Interview: Boondock Saints II's Norman Reedus
After chatting with Sean Patrick Flannery last week it was obvious that there was something special about Boondock Saints. Iím not referring to the fact that the film, which barely got a run in the theaters, managed to grow into a sensational cult classic; rather that the success of the film had a profound effect on the actors that made us love it. Norma Reedus emphasized his gratitude for Troy Duffy casting him as Murphy McManus in the 1999 hit, but itís moviegoers that should be thankful for it let a talented actor share his craft with the world.
Norman may have held back when it came to divulging juicy Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day plot details and informed me thatís heís never seen Titanic (gasp), but heís still got a lot to say about the vast number of projects heís so passionate about. Itís been ten years since weíve seen Reedus as Murphy McManus and heís kept very busy over the intermediary years. Not only does Reedus have Pandorum hitting theaters on September 25th and All Saints Day on October 30th, heís also busy working on films through his own production company. The guy may be known as brother, kill and a saint, but thereís a lot more to him than that.
Howíd you get involved with the original Boondock Saints?
I was living in L.A. at the time and thereís scripts going around, different agents, managers and so forth and I read it and just really, really liked it. I went in and I met with Troy at the bar he was working at and it was just like a revolving door of actors going in and out of there and he and I hit it off. We liked each other and at one point it was these two actors and those two actors, me and another actor and Stephen Dorff and another actor and Sean Patrick Flannery and two other actors and he just sort of fought for me to get the part. At that point I hadnít really done a lot of movies so he definitely did me a favor.
Were you surprised it wound up with such an enormous fan base?
Yeah, totally! I mean, I knew we were doing something cool but I had no idea it would hit like that.
It took some time for the sequel to get off the ground. What was it like when you found out Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day officially got the green light?
Well, we were all excited. It was an on and off process forever and weíre all just really excited that it was really happening. I was especially excited for Troy because, you know, itís his baby and he wrote it, itís his characters and he caught the short end of the stick on a lot of topics but Iím just happy he got to do the second one and just getting the chance for people to see it. Itís a big deal.
Itís great that all of the key players returned for the second film. Would you have done it without Sean or Troy?
No. Not at all. It wouldnít have been the same movie. You canít really do that. Troy is the movie, you know what I mean, and Sean and I are the characters in Troyís movie so it wouldnít make sense to do it without any of those guys.
Did Clifton Collins Jr. and Julie Benz fit right in?
They fit in really well. Cliff was a friend of Sean, Troyís and I since way back when; I think around the time we did the first one. We knew that that role was written for Cliff all along and Julie, she stepped into sort of the same Ė itís not the same role as Willem played Ė but she stepped in with a huge set full of guys and she totally held her own and everyone loved her. She was great.
Is there any relation between her character and Willem Dafoeís?
I canít tell you that! Thatís giving away too much!
The credit sequence in the original film is accompanied by interviews during which people say whether they think the saints are good or evil. What would you say?
Iíd say they were good! Iíd want to join up. I can say that right? I canít say anything bad about me. Those were funny; I loved those. I actually ran into one of those guys on the street the other day. You know the guy that was like ĎLetís get busy!í Wait, whatíd he say? Something like ĎYeah, sign me up. Letís get busy!í I saw him on the street the other day and it was pretty funny.
Iím hoping to see something like that in the next film!
Yeah, we might; I donít know. I donít know if I can tell you stuff; I donít know how badly Troy would punch me out.
In that case Iíll let you off the hook with Boondock Saints. Can you tell me about your role in Pandorum?
People lose their mind out in deep space. You canít tell how long youíve been out there, whatís going on and youíre being chased by these creatures that have sort of Ė like with evolution through all of these years theyíve adapted to the inner workings of the ship. So, I play one of the people that are running from those people who have woken up out of a sleep chamber and heís running for his life basically. They run into me on the ship and Iím sort of trying to explain why the Ė I just saw the trailer on TV, Iím the one being dragged across the floor screaming ĎNo!í That movie is rough though because I was covered in oil the whole time and I was hanging from different things and it was totally painful and I was doing Boondocks at the same time so I was flying from Toronto to Berlin, back and forth, back and fourth. I thought I was going to die but the movie came out really good.
Whatís it like working with Ben Foster?
Benís cool. I liked Ben a lot. Heís a serious young man. Heís a lot of fun to work with though; like between takes heís cool. He was nice. Everyone on that film was cool and Christian [Alvart], I had done a film with him ages ago and he and I were going to do another movie and we ended up not doing it and heís a friend of mine. I was in a car crash in Berlin ages ago and he sort of stood by me and translated the German doctors back and forth. He and I became friends through that. Heís a cool guy.
Whatís Meskada about?
Itís kind of another thriller, like a dramatic thriller we shot upstate. Kellan Lutz is in it and thereís a whole bunch of really good young actors in it. Nick Stahl is in it; heís really good in it. It was a dark sort of long drama. Itís a drama with these thrilling aspects to it.
Did you have any of the crazy Twilight fans on the set chasing Kellan?
No, but itís funny because Iíve never seen Twilight. I know vampires are a big deals but heís a really cool guy. He walked up to me and goes ĎFuckiní Boondock Saints! Oh my god, thatís my favorite movie!í I gave him a sweatshirt and I gave his girlfriend a tank top. I know heís a big deal; I know that movieís a big deal but heís a cool guy. There were some town scenes where there were a few mob scenes going around.
What about The Lost Girl?
Iím not sure what that is to be honest with you. Thatís a film in pre-production and Iím not quite sure what going on. You got that off IMDB I think. I think sometimes people put stuff up there to get funding, to get financing. I got an e-mail the other day ĎYour popularity on the starmeter went up 390% in one day!í Iím like Ď What do I get? Did I win a toaster? What happens?í
I hear acting isnít the only form of art you have a knack for. Can you tell me about your other interests?
I just had a show in Berlin of 50 of my photographs in this giant gallery, it looked like the Taj Mahal, it was rally cool. Then I have three short films I directed and I took the train from Berlin to Frankfurt and they premiered there in front of a large German Q & A panel, which was a lot of ĎExcuse me, Mr. Reedus, I donít understand it.í Iíd explain it and theyíd go ĎExcuse me, I still donít understand it.í So, that was fun. Thereís another film Iím hoping to direct and get going by the end of this year called I Was a White Slave in Harlem, based on book about Margo Howard-Howard who was real character here in New York in the late 70s, early 80s that was kept as a sex slave in Harlem in sort of an ivory tower hidden away from everybody. Sheís a transsexual and all this crazy stuff. Itís such an interesting heartfelt story. I really want to make this movie. So, Iím sort of in the pre stages of that right now.
To learn more about Norman check out his website by clicking here.
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