Interview: Norman Reedus (THE BOONDOCK SAINTS II: ALL SAINTS DAY)

Kate Erbland

by: Kate Erbland
October 30th, 2009

Reedus BS2

Norman Reedus is a badass. He's not just a badass because he plays Murphy MacManus to the hilt in THE BOONDOCK SAINTS, he's a real life badass who has a metal eye socket and still sees the fun in jumping off a building, brandishing knives and guns. But he's also a truly nice guy who jumped between all sorts of topics during our ALL SAINTS DAY roundtable interview this week - from Troy Duffy's directorial style, to physically attacking his role, to the time his young son punched a BOONDOCK fan in the tummy. He also physically jumped around, especially when it came time to recount an amusing story about none other than the  incomparable Willem Dafoe, his co-star in the first BOONDOCK SAINTS.

Check out the some of the highlights from my roundtable interview with Norman for ALL SAINTS DAY after the jump.

On his and Sean Patrick Flanery's reaction to the ALL SAINTS DAY script and plot:

We just jumped right in. We liked the script, the script is really good. It had all these twists and turns that weren't in the first one. They talk about Il Duce's background in this one, and his fight with the main bad guy in the film. Yeah, we were really, really excited about it. We liked it and we were on board.

On slipping back into the role in the sequel:

We kept waiting for the sequel to happen and we knew it would happen eventually, just had a feeling, but...I mean, you put on the peacoats and the rosaries and the tattoos, it's a little deja vu-y. I remember Sean and I going to set the first day, like "is this really happening? Are we back here?" because we're excited. But once you're up with the accent and the shooting people, it just sort of felt like riding a bike.

On the on-set experience of a BOONDOCK film:

It is sort of like working with family. We're all friends anyway, and even the new people, like Clif [Clifton Collins Jr., who plays Romeo] - I've known Clif for like twelve years. And Julie [Julie Benz, who plays Eunice Bloom], she fit right in. But it is sort of like you're working with your family, it's like every day you're excited to go to work, you know?...It was more like, okay, that's a wrap for today, and we're like, "ugh, well, what are you doing? Let's hang out somewhere."

On whether or not the addition of new characters and actors changed the dynamic of the shoot:

Slightly. Slightly, but not a whole bunch to be honest with you. I know Troy had more going on, he had to wrangle in more stuff for all these people. But as far Sean and I, it just seemed like we just picked up where the first one left off.

On pressure to make the sequel please fans:

I think they're going to flip out...We've had screenings in Philly and Boston and New York - Boston was a standing ovation, it was just mad. And then New York, the cops came and had to disburse a crowd of 1500 people that couldn't get in...the line in Union Square went around the block to the next block, it was ridiculous. I remember Troy saying, "oh, this must be for the Michael Jackson movie." And then it was just like, "BOONDOCK!!" It was like being the Beatles. It was nuts.

On some of the more memorable fan experiences and the way BOONDOCK has spread amongst them:

There was a guy that was in Philly that had like, from his armpit to his hip, had us striking the gun pose...We see some crazy tattoos, and it's spread in this weird way.

I've written lots of letters to the troops. There was a soldier that was blown up in a cafe in Cairo, and her friend ended up contacting me. They identified the girl's body because she had Sean's tattoo on her neck, and then the girl that called me had my tattoo on her neck. And they were like the Boondock Saints. So I wrote stuff for her funeral in Vegas. It's spread in this way that I don't think any of us saw coming.

I have a son who's ten now, and when he was, I think, like five, we were walking in Venice...we were walking by these skater kids, and they have a sweatshirt with Sean and I on the front. My kid like stops, and he was looking at me and he's looking at the sweatshirt, and he walks over and punched the guy in the stomach, and he goes, "why is my dad on your shirt?!" Then I start noticing the sweatshirts everywhere.

On how he feels about being a part of such a fan-based phenomenon:

It's a little surreal, but it's also - it's all love, there's nothing wrong. I'm flattered, I'm totally flattered.

On talk of a possible third BOONDOCK SAINTS:

Never say never. I could do ten of these. They're a blast. It's left open...[Troy's] mentioned it, like if we do a third, it's going to go large, like large-large, so I'm down. Hopefully we'll do it before another ten years. We'll be like on walkers. We'll be hiding out in Miami or something.

On Troy Duffy's directing style:

Troy is the type of director that he knows what he wants, so you're comfortable working with him, because it's like you trust your quarterback sort of thing. Down to like how you say the lines...you'll change stuff, but you'll talk about it ahead of time, so when they yell action, we know where we're headed, we know what we're going to do. He allows you to work with him...He'll give us all line readings, and you'll either follow them or you won't. And then if you don't like his line reading, he's also the type of guy that you go, "that sounds retarded like that, no, I'm not doing it," and he'll go, "oh, okay." It's nice to work with somebody who knows what they want. Like, for example, the court room scene in the first one, we're up there saying the prayer...and instead of yelling action, he slams his hand on the table and he goes, "you deliver these people!" and you're just like, "fuck yeah!" It's nice to work with somebody like that.

On the physical challenges of the role:

There's challenges, but it's nothing that guys wouldn't do anyway, because if you were like "okay, we're wrapped today, anybody want to jump off this into a giant balloon bag?" you'd be like, "yeah, it looks like fun!" And you do it with guns and knives, it's a blast. Training for the film and stuff like that, I pulled the labrum, it actually snapped and curled into a ball like a rubber band in the bottom of my back, so a lot of the gun stuff, you saw our new guns, they weigh like 45 pounds...I'd have to rock a little bit and then just hold them up there. This shoulder is still killing me to this day, I have to have surgery and attach those.

On one of his favorite memories of Willem Dafoe, Method actor:

I was in New York, putting my key in the door, and it's like midday, and there's not too many people around me. I hear this, "Norman!" I'm looking over and I see this homeless guy, like hunched over, walking in the streets, and I'm like, "who the hell just said my name?" and then I put the key back in - "Norman!" - I look back over, and "who the hell is saying my name?" - and then "Norman!" - and I look back over, and the guy stands up, he goes, "IT'S WILLEM!" I'm like, "what the hell are you doing?" and he goes, "oh, I'm about to do this movie, SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE," so he's like walking around on all fours, in the middle of the day.

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