HDD Exclusive Interview: Writer/Director Troy Duffy Discusses 'Boondock Saints I and II'

Posted Mon Mar 1, 2010 at 03:00 PM PST by

The long awaited return of the MacManus brothers hits Blu-ray on March 9, and High-Def Digest's own Tom Landy talks 'The Boondock Saints' and its sequel with writer/director Troy Duffy!

TL: Hi Troy, thanks for setting aside some time to answer a few questions for High Def Digest today. We really appreciate it.

TD: No problemo.

TL: How have you been lately?

TD: Run ragged, thanks for asking.

TL: For some of our readers and site members who may not be familiar with 'The Boondock Saints,' would you mind telling us a little bit of what the tale is all about?

TD: Vigilantism, executions, catholic ritual -- and cool Irish guys doing cool Irish shit.

TL: Did you have any inspiration to write and direct the movie?

TD: Poverty and frustration. I was living in a dump with my brother Taylor in Hollywood. Drugs, violence, and crime all around us. You start to feel helpless after a while, like you have no recourse. That was where the seed was planted.

TL: That makes sense. Were you also influenced by other films or filmmakers?

TD: Yes and no. Influenced by particular films I’d say. Got my favorites like everyone else. But if there is a director who I’d try to model my career after it would be Clint Eastwood (minus the acting angle of course).

TL: Was there anything you wanted to do in the movie that you weren't able to, either due to budgetary constraints, time factor, or other reasons?

TD: Yes, real in-camera stunt work. I’m a bit old school that way. Don’t like blue screen and it never looks quite right. Fans are very sophisticated these days. They can tell. I also like the excitement on set when you’re doing a big stunt. It raises the game for everyone.

TL: On the writing front, the movie is loaded with snappy, clever dialogue. Did you have most of it scripted or did you encourage improvisation?

TD: Not much time for improv on small indies like 'Boondock,' more is the pity. 95% of it was written but we’ll all come up with a good line in situation a couple times. Would love to have the time to experiment with improv in my next one.

TL: The Latin and butterfly tattoos add a nice touch to your characters. What is their significance, and how did you come up with that idea?

TD: Veritas and aequitas, truth and justice in Latin, respectively being on the brother’s trigger fingers is a bit literal, but what the hell. I’ll take it. Besides, not many know Latin so if your flick is good enough they will find out on their own. As for the butterfly, ripped it off from Papillon but extended the meaning in the sequel.

TL: Was it a hassle to keep them from smudging?

TD: They were what’re called transfers. Held up pretty nicely, if you got good make-up peeps. My wife Angela was doing make-up with a few other gals. She had that stuff tied down.

TL: At last, the MacManus boys are finally back in the long awaited 'Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day.' What does the story involve for the follow-up?

TD: A priest is murdered in Boston and the body is ritualized to make it look like the brothers did it, pennies in the eyes etc. They come out of hiding looking for some payback.

TL: Revenge is a dish best served Irish, I guess heh. Were you always intending to make a sequel and how long was it in the works?

TD: Yeah. But the fans actually made it possible. Boondock I is a financial juggernaut because of their support. The studios took notice. We were also involved in a lawsuit that lasted five years in which the sequel rights were tied.

TL: I didn't realize there was so much hassle. It's great to see that most of the original cast has returned, though. It must have been a blast working with everyone again.

TD: You said it. Like a damn family reunion!

TL: Is there anyone who survived the mayhem in the last film that you wanted to bring back this time but weren't able to?

TD: Nope! Got ‘em all, even Willem. Rocco died in the first film and we even brought him back in a couple dream sequences.

TL: That's great to hear they're back in some form at least. Where did filming take place?

TD: Toronto. A lot of indies go to Canada to stretch their budgets. We need it.

TL: What was your biggest challenge while shooting?

TD: We did a lot of new stuff that 'Boondock Saints' fans aren’t used to: female lead, period piece, flashbacks etc. Those were the nail biters to shoot because you just don’t know it they're going to fit until editing.

TL: What kind of bonus features should fans expect to see on the DVD and Blu-ray release?

TD: Massive. We shot virtually everything. People messed around with cameras on their own as well. I honestly feel that our behind the scenes stuff is very unique. Makes you feel a bit of what it was like. People have become skeptical of featurettes, with good reason. We decided to do it our own way.

TL: Is there a funny story that you have from filming that didn't make it into any of the bonus features?

TD: No.

TL: I've heard you're also in a band, correct?

TD: Was in a band. Now we’re out on a Boondock 10-year anniversary tour with a tour bus and everything. And yes, I jump on stage with my brother Taylor and do a few songs. We used one of his tracks in the sequel called Plastic Jesus. I have no intentions of changing careers but it's nice to have more than one creative outlet sometimes.

TL: Cool. Are any of your tracks included on the sequel?

TD: Yes. One from my old band which was also in 'Boondock Saints' called Holy Fool.

TL: Any plans to have the Saints go marching into a trilogy?

TD: Got some ideas percolating. Would like to spread my wings a bit and do a few others that I have written. We’ll see what happens.

TL: Well, thanks again for the interview. Do you have anything else you'd like to add?

TD: Seeing 'Boondock Saints: II' is like taking a playboy playmate to your senior prom and banging her afterward!

TL: Take it easy, Troy.

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Discs mentioned in this article: (Click for specs and reviews)
Boondock Saints (Blu-ray)
Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (Blu-ray)
Tags: Troy Duffy, Tom Landy, Sony (all tags)