Ten years ago, writer/director Troy Duffy made a little independent film called The Boondock Saints, which never received a theatrical release but was a massive hit on home video. After jumping through many hoops and enduring some legal entanglements, Duffy made a sequel to his cult hit, which releases on DVD and Blu-ray on March 9.
To help support this upcoming release of The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day, and to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the first film, Duffy has taken to the road with key members of the cast and crew. At one stop in this every-growing tour, Duffy took some time to sit down with Film School Rejects to talk about his films, upcoming projects and what it’s like to be the subject of controversy.
“It’s been really cool and really intimate,” Duffy said. “There’s some weird, magical thing about this little tour we’re doing.”
Duffy got the idea weeks ago when he had a party with several of the bands featured in the film. The even was a hit, and fans from around the country let him know that they wanted something like that in their city. “We said, ‘Screw it,’ and we rented a tour bus and brought it to them,” Duffy said.
The tour includes appearances by Duffy and some cast members, as well as some comedians from the films and the bands the appear on the soundtrack. “It’s focusing on the comedy and the individuals,” Duffy said. “It’s our chance to have a beer with the fans.”
Part of the tour culminates into a 10th anniversary showing of The Boondock Saints on Thursday, March 11 and the DVD and Blu-ray release on March 9.
When asked why it took so long to make a sequel, Duffy explained it was all tied up in legal issues. “One of the biggest reasons is that we were involved in a lawsuit… that we initiated… in which the sequel rights were tied,” he said. “Everyone we sued settled out of court with us for undisclosed amounts, and my attorney said that that’s exactly what I can legally say every time I’m asked.”
The legal troubles after The Boondocks Saints weren’t the only problems Duffy has faced over the years. The documentary Overnight, which chronicles the making of the film and paints him as an egomaniacal first-time director, has been a thorn in his side.
“I was there, so I know what happened,” he said. “That documentary is a disingenuous smear job executed by two opportunistic assholes. [Journalists] always presuppose it’s all true as if you can’t get screwed in editing.”
Duffy contends that much of the problems shown in the documentary were taken out of context. “I fully admit that I act like an asshole sometimes. Made the wrong decisions sometimes. Did the wrong thing, said the wrong thing. But there were always reasons for it, and you were never given those in the film,” he said. “Unfortunately, they have my story in their 450 hours of footage. They just chose not to tell it.”
In fact, Duffy points to The Boondock Saints II as proof that he wasn’t a monster on set. After all, he managed to reassemble the entire cast from the first film, including actor Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, Billy Connelly and Willem Dafoe. “It was as difficult as making a phone call,” he said. “They never went anywhere.”
The challenge Duffy faced was dealing with the iconic characters in a sequel. “Writing a sequel, you’re not just free to put pen to paper and do whatever you want,” he said. “So you can’t tread on the sacred ground of the first one. It’s kinda like writing with shackles on.”
Of course, the new film opens things up for a Boondock Saints III, but Duffy said he has several other projects he wants to do. One, called The Blood Spoon Council is a serial killer thriller “with a vigilante twist.” The other is The Good King, which he describes as “a black comedy – black as the starless night at the bottom of the ocean,” about a prince and a duke in the 1500s who almost destroy the British Empire and resurrect it.
After his harrowing experience with the funding of The Boondock Saints, when asked if he wants to go the studio route or independent financing, Duffy responded with enthusiasm. “Studio! My experience with independent financing means you get independently screwed,” he said. “I prefer to go the studio route because it’s more honest.”
The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day hits DVD and Blu-ray on March 9. For more information on the Boondock Saints tour, visit www.BoondockSaints.com/Tour.
For more with Troy Duffy (and some insights from actor David Della Rocco), including his thoughts on Billy Connelly’s “righteous anger,” his thoughts on why most sequels suck and more sounding off about Overnight, listen to the full interview below.