Monday, March 22, 2010

TROY DUFFY & J.B. LOVE interview at CBR

"Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day," last year's follow up to the 2000 cult classic action film, is available now on DVD, revealing the secrets of Noah MacManus - known as Il Duce and father of assassin "Saints" Connor and Murphy - as the family's quiet life in Ireland is disrupted by the death of a Boston priest. But there's more to the story than is seen in the film, both for the Brothers MacManus and their enigmatic father. In May, 12 Gauge will debut "Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day – In Nomine Patris," a two-issue miniseries written by the movie's writer and director Troy Duffy with JB Love and illustrated by Guss Floor. CBR News caught up with Duffy and Love to discuss the new series, where it fits in with the film, and what questions remain.

In the original "Boondock Saints," Connor and Murphy MacManus, fraternal twins played by Sean Patrick Flannery and Norman Reedus, who have resolved to rid Boston of evil after killing two Russian mobsters in self-defense. They place coins on the eyes of their victims, a signature which further infuriates the mafia, who hire an assassin known as Il Duce to take care of the problem. Ultimately, Il Duce is revealed to be the boys' father and he joins their cause.

As the second film opens, the family has retired to Ireland, living in relative peace. When Connor and Murphy are framed for a murder back in Boston, however, it's time to get back to work. Along the way, hidden truths about Noah's life as Il Duce come to light - secrets he kept from his boys the entire time of their tranquility.

"With 'In Nomine Patris', we're filling in some of the blanks in the life of Il Duce. We start with the murder of his father and follow he and Louie as they make Noah into the bad-ass we all know and love, focusing on the relationship between these two close friends and how it becomes what it is in 'All Saints Day,'" co-writer JB Love said. "We'll see Noah learning to cover his tracks and become this sort of ghost that mobsters whisper about in fear, and we'll see Louie change from unwilling participant to partner in crime to something else entirely."

"The movie is just the beginning," Troy Duffy added. "It sets up the story, and the comic itself goes deep inside. In the film, we get Il Duce's impetus for becoming a hunter of the mafia: his father's death at their hands. But he obviously continues. That's where the real story begins. You'd figure, 'You killed my dad. I killed you. End of story.' Nope. Duce gets addicted to it and they figure a way to continue killing and get away with it for years.

Violence: improvised in "In Nomine Patris"

"You definitely get more into his history in detail, and the history of his partner in crime, the Roman, their relationship and how they did what they did. In terms of what you will learn from father and sons, you learn as Connor and Murphy learn about their dad."

As to whether there would be scenes in the comic that would have been difficult to pull off on film, Duffy said, "Yes - almost everything." "We had a low budget anyway. Believe me, I wish I could have had a little more leeway for the film. But in comics you can do anything."

Love told CBR that readers will get two perspectives on the events of "In Nomine Patris," Noah's and Louie's. "One of the cool devices we came up with is Louie's diary. So you'll 'hear' Noah recounting his side of the story while you're reading Louie's side from pages extracted from his diary," Love said.

"I think the really important moment in Noah's life - maybe even more important to his character development than the murder of his father - is when he's killed the two mobsters trying to extort him, and Louie begs him to stop, and Noah says, 'I can't stop.' There's a deep mystery in that little comment, and I don't think Troy wants to really spell that out in too much detail," Love said, emphasizing the significance of Louie's role in "In Nomine Patris." "And I like that about Noah. I like the question mark behind his motivations. What we get to explore in 'In Nomine Patris' is how the friendship results in a very specific direction for Noah's life. Louie is very much to credit for Noah becoming this remarkably efficient killing machine we meet in 'The Boondock Saints.' To me, that's the hook: how the friendship has so much to do with how the 'career' of Il Duce starts - and how it ends."

As readers discover more about Il Duce, the McManus brothers have their own battles to fight. "'In Nomine Patris' takes place in two time periods: starting in 1959 with the murder of Jacob McManus and following Noah and Louie, and also in 2009, following the Saints on one night before the climactic battle at the end of the film. While Noah's story covers decades and is very psychological, the modern day story is a fast-paced balls-out shoot-em-up," Love said.

"Not that Noah's story is all talk. Among the several 'hits' we get to see, one is a three-page fight scene!

"Basically, Connor and Murphy get wind of some contract players working for Yakavetta, and take them out. It's as simple as that, and hopefully as enjoyable as those awesome action scenes from the films. The framing device we're using is the scene from 'All Saints Day' where Noah explains to Connor and Murphy who Louie is and how he's impacted all their lives. We're sort of listening in with the Brothers and watching that tale unfold through the flashback story. Then we're jumping ahead in time a few hours later, when the Brothers go out into Boston and crack down on these contract players of Yakavetta's, in typical Saints style. We wanted to give the fans the action and humor they expect from the Saints as well as let them in on the story of Il Duce, and I think we found a balance that hopefully satisfies both expectations equally."

"In Nomine Patris" is set in both 2009 and 1959

When CBR initially spoke with Duffy, Love, and producer Eben Matthews before the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con International, "Boondock Saints: In Nomine Patris" was just starting to come together and Duffy was still uninitiated into the world of comics. Now that the two-issue series is almost here, Duffy described the experience as "interesting" and "freeing." "JB and Eben gave me a bit of an education on how comics were done. But because I don't know the world, I still cling to my mentality. This comic could be very interesting for comic fans. Something new...or it could totally suck ass."

As for working with Love on the comic, Duffy said, "He's good. When I get too 'scripty' he says, 'Dude. It's a comic. You can do anything you want.'

"He also is a good creative mind. He's my guide in this comic world. He also does excellent needle point, collects 'Hello Kitty' backpacks, enjoys haiku poetry and is just metro-sexual enough to qualify as a straight certain circles."

Love, for his part, said that he enjoyed Duffy's knack for leaving a significant degree of mystery as he reveals Il Duce's origins. "The really cool thing is that even now a lot of this is still a mystery. Is Noah an actual avatar of God's vengeance? Or is he a kid with this sort of unquenchable rage that happens to get harnessed into vigilantism?" Love said. "I think it's pretty cool that we don't know exactly what drives Noah. I think leaving those questions up in the air gives us a lot to think about, as readers and viewers. What's really cool to me, and it's something we take a hard look at in the comic, is how much Louie has to do with Noah's transformation. For this meek disabled kid - nearly as traumatized by Noah's father's murder as Noah is - to become what he becomes is a fascinating journey. It's how these guys' personalities evolved in relationship to each other that was the most revelatory and exciting thing I learned, working with Troy on this story."

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