“Certainly the South has its own very distinct signature on people that are raised there.”
Those are the words of actor and writer Sean Patrick Flanery, who talked to LifeZette about his debut novel, “Jane Two,” out in paperback last month. “I think it’s a little bit different than your normal New York and LA culture, without getting into details.”
The actor of such projects as “The Boondock Saints” and “Young Indiana Jones Chronicles” revealed that he originally made his trek from Texas to Hollywood in search of success as a writer, not a performer.
“To me, becoming an actor, it was just such a low probability,” he said. “And also, it was very subjective, which I’m not a big fan of.” Writing had more of an appealing practicality. He said he knew it was within the realm of possibility for him to save up money from waiting tables and then to produce a play. “That was something I knew I could accomplish.”
When he got the offer to start going to auditions for commercials and bit parts, Flanery again took a practical approach to the whole affair. He saw it as a way to “supplement my income,” he said.
But extra money turned into a primary career as Flanery went on a journey that put him in cult classics like “The Boondock Saints,” scored the role of one of the most iconic characters of all time (Indiana Jones), and put him in movies with everyone from Sylvester Stallone to Sarah Michelle Gellar.
“Writing took a backseat for 20 years,” he said. The now 51-year-old actor wrote occasionally for various outlets and even started his own successful blog, shineuntiltomorrow.com, before he tackled his novel, which he said is partly autobiographical.
“Jane Two” is about a young man named Mickey growing up in Texas, navigating the world of young love and fitting in. Doling out advice to the boy is his grandfather, a politically incorrect and blunt figure many from the South will recognize. He’s a man with short and sweet advice, the kind of person people from bigger cities would pass by without giving a thought to or a second look — but he’s smarter and wiser than most realize.
Flanery said the character and the story have a personal connection for him — and he finally felt free enough to put his name on this story and release it to the world in recent years. “This is my truth. I don’t care who it offends,” he said.
“As an actor,” he added, “you’re kind of muzzled because you have to remain this nebulous personality so they can fit you into any type of character without preconceived notions. That’s why most actors just keep their mouths shut.”
It’s also why, according to Flanery, “speaking your mind — it’s dangerous in some ways.”