Interview with Boondock Saints II Actors Julie Benz and Clifton Collins, Jr.

Clifton_Collins_Jr_Julie_Benz

During San Diego Comic Con 2009, I was privileged enough to interview Julie Benz and Clifton Collins, Jr., from The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day. It was a round table interview, which means it was a group interview. There were several other people there with me asking questions. I did get an extra special treat while there, though, because I was just expecting to see Julie and Clifton, but when our interview was over, Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus sat down right in front of me. Then I look up and see Billy Connolly in another interview. The first thing in my mind was “Holy sh**.” So I had lots of fun, and Julie and Clifton were great. Check it out!

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Troy Duffy

Since neither of them, Julie Benz or Clifton Collins, Jr., were in the first one, they started off talking about what they thought of the first movie. Clifton had been friends with Troy Duffy for a long time and was very familiar with The Boondock Saints. Once he read the screenplay he said, “Well, who doesn’t want to be a part of The Boondock Saints? Everyone does.”

Julie made the statement that she was “probably the only person on the planet who wasn’t familiar with The Boondock Saints.” Once she read the screenplay and saw that her character, Eunice, was a strong, intelligent woman, she was in. She also made the joke that Duffy attracted her to the project as well – to which Clifton replied that he was attracted to Duffy too.

Clifton went on to talk about how he always knew the second installment would be made, even though it was 10 years later. He looked at it as being a kind of blessing because “every film maker is so eager to get their film made, so it is a wonderful opportunity to have the extra time to polish and do all the changes that you wouldn’t have been able to do on the day of shooting.” So there you have it, sometimes it is better to take the extra time in order to produce a product you are truly happy with instead of trying to poop out a script in two weeks just to get a movie out there.

When asked if they thought that our society’s views have changed since the first one, Julie got to point out that everything she has been a part of in the past few years has had a vigilante theme, like Rambo, The Punisher, and Dexter. She said, “It’s timelier now, almost more acceptable now. There are a lot of products out there right now with the same theme.” Clifton talked about how none of these projects were quite like The Boondock Saints II in that they lack a character like Eunice, Julie’s character.

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Eunice is the FBI agent who is tracking the MacManus brothers as they kill. Both Julie and Clifton described Eunice as an intelligent and feminine woman as well as a complete badass. Julie stated, “Troy created this amazing woman. She is the woman that every man wants to f*** and every woman wants to be.” Sounds like a great woman to me! Julie talked about how most of her roles have been as a girlfriend, victim, or love interest and that Eunice is none of those things. Eunice kicks ass while wearing 6 inch heels, short skirts, and a gun right in the front for everyone to see.

Some people have wondered will The Boondock Saints II be just like the first one and follow the same kind of format. Well, Clifton thinks that it has evolved. He said it is a beautiful, original format: “Imagine the mind of Duffy being cut loose and continuing to grow.” I know that might scare a lot of people, but don’t worry, the second movie is not the scary part of Duffy’s mind. They both described how there are no lulls in this flick. Clifton stated, “This one is better, bigger, and the story is more complicated.” Julie added, “I think the action sequences are more advanced, very well thought out. Troy would show up on set and he would know exactly what shots he wanted to get. There was one action sequence for me that we only had one take to do and it was just very crazy. So we had to rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. And Troy kept saying this is going to be the most amazing visual ever. I wasn’t so sure, but let me tell you, it is the most amazing visual ever! It really is. He had such a clear insight to what he wanted.” All Saints Day did have some great stuff, you really should check it out if you can.

One of the other questions I asked, of course, was about the stunts and if they used CGI and Clifton told us this story: “I had to do some stunts with a big French guy. I have done a lot of fighting since I was 14, on the streets and in karate schools. I went to high school with the stunt coordinator, so he knew my history and asked me if I wanted to fight. I said, ‘Oh yeah! I would love to fight!’ So I’m up against this big French guy, and we really needed to rehearse our scene. It’s like a dance. Well, we just didn’t have a lot of time, and we were going to run through it real quick but then I heard ‘action, action!’ Here I was, handcuffed, so I was just like ‘okay, bob and weave, bob and weave.’ This guy’s got big goliath fists and then SMACK! I got hit right in the side of the jaw. I couldn’t chew for 4 days. But it comes with the territory and hey, we got a kickass fight sequence out of that. It is really sweet and that is my intro.”

A question was then posed about why this movie appeals to so many people. Julie talked about how The Boondock Saints raises moral questions. You have to look at these tough issues of who is right and who is wrong. She said, “I think the vigilante justice has grown and appeals to a lot of people. It just has that dynamic of the FBI trying to do their job and the brothers trying to do theirs. Who is on the right side? Now, everything our country has gone through politically, we constantly question who’s right: Should we still be in Iraq, etc.” And when asked about if it has affected their views Julie said she found herself questioning things everyday. She has been in several movies with vigilante themes, too. “One the one hand, they [the MacManus brothers] are taking out really bad people who are doing bad things to innocent people; on the other hand, are they justified for taking a life and killing people even though they are bad?”

Sean-Norm

Someone in the group then criticized that all of the movies about vigilante justice were not “real pictures,” that they were kind of cartoonish depictions. Julie pointed out that they were not documentaries on vigilante justice. Ultimately, these movies are made to entertain people. “If there is a message we can get across, then great!” They commented that what is so great about All Saints Day is that it is a mix of genres. It is a drama, action, and comedy. Clifton said, “And it’s not rocket surgery!” (You will understand the humor after having seen the film.)

At the very end, I managed to squeeze in one last question: If this movie could win an award, an Oscar or something, what award would it get? Clifton responded without even thinking about it with “Greatest Ass Kicker Award!” Julie said, “I think it would win an MTV Movie Award (laughs). To me that’s a great privilege.”

Julie Benz and Clifton Collins, Jr. were both great. They seemed very excited about being a part of The Boondock Saints. But like they said, who wouldn’t want to be a part of it! Thank you to both of them for their time. My review of The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day will follow soon.

This is the Action Flick Chick, and you’ve just been kicked in the ass!

Related posts:

Single-Shot Interviews: Worst Superpower, Celebrity Takes
The Boondock Saints II Premiere
Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day Trailer
Coming Attractions: Boondock Saints: All Saints Day (2009)

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8 thoughts on “Interview with Boondock Saints II Actors Julie Benz and Clifton Collins, Jr.

  1. Shaky Jake

    My jealousy is out of control right now.

    Although I’m not all that excited about All Saints Day (as I’ve seen the first few minutes that leaked onto the internet and was disappointed by the lackluster opening), the original Boondock Saints still holds a place in my top 5 action films of all time.

    Also, I loved Clifton Collins Jr. in Sunshine Cleaning, which is just enough to make me interested in this sequel again.

    Great interview though. You must still be flying high.

  2. Jason Thompson

    Very cool interview, AFC!

    It’s good to see Clifton Collins Jr. breaking out more into the mainstream. He’s always been one of those “that-guy” actors, and I always thought he deserved more screen time. Same goes for Julie Benz. I’m way behind on the Dexter bandwagon, but I’m catching up, and she’s great on that show. Between Star Trek and now Boondock Saints II, I’m looking forward to CC Jr.’s next one. Benz could use a big movie of her own. We need more strong female lead roles.

  3. Reel Whore

    Awesome interview. It’s funny but that’s the second time I’ve heard the term rocket surgery in the past two days!

    I got the chance to meet Julie Benz briefly a few months back and she was great (and hot)! I’d love to meet Clifton Collins, Jr. He seems way cool.

    I can’t wait to see All Saint’s Day, though who knows when it’ll open here.

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