LZ Exclusive: Why the ‘Boondock Saints’ Stars Left the Franchise

'I feel like a parent who has to explain to his kids why the parents are getting divorced," says actor

Sean Patrick Flanery loves his fans. The “Boondock Saints” and “Young Indiana Jones” actor frequently travels from fan convention to fan convention, meeting and talking with those who support his work.

Most want to hear about one thing: “Boondock.” While many artists grow resentful of the popularity of one piece of work over others — Prince, for example, refused to play “Purple Rain” at one point; Radiohead did the same with its song, “Creep” — Flanery can’t understand such thinking.

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“I never understood that,” Flanery told LifeZette in an exclusive interview. “If I ever heard Mick Jagger say, ‘Oh man, I don’t ever want to play “Sympathy for the Devil” again,’ I would want to punch him. He would lose me as a fan.”

Flanery seems to have as much love for “Boondock Saints” — a film that also starred Norman Reedus of “The Walking Dead,” about two Irish brothers who go on a vigilante killing spree in Boston after they think they receive a message from God — as many of the fans. And it certainly has its fans.

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After being dumped in a couple of theaters in 2000 and then completely disappearing, “Saints” found wild popularity on home video. The cult success of the feature led to a 2009 sequel, “The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day.” Fans have been clamoring for a third movie ever since.

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Flanery said the original studio “pawned it off to Blockbuster [Video], but then the public kind of disagreed with them. The public took two copies and gave them to two of their friends, and then those two friends gave them to two more, and so on.”

The kind of fan loyalty “Boondock” enjoys is unique. The original film had a blue-collar roughness to it, a blunt style and attitude about crime and religion to which people still seem attracted. Without the support of a Hollywood system, everyday moviegoers did the legwork and helped make the movie into the cult classic it is today.

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As for a third film, fans had something to celebrate recently when writer-director Troy Duffy announced he was planning on making the trilogy topper soon, as well as a television series reboot called “The Boondock Saints: Origins.” Supporters can now preorder the series or merchandise.

What created a fork in the road was a short statement from both Flanery and Reedus, in which they said they weren’t involved in the projects.

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The statement contradicted what the sales pitches to fans had claimed; those pitches said the two stars would “absolutely be back.” Without them, there wouldn’t seem to be a whole lot of support for the endeavors. Imagine “Dirty Harry” without Clint Eastwood, or “Die Hard” without Bruce Willis — and you’ll have a proper idea of the fan outrage and confusion on social media.

Asked about the statement and whether fans should ever expect a third film with him and Norman Reedus, Flanery took a long pause — as if his next words would be difficult. “I feel like a parent that has to explain to his kids why the parents are getting divorced,” he said.

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The actor continued, “I’ll tell you this. ‘Boondock Saints’ is an incredibly special product for me and Reedus, and we spoke at length about this before it came out. It takes a very dear place in our heart, so I hope everybody realizes that when we say at this point we are not going to have anything to do with ‘Boondock Saints III,’ it’s for a very, very, very good reason. It would take something monumental for us to make that decision. There was something that we think is very unfortunate, but we wish the best in all aspects. But sometimes there are things that you can’t turn a blind eye to, and I’ll leave it at that.”

“Sometimes there are things that you can’t turn a blind eye to, and I’ll leave it at that.”

Clearly this is still an open wound for the actor. He added, “This was a priority on both of our plates and for us to say no, just know that there had to be something that we deemed incredibly unethical that we cannot turn a blind eye to. And I’ll leave it at that.”

Despite his non-involvement with the third movie, Flanery is a long way from walking away from the wildly popular movie or fans. “I love the movie. It’s a big monument on my artistic and professional timeline. I don’t turn my back on that at all.”

The actor, who recently turned to novel writing with the book “Jane Two,” promised he would never join the ranks of artists who grow weary of a project and turn on its success and the constant attention of fans. “You should be so lucky,” he said, discussing such artists, “that anybody wants to discuss anything you’ve been paid an exorbitant amount of money to do, and yet 10, 20, 40 years later people still just want to say, ‘Hey, that movie moved me.'”

He added about his fan convention traveling and his embrace of the film’s supporters: “I don’t do that for the fans. I do that because I’m proud of it.”

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