Interview: director and star of “Boondock Saints II”

A&E speaks with writer-director Troy Duffy and actor Sean Patrick Flannery.

Films PHOTO COURTESY STAGE 6 FILMS

Films PHOTO COURTESY STAGE 6 FILMS

Tony Libera

Ten years ago, first time writer/director Troy Duffy made a small indie flick called âÄúThe Boondock Saints.âÄù Few people saw the film during its incredibly short-lived theatrical run, and it looked certain that DuffyâÄôs baby was doomed to the realm of obscurity. Yet somehow, despite all the tribulation, âÄúThe Boondock SaintsâÄù amassed a loyal following. Dazzled by the gun-slinging MacManus brothers, fans hungered for a follow-up, and Duffy was all too happy to oblige them. The sequel, âÄúThe Boondock Saints II: All Saints DayâÄù hits theaters Nov. 13. A&E sat down with Duffy and one of the stars of the film, Sean Patrick Flannery, to talk about sequels, style and cult status. Why did you want to make a sequel and why now after a decade? Troy Duffy: I would have done it earlier if we could, but there was some pretty serious legal stuff. We sued the people that financed and distributed âÄúBoondock Saints 1.âÄù Wrapped into that lawsuit were the sequel rights. It lasted for five years and at the end of the day everybody we sued settled with us for undisclosed amounts. Still, sequels have an iffy track record, so why make another film? TD: Because of that fan base, man. If youâÄôre lucky enough to have a fan base and they tell you what they want, you do it 100 percent of the time or youâÄôre retarded. So, where did the plot for the sequel come from? ThereâÄôs a lot of background on Il Duce in this one. TD: You just sit down and make shit up âÄî from deep within the creative depths of my soul, sir, thatâÄôs where it came from. [Laughs] And part of it was a direct response to the fans. They were so curious about Il Duce, Billy ConnollyâÄôs character, and they had so many questions about him. I knew going in that we were going to answer those questions in the sequel. You managed to get pretty much your entire cast back for the sequel. Did you have any trouble getting the crew back together? SPF: Well, weâÄôre friends anyway, so as soon as the lawsuit was over I found out about it. [Troy] called and he said, âÄúWeâÄôre ready,âÄù and IâÄôm like, âÄúCool, letâÄôs go.âÄù There was no big negotiation; he [expletive]-ing knew I would do it. We all talked; everybody was like, âÄúWeâÄôre game; letâÄôs do it.âÄù ThereâÄôs a new major character, Special Agent Eunice Bloom. Why didnâÄôt you just bring back Willem Dafoe? Why bring in Bloom to perform the same task? TD: Willem and I actually worked on a couple of drafts of this together. It just wasnâÄôt working. After you put a guy in a dress, he goes over to the dark side and he murders, heâÄôs kind of experienced the full character arc. What else are you going to do with him? ThereâÄôs an overarching theme of betrayal in âÄúThe Boondock Saints 2.âÄù Was this in any way a response to âÄúOvernight,âÄù a less than flattering documentary about you? TD: No. Betrayal has been a gold mine in film for many years, my friend. No, the documentary had no effect on the creative of this film, and it wouldnâÄôt have because itâÄôs basically a lie; itâÄôs a deception. ItâÄôs just one of those things, man; it happened; it sucked. I made my movie and fans are loving it, so IâÄôm happy. The first âÄúBoondock SaintsâÄù had a lot of preproduction troubles. How did the process differ this time around? Did you feel better equipped to handle the bullshit? TD: In terms of setting up the deal, which was all the preproduction trouble we had in the first one, it went slick as Hell because of the fan base. The first time we didnâÄôt have that. We were starting from zero. âÄúBoondockâÄù became a financial juggernaut because of the fan base, so Hollywood wanted to make this movie. This time around they were shoving a camera in my hand. Why do you think âÄúBoondock SaintsâÄù has such a following with the college crowd? Sean Patrick Flannery: I think itâÄôs the brotherly camaraderie; theyâÄôd do absolutely anything for each other. That, and also I think these guys do what everybody secretly wants somebody to do occasionally. I think you watch the news and you really do think, somebody should fucking kill that mother[expletive]er. I donâÄôt know somebody that doesnâÄôt think that, whether theyâÄôre black, white, male, female, liberal, Republican, whatever. ThereâÄôs a moment in time when you look at the TV like, what the fuck? That guy should die. And these guys do that. So, itâÄôs a little bit of a fantasy, but itâÄôs a thousand different things. How do you guys feel about the âÄòcultâÄô label? SPF: There isnâÄôt a bigger badge. TD: Cult is the coolest word in film. ItâÄôs the coolest [expletive]ing word. SPF: ItâÄôs one thing for a film to make 100 million dollars with a lot of advertising, and a lot of push, and a lot pressure and a lot of big name stars. ItâÄôs another thing for a movie with no stars to make 100 million dollars when a studio just put it in Blockbuster with no advertising. ThatâÄôs huge, man. ThereâÄôs not a bigger badge. I donâÄôt know many people that have âÄúJurassic ParkâÄù tattoos, but people got âÄúBoondockâÄù tattoos, you know what I mean? I once read an article that said âÄúThe Boondock SaintsâÄù was all style and no substance. How do you respond to that? SPF: There are people that will hail this as the most genius thing ever shot; there are people that will say itâÄôs the biggest pile of [expletive]ing blown-up crap theyâÄôve ever seen. There are people that look at a performance of mine and say, âÄúThat made me shudder, shake and cry,âÄù and then there are other people that say, âÄúI didnâÄôt really believe that.âÄù You hear it all, so you really have to discard pretty much all of that. You realize nobodyâÄôs ever going to bat .1000. TD: If you suddenly became a huge writer tomorrow, you werenâÄôt writing articles anymore, you were writing books, would you rather have the critics like you, and have your book be read pretty much solely by critics, or would you rather have millions of fans love you and think that what you did was truly special? SPF: Films are made for people. TheyâÄôre made for viewers, not for critics. One last question: âÄúThe Boondock Saints 2âÄù strongly implies a third entry; will you complete the trilogy? TD: I wanted to leave the door open, for sure. As for having it written, itâÄôs going to take years. Would you do another one, Sean? [Expletive] yes. Of course, man.