EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: BOONDOCK SAINTS Creative Team Discuss the Upcoming Graphic Novel 'In Nomine Patris'
Published: October 28, 2011 - 6:13am
Boondock Saints director and writer Troy Duffy, co-writer J.B. Love, artist Guus Floor and producer Eben Matthews spoke in detail about the violent opus that is 'The Secret History of Il Duce', available as a graphic novel this November.
The upcoming graphic novel 'In Nomine Patris: The Secret History of Il Duce' sheds some light on how violence and vengeance runs in the Saints family. The comic is an emotional and gripping look at the rise of both Il Duce and his best friend and eventual nemesis 'The Roman'. The comic is a must-own for fans and will be available through 12-Gauge comics next month. You can read my five-star review of the comic right HERE.
Keven: The comic delves into some history of how the Roman was pulling the strings and acting as Il Duce’s puppet master, but I noticed that Il Duce really comes across as more bloodthirsty than I had imagined him being from the films, was that a conscious decision?
Duffy: Yes. This is the seed bed of a Blood Line here. A harsh event brought it out in Il Duce, the murder of his father. That's what it took. I'd be a bit blood thirsty too. But I needed to show where the boys came from. Look at the facts from the films. Connor and Murphy followed in their father's footsteps yet never knew him. That's inborn, blood line type stuff. Need to justify it.
Keven: I really enjoyed the sequence overseas when we see the brothers track down a serial killer, showing that violence isn’t limited to American soil, how did that idea come about?
Duffy: Me and J.B. (Love) shooting the s*** one day in the warm California sun. If I remember it right we said that too. "Hey, violence isn't limited to America." Only we finished it off with, "There's a**holes virtually everywhere on the planet!" Yay!
Keven: The tone of the comic felt darker than the films, although there were humorous segments; overall everything was really gritty – was this your decision and if new Boondock projects come up, such as a new film or TV series, can fans expect to see some of these elements transfer to live action?
Duffy: Not really...but maybe. It's the medium, y'see. In comics you can do just about anything. Comic fans seem to want it like that, more visceral. They want to see the creator's mind run a muck a bit. Very liberating but in a different medium, one must respect its boundaries. Wouldn't have tried that stuff on film.
Keven: Are there plans for more Boondock comics and if there are, will we see any events that happen after the events of the All Saint’s Day movie?
Duffy: Not right now but maybe in the future. Only got so much time, amigo. I am currently working on another script and exploring a possible Boondock TV show.
Keven: Would you ever be interested in taking any of your other projects to the comic world, such as maybe Blood Spoon Council to see if they help launch the actual movies? – since most comic properties garner a lot of interest in Hollywood?
Duffy: Sure. Now that I've wet my beak in the Comic world, would love to do it more. Blood Spoon would certainly be a candidate. We shall see!
Keven: What was your collaborative process with Troy like and where would fans notice your influence on the pages?
Love: Well, we would start by meeting at Troy's place, where we'd throw out ideas and get the shape of each issue down, then I'd go off and write a first draft. Then Troy would read it and we'd go through page by page and line by line and make changes. As the process went on we sort of fell into a groove and I was able to get closer and closer to Troy's vision, so there are more scenes and lines that didn't need revising the more the series went on. The more I learned his voice the less he needed to change, so the later issues have a lot of me in them.
Keven: Were you a fan of the films prior to your involvement with the comic series?
Love: The first, absolutely. It's funny, but I'd been seeing the Boondock Saints bumper stickers and t-shirts around my home town (Savannah, Georgia) for a couple of years before I knew it was a film, before Eben suggested I watch it. I was immediately struck by the boldness of the vision. Those are very punk rock movies; they throw out a lot of old conventions and get right to the meat of what an action movie should be. And I have a brother and get fed up with the Justice System on a regular basis, so there was a lot there for me to relate to.
Keven: Did you feel a need to add new elements into the comic series or were you trying to remain 100% faithful to the Boondock audience?
Love: Well, we always felt a responsibility to be true to the audience. One of the things we talked about in the beginning was this being the Saints everybody knows and loves, but the comic-book versions of them. Because in comics you can get away with things that you can't in a movie. We definitely weren't going to put Galactus in there, if you know what I mean. But when you don't have to worry about budget and movie logistics you can cut loose some, and that was something Troy was interested in from the very start. So if anything we just raised the level of crazy a bit, which works perfectly for this bad-ass world Troy created.
Keven: Do you have a favorite story/sequence in the comic?
Love: Haha! That's tough. There's a lot I like. Mostly I am in love with Guus Floor's art. There were scenes on the page that didn't become my favorites until after I saw them drawn. The scenes between Louie and Yakavetta in the garden nursery are just gorgeous. I love the ticking-clock race to the train station in the last issue. And the scene with the hit-and-run mobster talking to the parents at the little girl's funeral. The rapist's beat-down. See? Too much to choose from. I will say that writing 'The Lost Gig' was a blast because I got to write lines for Rocco. I could do that from now until the end of time. There's so much to love about that guy!
Keven: Your art style is very gritty and has such a darkness to it that reminds me a lot of Frank Miller’s Sin City or Dark Knight Returns, was there any imagery that inspired you specifically for this project?
Floor: Right from the start I knew I wanted a gritty look. I can't think of any specific visual influence for this project other then my reaction to watching the first film, which was gritty. Sin City is a big influence on me for any project really. But I am also inspired by many other artists present and in the past and also by many movies. I especially like Noir films.
Keven: How did you get on board this beast and what drew you into the world of Boondock Saints, were you a fan of the films?
Floor: I had submitted some samples to 12 Gauge and shortly after was put into contact with the BDS team. I was actually not aware of the films but I have since become a fan. I think that these characters work very well in comic format. So it was a lot of fun to get to know these characters and enter this world.
Keven: You have this ability to utilize the shadows and really make someone’s face look goddamn terrifying when it pops from the darkness, I think really turning Il Duce into someone that may have some blatant rage issues, was this a conscious decision to show the man breaking and ascending into madness?
Floor: I love playing with light and shadow so I would say yes there are times when I was trying to do that and I am glad it came through.
Keven: What attracted you most to the Boondock Saints mythos and whose idea was it to launch into a comic based in that world?
Matthews: Here's a short(ish) version of the history - My background is both in comics and illustration as well as in design, branding and interactive media. Around 2005 a friend of mine was working for Boondock and introduced me to them when they were looking to refresh their website - I got introduced to the film as part of the prep to do that job and, like so many others, I frickin' loved it!
I was an instant fan and wanted to play with this world so bad. Right from the start I thought a comic series was a perfect fit. The characters just seemed ideal for it. I asked my buddy about the possibility of that but at the time all the rights were tied up and there was nothing that could be done.
Matthews: I felt so strongly about it though, so I had my old friend and comics collaborator, J.B. Love put together a spec script for what a comic series might be like and then we just sat on it. Years went by and then bingo! The rights got freed up and I was able to get into this notion of a comic series with Troy and Co. Fortunately, Troy liked that initial script enough to get engaged with us and after we had hashed out all the details we got going and haven't looked back!
Keven: Was it hard nailing down a specific artist to capture the essence of Boondock Saints? The look of the comic is so gritty and feels perfect, how did you get Guus Floor on board?
Matthews: We really lucked into the best possible team on this book. After Troy and Co. signed on we started talking to publishers. We talked to all the players and had a few options but at the end of the day 12-Gauge was the perfect fit. Keven Gardner (12-Gauge's Owner and Publisher) and I completely hit it off and he was already a big fan of the films. It was just a natural fit. We looked at a bunch of different artists even going so far as to get sample character designs and/or pages from a handful. Guus came to us through Keven and 12-Gauge. He had submitted samples to them and when Keven saw them he saw something that might work.
Matthews: When I saw them I agreed and we asked Guus to do some sketches. He knocked a couple out and they were just completely spot on perfect. We were honestly kind of blown away. Even better, as each issue came out he just got better and better and better. By the end his style had evolved and developed into something which I think is really special and amazing. I for one and very proud to have been a part of that development and to have had the immense pleasure of having each page come in and just be so right on. At this point I can't imagine Boondock Comics without Guus.
Rounding out the art team - we have to give a quick shout out to Matt Browning who's color work so perfectly complimentsGuus drawing, the combination really gives the book it's distinct look.
Keven: Why should fans buy this comic? And what do you say to comic readers who haven’t seen the films but maybe want to check out the ink?
Matthews: First of all - if you haven't seen The Boondock Saints you need to finish reading this interview and then RUN (don't walk) to go check it out. I always tell people it's the coolest flick you've never seen and the greatest indie film success story of all time. Then, if you're like the rest of the universe, after you've enjoyed every frame you're going to be dying for more. That's where we come in with the comic series and now this collection - the Graphic Novel - It's a perfect compliment to the films and yet also does a great job of bringing prospective new fans into the world as well.
Matthews: Boondock is such a brilliant mix of action, comedy, character and cool. We believe we stayed true to the spirit and feel of the films and at the same time told a kick ass tale that expands the world and mythology of the characters. It's a story you're not going to get anywhere else and it's genius (If I do say so myself) -
So, to current and future Boondock Fans - grab the book. You will absolutely not be disappointed!