its impressive numbers at the box office, the film itself was not appealing to American moviegoers. With a much smaller fan base as compared to its usual Canadian audiences, the makers of Trailer Park Boys: The Movie had to change their plans for debut in the United States.
The film did not receive a nationwide release in theaters.
The movie only appeared in regional theaters in New York and Los Angeles. Although this put a damper on the possibility of substantial box office profit, the film still generated enough interest to fill theaters. Not only did the movie attract original viewers but created a buzz for a new audience as well.
The big-screen debut helped the series become more popular with American viewers and triggered a dedicated following in the United States. The film grossed $3.87 million in box office totals overall.
5 The budget went up
Although the film did not recoup its full production costs (the original budget was $5 million), its lasting effects helped not only the film series but the TV series as well.
Thanks to the profitability of the film, the additional money was invested directly into the series.
As reported by Trailerpark Wikia, the profits from the movie led to the “the camera definition getting a lot better starting season 6.” The extra funds went into buying better equipment, leading to the improvement of the overall visual appeal of the show. Also, the gained popularity of the film led to the creation of two additional films in the series: Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day and Trailer Park Boys: Don't Legalize It.
4 The Final Big Screen Appearance of Trevor
With its variations in storylines and plot points, fans were happy to see that the characters they grew to love appear in the movie. Although some cast members only lasted for a few seasons on the tv show, the majority of the main cast debuted in the feature film. However, the film does hold a special place for character Trevor. The movie served as the last big screen appearance for both the character and actor Michael Jackson.
According to The Huffington Post, Jackson “left the show because he said he was being paid too little and complained that he was mistreated on set… By the end of filming Trailer Park Boys: The Movie in 2006, Jackson wrote ‘the only thing that could make me feel worse about my life would be to play bass for Nickelback.’”
Ouch! Jackson concluded the role in deason 6 of the series and left the show.
3 The fate of Jim Lahey
The cast of the series (and eventual) films remained intact for many years. The stars grew closer over the years and became a (somewhat dysfunctional) family. However, one of the stars from the movie passed away in the years following its debut.
Actor John Dunsworth, known for his role as trailer park supervisor Jim Lahey, passed away in 2017.
He starred in twelve seasons of the series as a main character and appeared all of the feature films including Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day and Trailer Park Boys: Don't Legalize It. His passing took place after the completion of the twelfth season.
The cast issued a statement regarding his death on official Trailer Park Boys Twitter account: “We're in shock and heartbroken by the sudden loss of our dear friend John Dunsworth. We respect the family's wishes for privacy at this time.”
2 The Movie Actually Won Awards
Though the series now has a cult following, the initial reaction to Trailer Park Boys: The Movie left a bad taste in some American critics’ mouths. Rotten Tomatoes reported a 57% Tomatometer score for the film - not surprising from a movie with such a narrow (and perverse) appeal. However, the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television recognized the success of the film at the 27th Genie Awards in 2007.
The movie took home two awards at the Genies: Best Motion Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.
In addition, actor Hugh Dillion (known for playing character Sonny) won the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role. American critics may not have loved the movie, but Canada definitely supported the show. Canada loves itsTrailer Park Boys!
1 Controversies Surrounding Two of The Film's Stars
Although the movie, as a whole, met with little controversy surrounding its release, two of its stars became involved in the most significant scandal in the franchises’ history.
In 2016, Bubbles actor Mike Smith was arrested on domestic abuse charges.
The Daily Mail reported that Smith “was detained by Hollywood Police at 1.15am after witnesses reported a man and woman fighting in a bathroom at the Roosevelt Hotel.” However, in response to his arrest, actress Lucy DeCoutere quit the series. Stating that she had been a victim of abuse in the past, the actress felt uncomfortable with working with an alleged abuser.
She released a statement on Twitter announcing her departure and said, “If I find out that somebody is abusive, I cut them out of my life. It's very easy.” Smith returned to the show despite the controversy surrounding him.
Do you have any other Trailer Park Boys: The Movie trivia to share? Leave it in the comments!