By Sean Tuohy
There are few writers that have the ability to change the pop-culture landscape with one story and there are even fewer who can keep their original storytelling skills after becoming successful. Writer-director Troy Duffy has been not only able to keep his own voice, but he has also grown as a storyteller. Duffy hit the landscape hard with his first film "The Boondock Saints" and has been hitting harder ever since. Duffy followed up with "The Boondock Saints 2" in 2009 and he is currently working on the third (and possibly the final) installment of "The Boondock Saints" saga.
As a die hard fan of the MacManus brothers exploits, it was an honor to talk to the man who brought the characters to life. Duffy has been honest and true to his word, which comes through in his writing. He does not shy away from hot button topics and has no problem conforting issues, usually using his brand of wit and humor. Because of his honesty and his original storytelling, Duffy is a true Badass Writer.
Duffy sat down with this giddy fan boy to about writing, the future of "The Boondock Saints," and to give some sage advice to writers.
Sean Tuohy: When did you start writing films?
Troy Duffy: Mid-1996. I wrote “The Boondock Saints” as my first script.
ST: What type of films influenced you early on?
TD: Godfather. “Apocalypse Now.” “Jaws.” “Deliverance.” “Highlander.” “Reservoir Dogs.” “Ghost Busters.” “Man Bites Dog.” “Nil By Mouth.” A bunch more...
ST: “The Boondock Saints” became a cult hit that is quoted left and right. What does it feel like to hear people quote your writing?
TD: Having people quote your film is better than winning an award of some kind. It simultaneously infers that they paid attention and were emotionally affected at the same time. It means something to them. It can also make you feel like some subversive cult leader at times which is thrilling.
ST: “The Boondock Saints” is heavily connected to the city of Boston. What attracted you to Beantown so much?
TD: I am from that area. A New Englander through and through. It is also a very unique community filled with unique people. And let's face it, the place just looks cool.
ST: Besides screenwriting you also write music, do you approach these two art forms differently?
TD: Music is more focused. Spectral inspirations that must be snatched from the sky while it is within arm's reach for a fleeting moment or two. Writing scripts is a much more organizational process for me. Cutting and pasting and making “magic” mistakes here and there.
ST: One of the things that stands out about your writing is your dialog, it is very strong, snappy, and fitting to the characters. How do you write your dialogue? Do you say it out loud while typing or act it out?
TD: Just comes. One of the holes writers can fall into is that every character starts to sound like them. I try to separate. What would a guy like this say not what would I say. I act stuff out all the time. I talk to myself constantly even in public. It's very embarrassing for my wife. She'll tap me on the shoulder and say, "You're doing it again. People think you're crazy."
ST: What is your writing process like?
TD: It can be many things. Some scripts are a long slog. Some come right away. For instance, there is a television show that I am writing called “Kingdom Come.” It is based on the French pirate Jean Lafitte out of New Orleans at the turn of the 19th Century. Much research into that time and place had to be done and then it all started to take shape. So, that one was a longer process but very exciting. Conversely, “The Good King” (black comedy), which my friend Gordon Clark and I wrote together poured out virtually instantaneously.
ST: Are there any updates regarding the next “Boondock Saints" movie?
TD: Yes. The script is coming along. It will be called “Boondock III, Legion.” I will be doing an in depth video presentation on the script and things surrounding this movie on my site in the coming weeks.
ST: What does the future hold for Troy Duffy?
TD: Being a daddy for one. My little Gracie is 10 months old and holds my unruly heart in her little baby fat hand. “Kingdom Come.” “Good King.” “BDS3.” A new artist I recently directed a music video for featuring my buddy Slash called “Bang Bang.” I love this girl. Gonna put some of her tunes in the third “Boondock Saints” movie. A group of friends and I are going to manage her as an artist. Should be interesting. She's a handful...maybe two.
ST: What advice do you give to up-and-coming writers?
TD: Read. Know the difference between shit writing and average writing. Know the difference between average and good. Know the difference between good and great. Know the difference between great and brilliant...then never say anything is brilliant.
ST: Can you tell us one random fact about yourself?
TD: Through my research into Lafitte, I recently got into Absinthe. Great night cap. Fucking delicious.
To learn more about Troy Duffy, follow him on Twitter @troyduffy.