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A new ‘Outpost’: ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ star looks back at making his film directorial debut at Priest Lake

Aug. 12, 2021 Updated Fri., Aug. 13, 2021 at 8:23 a.m.

From “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” to Priest Lake. The distance, 2,626 miles, is considerable, and the destinations are quite different. The same can be said for the comedy and horror genres.

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” star Joe Lo Truglio understands. The veteran actor, who has appeared in acclaimed comedic movies such as “Superbad,” “Wet Hot American Summer” and “I Love You, Man,” is making his feature film directorial debut with the horror project “Outpost.”

The movie was shot in Priest Lake and on Sundance Mountain from July 12-29.

“It’s a beautiful community,” Lo Truglio said while calling from his Los Angeles home. “I found everyone in the area very kind, curious and hospitable. We went to the top of the mountain and made a movie that is very different from what I’m known for.”

But there is a fine line between comedy and horror. There’s the misdirect, followed by the punchline or the scare. “That’s absolutely true since both elicit immediate reactions,” Lo Truglio said. “There is nothing like getting a laugh or a scream.

“They both make you feel good. I’ve been a horror fan since I was 13. I was into horror before I got into comedy. Horror made me interested in movies and filmmaking. This film has been in the works for 37 years. I had to make ‘Outpost.’ ”

It’s a passion project for Lo Truglio, 50, who financed the film himself. “Due to the success I’ve had with ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ and films I’ve been in, I’m fortunate enough to make this movie, and I couldn’t have made it in a cooler place.”

Lo Truglio laughed when waxing about the locale. “When we arrived on June 26 (for pre-production), my unit production manager, Jay Smith, looked at me when we got to the top of (Sundance Mountain). He said, ‘When this is all over, we’re going to have a long talk about production.’

“He was not thrilled with the process of how we were going to get the equipment and Porta Potties up 6,300 feet, but it worked. We forged bonds. We battled in the trenches working 14 hour days. I loved every minute of the experience in the panhandle of Idaho. Northern Idaho is a beautiful place.”

Spokane and Coeur d’Alene impressed Lo Truglio, as well. “We enjoyed both of those cities during our first week of pre-production,” Lo Truglio said. “I had some amazing meals at the Bluebird in Coeur d’Alene. I had some clams, grilled octopus and pasta that was just delicious.

“And Spokane is such a beautiful city. I kayaked up the Spokane River and went to the Trent Bridge. I floated down the river and took a nap, and it was quite amazing. I love the town. I went to Clinkerdagger and had a great steak dinner.”

Lo Truglio is a history buff and is taken with Spokane’s past. “All that has happened in what was an old logging town is just wild,” he said. “You look at the history there in the 19th century, and it’s just awesome to soak up all of that. You look at the history and the architecture and the river. There is no city like Spokane.”

Expect Lo Trugio to screen “Outpost,” which he noted is cut from the same freaky cloth as horror classics such as “The Shining,” “The Amityville Horror” and “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” in Spokane.

“We would like to show the movie to the cast and crew and whomever else who would be interested when the film is finished,” Lo Truglio said.

With the word that a movie studio in Spokane might be in the works thanks to actor Neal McDonough, who starred in and produced “Boon” shot locally last winter, Lo Truglio would like to direct another film in the area.

“Yeah, I heard that a studio might be coming to Spokane, and that would be awesome,” Lo Truglio said. “I would love to come back, and I would encourage anyone to shoot in that area.”

Before Lo Truglio returns, he must complete the eighth and final season of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” which premiered on Fox on Thursday. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” changed my life for the better in so many ways,” Lo Truglio said. “It’s hard to believe it’s ending, but I can’t help but look back.

“The whole cast, we went through life changes during this amazing journey that will forever be imprinted on our psyche. It was very rewarding and validating. I knew Andy (Samberg) and Chelsea (Peretti) since we traveled in the same circle. It’s hard to believe that this is it for us.”

Lo Truglio’s favorite memory, which he says he hasn’t mentioned often, was his bug stunt. “There is an episode in which roaches come out of my pant leg. I needed to put a tube into my pants courtesy of a bug wrangler. After I did the stunt, I had a costume change, and I discovered that there were roaches in my underwear. When the wardrobe person heard me jump, she asked what was going on, and when I told her, she screamed just hearing about it.

“That’s one of the many memories I had from ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine.’ It’s a shame that it has to end, but change is good. I can do other things like make movies and hopefully make another one in Northern Idaho or Spokane. I would love to come back.”

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