by: Austin Welch
This weekend at Comic-Con, three of us here at The RealmCast had the rare and distinct pleasure of hanging out with the boys from The Boondock Saints, a cult classic film from 1999, and a big favorite here at the Realm. How did we do it? Was it the luck of the Irish? Possibly. Let me tell you how it all went down.
So we’re down at Con, and we went ahead and signed up for a pair of focus groups. For those that don’t know what a focus group is, you sit in a room, and they show you footage of in-development movies or tv shows, or possibly examples of some sort of products. Then they ask you all manner of questions regarding the product. One wall of the room is a two-way mirror, and executives or product development people watch, listen, and take note of everything that goes on. Based on your group’s answers, they may alter the product or film before it hits the market. For The Simpsons fans out there, you may recall the ‘Poochie’ episode, and the scene in which the kids were shown Itchy & Scratchy footage. It was just like that. It even resulted in my esteemed colleague John breaking down in tears. Not really.
On Friday night, John, George, Cesar, and I got to see footage of a pair of Marvel Animation products; an Iron Man film that looked good, and a strange Wolverine flick that features an alternate take on Logan. He had a different look, based on Japanese culture. That didn’t go over favorably. But the next morning, sans George, we attended a Sony Pictures Boondock Saints 2 focus group. We here at the Realm have been waiting for this sequel for years. Ten, in fact. Some of you may know the unpleasant behind-the-scenes reasons this movie took some time to get made, or possibly saw the documentary on the subject, Overnight. I myself, stopped keeping track of the sequel a while ago, as it began to seem as if it was never going to happen. How wrong I was. We were shown the trailer for the sequel, subtitled All Saints Day – and were told we were the first to see the trailer other than the editor(s) that cut it. Writer/director Troy Duffy or the cast hadn’t even seen it! Having been worried that a sequel would devalue the first film, well, let me tell you, cast all worries aside. This very well-cut trailer promises more of the merry adventures of the vigilante McManus brothers and their father, ‘Il Duce’ (the Duke), as they go above the law and take out bad guys left and right. Full of Tarantino-esque violence and dark humor, the first film bombed at the box office, but developed a loyal audience over the last decade. This film, which is apparently finished, barring a few last-minute tweaks, will not disappoint.
The only thing I wasn’t happy about is that Willem Dafoe is not returning. But as I was told by Duffy, it was purely for creative reasons – Dafoe felt his character went as far as he could in the first film, and he didn’t want to return to the film and take away from that arc. That aside, virtually everyone from the original returns – curiously enough, even Rocco (aka The Funny Man) appeared in the trailer. Apparently he is part of a dream sequence. The studio appears to be aiming for a release this coming All Saints Day (that’s November first for all you heathens out there). This year, it’s on a Sunday, so maybe they mean Friday October 30th. They will likely follow up with a St. Patty’s Day DVD release. Start planning your release parties now!
After the session, we were given invitations to a meet-and-greet at a local Irish pub called The Tilted Kilt. There, we hob-nobbed with the various cast members and Duffy himself. Let me tell you something, these are some of the coolest guys you’d ever want to meet. No Hollywood bullshit, just regular dudes who like to hang out and drink, who just happened to make a pair of kick-ass movies (yes, I’m taking a leap of faith that the sequel will rule). We spoke with and/or took photos with Sean Patrick Flannery, Norman Reedus, David Della Rocco, Billy Connolly, Clifton Collins, Brian Mahoney, Duffy, and more. They were all very personable, and didn’t mind taking a few minutes to speak or pose with us. We even got autographed posters for the sequel. When we arrived, Reedus and Rocco were outside having a smoke, and chatted with us freely. Reedus was holding up one hand with most attendees, but as you can see in my pic, gave me “the double”.
Having said that, I gotta say that Flannery was probably the coolest. I mean, besides, Boondocks, he was frikkin’; Indiana Jones! His episodes of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles were usually the best. He lit up when I mentioned that, and seemed to be proud to have been a part of that franchise as well. I mentioned that I saw the trailer, and loved it. To which he replied, “Oh, yeah? I’ve seen the film.” He candidly admitted that he often tells the public, as part of the usual promo BS, that his next movie is going to be great, etc., and he often ends up a liar. This time, he said, trust him when he says this sequel will be “Epic!” I regret that I forgot to tell him I’ve enjoyed his recurring part on Numb3rs.
I also regret not having the ideas that John had – he managed to get much more fun pics out of the on-screen brothers: Flannery got him in a headlock, and he convinced Reedus to aim his fingers at the back of his head as he kneeled, re-creating the signature execution style of the characters. I’m so jealous. The pub, which has a bit of a sports bar feel, took some of the games off the screens and plugged in a copy of the first film, to which Flannery replied, “How cool is that?” Rocco was very cool to talk to, and I told him that I thought he had some of the best lines in cinema history, including the classic “I can’t go buy a pack of smokes without running into nine guys…” He agreed, and said that was one of the reasons he wanted to do the movie.
I asked Duffy if it was too early to start thinking about making it a nice round trilogy, to which he slyly replied, “Maybe…” Oh, by the way, Chicago-based classic rockers Styx are apparently cooking up an original song for the film. We had a couple of Irish Car Bombs (take a half pint of Guinness, literally drop a shot of Bailey’s in it – shotglass and all – and chug it all down before the Bailey’s curds up) with some fellow fans, and headed back to the hotel. All in all, some good Irish Catholic fun.
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For constant updates on Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day be sure to visit the Director- Troy Duffy’s YouTube page for the video journals shooting during the filming of BDII. You can visit his YouTube page by clicking here.