The inevitable video game adaptation of modern genre favorite The Boondock Saints was announced at a SXSW panel this past weekend. The Austin-based transmedia production company Critical Mass Interactive are spearheading the project and are currently seeking investors to expand the game’s development.
Cinedelphia spoke with Boondock Saints director Troy Duffy on the eve of the game’s announcement about the project’s details, the franchise’s expansions into other mediums, and his upcoming film projects.
CINEDELPHIA: Was it surprising when you were approached about turning your film into a video game?
TROY DUFFY: It was something we’d already considered; Boondock is good guys against the bad, guys with guns and stuff, it all seemed to lend itself to a game. Sometimes you lose something in the translation of movie to video games so I was looking for a company that were fans of the films and that really understood the characters so that they could build that world with a deeper understanding than most. Critical Mass was that company.
C: So you were concerned with preserving the integrity of the films?
TD: Sure, and with video games these days you can do virtually anything you can imagine, y’know. Boondock has become an institution with the fanbase, you don’t want to offend, you want to do it the right way. You don’t want to do things willy-nilly where fans go “They’d never do that, they’d never be there, they’d never talk that way.” So I needed someone who understood the world and Critical Mass turned out to be those guys.
C: Does the game take place at any certain point during the Boondock mythology?
TD: No, the great thing about it is that you can go in and out all over the place. We can go anywhere and do anything, that’s the cool thing about video games. Basically we had all of this plot and story from the two films so I just told them to take the ball and run with it. But at the same time, let’s go off into different arenas, different venues, different adversaries for the Saints, let’s not pin ourselves down to plot, let’s have a good mix of both new shit and familiarity.
TD: We did a comic series, I wrote them with a young comic writer named J. B. Love, we found an artist and we released the comics one-by-one in stores and then compiled them into a graphic novel. It wasn’t something that was done willy-nilly, I was involved in the writing and choosing the artwork and all that stuff. You can get creative in so many different ways these days when you’re in the film business. You can do television shows, you can do graphic novels, video games. Just like Boondock has that connection with video games, it’s apparent when you watch the film, it has that same connection with comic books. I actually like the idea of reversing it and instead of taking an old comic book that everyone loved and making it into a movie, we did the film first and then the comic book. It was cool to get into that world and see how they do it.
C: I have to assume that you’ve at least danced around the idea of turning Boondock into a serialized television program.
TD: Yeah, we’re exploring that territory right now. And the thing that I like about it is that TV is challenging films these days, probably beating them in quality at the end of the day. Cable network shows are getting deep and creative and you can do so much more. In a movie you have two hours to hook everybody in, but a season of television you’re looking at 13 or 14 hours. There’s a lot more freedom these days in terms of the use of language, the depiction of violence; cable television has become another creative outlet and if you do Boondock as a cable-based television series then, at the end of the day, you get more Boondock for your buck.
C: Television has evolved quite a bit in the 13 years since your first film was released.
TD: Oh God yeah, sometimes I don’t go see a movie if one of my favorite shows is on, y’know? I love Breaking Bad, Mad Men, one of my favorite TV shows was Deadwood, I was upset when they pulled that. Obviously The Sopranos was great television, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones.
C: It’s easy to see Boondock fitting into that format.
TD: I feel like there’s a lot going for us straight out of the gate. We don’t have to work quite as hard as everyone else has to in order to get viewers to identify with the characters.
TD: I’ve got two. One’s called The Good King, which is a black comedy. The basic story is that a ne’er-do-well Prince’s father dies, he becomes king, and then he and his debaucherous best friend the Duke completely ruin the empire through their philandering and drinking. The other project is a serial killer thriller called The Blood Spoon Council which is about a vigilante group that hunts down, captures, and executes serial killers and then delivers them to the doorstep of the FBI. Those are both being spit-shined by me every fucking other day.
C: Are you a perfectionist in that regard?
TD: Definitely, the more preparation you do, the better it’s going to be at the end of the day, y’know? My garage is filled with big white boards with post-it notes everywhere, every scene, every thought. I’ve got things timed out with a stopwatch and I can sit there and basically watch the movie frame by frame. I probably take it a little farther than most, but basically I’ve got nothing else to do so fuck it.
C: Any plans for St. Patrick’s Day next weekend?
TD: Yeah, I’m a bit of a home improvement/carpentry guy so I built a bar in my backyard and I’m going to inaugurate it with some friends, it’s gonna be fun.
Visit the official Boondock Saints website for exclusive merchandise and further game info.
Author: Eric Bresler
Eric is the Founder/Site Editor of Cinedelphia.com whose additional activities are numerous: Director/Curator of the Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art (PhilaMOCA), founder of Tokyo No Records, the brain behind Video Pirates, and active local film programmer including the Unknown Japan screening series. He’s served as a TLA Video Manager, Philadelphia Film Society Managing Director, and Adjunct Professor in Cinema Studies at Drexel University. He is shy and modest. Email Eric.