Zachary Leeman chats with actor Brian Mahoney about The Boondock Saints and Fast & Furious 7…
Brian Mahoney. Chances are you don’t recognize that name. Should you? Probably. The man is a military veteran who has gone on to star in the cult films The Boondock Saints I and II as fan favorite character Detective Duffy and he has just come off roles in two of 2015’s big hits: Furious 7 and The Boy Next Door.
He’s not an instantly recognizable artist, but this undersung actor has to be one of the most interesting cats in movies right now. Sitting down to talk with us, Mahoney chatted about his move from the military (as an Attack Helicopter pilot, no less) to acting, his relationship with Boondock Saints fans and how he manages to have such a successful, yet quiet career.
This interview barely scratches the surface so follow Brian Mahoney on Twitter and keep an eye out for future interviews with him because he’s got plenty to say and it’s all worth hearing.
Zachary Leeman: How did you first get the role of Duffy in The Boondock Saints?
Brian Mahoney: Hi Zach…Chris Brinker helped me get my Boondock Saints audition. I met him through friends at New Line Cinema where he worked as an assistant. He is the one who discovered Troy Duffy, the bartender turned writer-director. Chris was fearless and used his discovery of Troy to leave the studio system and become a full time producer…I miss Chris. We all do. His early death reminds us that tomorrow is promised to no-one.
BM: There are similarities. Especially in the intensity of teamwork, but it was a very tough transition for me. As an Attack Helicopter pilot in the military, it was all “think – do not feel.” There is no room in the cockpit for emotion. Acting is the opposite. I once had an acting teacher tell me, “Brian you think too much…you have to FEEL this scene!”
ZL: You’re very active on Twitter with Boondock fans. What is it about The Boondock Saints that these guys and gals love so much because those movies have a massive and loyal following few film critics or reporters seem to be able to explain?
BM: The popularity of the Boondock Saints began with a slow build. The film was rejected for theatrical release and eventually bought by Blockbuster Video and released as one of their store favorites. That release allowed movie fans to ‘discover’ Boondock Saints on their own and they used word of mouth to spread the news. Shortly thereafter, Facebook was invented and one of the profile questions was about ‘favorite movies’. Within months, The Boondock Saints was on the Facebook top 10 favorite movie lists at hundreds of major colleges throughout the country. Small colleges, big universities like Notre Dame, Ivy League schools. It was fun to watch the list grow.
ZL: You were in two very big movies this year: “The Boy Next Door” and “Furious 7,” both for Universal. How did those roles come about?
BM: I fight for every role I get. I am very non-traditional in how I attack a role, how I interact with Hollywood. Because I arrived here late – in my 30’s – I didn’t have a lot of luck with Hollywood agents. “Too old,” too this, too that. Agents were the gate-keepers at the time. I eventually figured out there were alternative ways of getting through or around those Hollywood gates and into the important rooms. I would love a good agent at this point, but I refuse to hold my breath and wait.
BM: I pleaded my case to audition for the role of ‘Sheppard’ in Furious 7, because I felt that character had a great relationship with Kurt Russell’s character in the film – and I believed my age was close enough to Kurt’s to be believable. They let me read for it but chose someone else, then Paul Walker died and that was that. I didn’t know it at the time but Universal liked my audition and 6 months later when they began to shoot the ending without Paul Walker, I got a call to come in and read for another role – the Drone Tech. Initially I was apprehensive because the Drone Tech tries to kill Paul, but it all works out in the end.
ZL: I have to ask: Have you heard anything about The Boondock Saints III from Troy Duffy? I know he’s hard at work on the film from videos he’s been posting on his website and I can only assume Duffy and company will be back.
BM: I am cautiously optimistic about the 3rd installment. I know he’s working on the script but I have not read a word of it. Am I in it? Troy told me yes.
ZL: A lot is said about The Boondock Saints in regards to the famous Miramax deal and the massive following, but not much attention is ever paid to the actual making of it. What was the filming of the original like? Did you guys know you were making something special, did it feel different from other films and how was Troy Duffy as the leader of that crazy ship?
BM: Troy Duffy blew us all away. I couldn’t believe his confidence. It was like he’d been directing his whole life – absolutely no fear. And at night, Bob Marley and I would join Troy and his band and hit the night-life. Special? BDS1 was a magical set.
ZL: Any upcoming projects you’d like fans and readers to know about?
BM: I’m having a great year so far. Even though my ‘sex scene’ was cut from The Boy Next Door, the film did set a record. It is now one of the highest grossing erotic thrillers of all time. And Furious 7 is about to also set a record and has broken the $1 billion mark worldwide. Next month I hope to meet some of your readers in Nashville, where I will be attending a convention with Sean Flanery and David Della Rocco from The Boondock Saints. Until then….Carpe diem!
Many thanks to Brian Mahoney for taking the time for this interview.
Zachary Leeman – Follow me on Twitter