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After chatting with Sean Patrick Flannery last week it was obvious that there was something special about Boondock Saints. I’m 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 it’s 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 that’s he’s never seen Titanic (gasp), but he’s still got a lot to say about the vast number of projects he’s so passionate about. It’s been ten years since we’ve seen Reedus as Murphy McManus and he’s 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, he’s also busy working on films through his own production company. The guy may be known as brother, kill and a saint, but there’s a lot more to him than that.
How’d you get involved with the original Boondock Saints?
I was living in L.A. at the time and there’s 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 hadn’t 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 we’re all just really excited that it was really happening. I was especially excited for Troy because, you know, it’s his baby and he wrote it, it’s his characters and he caught the short end of the stick on a lot of topics but I’m just happy he got to do the second one and just getting the chance for people to see it. It’s a big deal.
It’s 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 wouldn’t have been the same movie. You can’t really do that. Troy is the movie, you know what I mean, and Sean and I are the characters in Troy’s movie so it wouldn’t 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, Troy’s 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 – it’s not the same role as Willem played – 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 Dafoe’s?
I can’t tell you that! That’s 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?
I’d say they were good! I’d want to join up. I can say that right? I can’t 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 ‘Let’s get busy!’ Wait, what’d he say? Something like ‘Yeah, sign me up. Let’s get busy!’ I saw him on the street the other day and it was pretty funny.
I’m hoping to see something like that in the next film!
Yeah, we might; I don’t know. I don’t know if I can tell you stuff; I don’t know how badly Troy would punch me out.
In that case I’ll 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 can’t tell how long you’ve been out there, what’s going on and you’re being chased by these creatures that have sort of – like with evolution through all of these years they’ve 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 he’s running for his life basically. They run into me on the ship and I’m sort of trying to explain why the – I just saw the trailer on TV, I’m the one being dragged across the floor screaming ‘No!’ 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.
What’s it like working with Ben Foster?
Ben’s cool. I liked Ben a lot. He’s a serious young man. He’s a lot of fun to work with though; like between takes he’s 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 he’s 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. He’s a cool guy.
What’s Meskada about?
It’s kind of another thriller, like a dramatic thriller we shot upstate. Kellan Lutz is in it and there’s a whole bunch of really good young actors in it. Nick Stahl is in it; he’s really good in it. It was a dark sort of long drama. It’s a drama with these thrilling aspects to it.
Did you have any of the crazy Twilight fans on the set chasing Kellan?
No, but it’s funny because I’ve never seen Twilight. I know vampires are a big deals but he’s a really cool guy. He walked up to me and goes ‘Fuckin’ Boondock Saints! Oh my god, that’s my favorite movie!’ I gave him a sweatshirt and I gave his girlfriend a tank top. I know he’s a big deal; I know that movie’s a big deal but he’s a cool guy. There were some town scenes where there were a few mob scenes going around.
What about The Lost Girl?
I’m not sure what that is to be honest with you. That’s a film in pre-production and I’m 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 ‘Your popularity on the starmeter went up 390% in one day!’ I’m like ‘ What do I get? Did I win a toaster? What happens?’
I hear acting isn’t 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 ‘Excuse me, Mr. Reedus, I don’t understand it.’ I’d explain it and they’d go ‘Excuse me, I still don’t understand it.’ So, that was fun. There’s another film I’m 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. She’s a transsexual and all this crazy stuff. It’s such an interesting heartfelt story. I really want to make this movie. So, I’m sort of in the pre stages of that right now.
To learn more about Norman check out his website by clicking here.