Clifton Collins Jr. is one of Hollywood’s truly unheralded talents. He has appeared in an impressive amount different movies, from summer blockbusters like J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek to comedies like Sunshine Cleaning; action movies like Crank 2: High Voltage to Oscar-winning dramas like Traffic, Babel, and Capote. He’s even done popular video games like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
Acting is in Clifton’s blood: his grandfather Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez has a huge resume, appearing in movies like Rio Bravo with John Wayne and Dean Martin; as well as many TV appearances on classic shows like Gunsmoke, I Dream of Jeannie, and Perry Mason. For a while, Collins Jr. went by the name of Clifton Gonzalez Gonzalez in honor of his grandfather.
Mr. Collins Jr. was gracious enough to answer some questions for Geeks of Doom about his work on the highly-anticipated sequel Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day and Mike Judge’s new movie Extract, as well as some other areas of his great career.
Geeks of Doom: First off, we here at Geeks of Doom just want to thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions for us. I’ve personally been a fan of yours for a while now and it’s really great to see you appearing in so many big projects.
What can you tell us about your character, Romeo, in Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day?
Clifton Collins Jr.: Thanks Jason, that’s really sweet. If it weren’t for people and fans like yourself, I’d have no reason to be doing what Iâ€™m doing, so thanks, those kind of statements really mean a lot to me!
Romeo, is a bad mofo in his own right. That said he is also a fan of other bad-ass mofos — in particular The Saints. He’s been following these guys like a little kid follows his favorite comic book heroes. He idolizes them and wants to be them. Like any fighters or groups of merit, one has to earn their membership. That’s where all the cool funny stuff that comes out of Mr. Duffy’s sheer brilliant mind comes to play! It’s certainly an Alpha dog world — NO SISSIES!
GoD: Being a New Englander myself, The Boondock Saints is at a level here where it seems more like part of the family than just a great movie. From what I’ve gathered in all of the video journals, it was an awesome experience for all involved; can you sum up your experience personally working on the very long-awaited sequel?
CCJ: There was certainly a lot of pressure, I think all of us were aware of how long and how anticipated this Family Picture has been in the making. We all want to keep the fans happy and make them proud. So once we worked out all the nicks and kinks we just blasted away, so to speak, as it were, per se. Me personally, being a close friend of Troy’s, I certainly didn’t want to let him down. So I might have a little extra difficulty in my attempting to make everybody happy, but that’s all something that comes out of caring deeply, as it were.
GoD: You’re someone who has been around for a while now, and you’ve done about as many different genres as an actor can do — how did All Saints Day compare to other movies you’ve worked on?
CCJ: It was very different. There is a lot of attention and pressure on Troy for the beginnings of Boondock II was such a sensational discovery, the way the whole thing came about. So there is certainly a different feeling and also anticipation on set. None like Iâ€™ve ever felt before. My investment in this film being very personal, Iâ€™m always going to look to protect Troy and be as good as I can possibly be adapting to his style of roguish directing. He’s a unique, special guy with an incredible mind and charm.
GoD: As an actor, how do you select roles — do you simply go for the scripts that you enjoy, or is there a method to the process for you?
CCJ: I am very careful in the selecting of my roles. Of course, there is the rare occasion when one is hard up for money and you just take a job, that for me is very sad and emotionally painful. In general, I’ll go after a role where I know I can make a difference. Like how can I take what’s on the page and make it special or memorable. If I get stuck and can’t figure that out, Iâ€™ll just walk away, and then of course Iâ€™ll come back for another crack at it the next day. I love a good challenge. Then there is the issue of ethnicity. I have to be really careful to NOT do the same kind of character too many times, or the same ethnicity. I really enjoy diversity. Hollywood powers generally don’t like this. Itâ€™s confusing to change all the time, but it’s what makes me tick. Wouldn’t you be bored of me if I just kept playing the same character and ethnicity over and over again? I know I would. Iâ€™d probably run off to Guadalajara and become a professional underwater basket weaver!
GoD: I know a trailer is now set to debut at Comic Con, but not too long ago, you told reporters that you were hearing that we may just get to see Boondock 2 in theaters around October/November. Have you heard anything further as to when we may see the movie?
CCJ: I know this much, the film has been tested and the people are super psyched! I must also confess that I am secretly kind of excited myself. The anticipation of this film is fun, and I do believe that the hoopla around it is a 100% warranted. Rest assured that Sony is really going to take care of our baby. Aside from that, I don’t really know about the exact release dates, and yes, we WILL see the trailer at Comic Con! Woohoo!
GoD: There have been some subtle rumblings over the years that director Troy Duffy has a trilogy in mind for the Saints — do you know if this is true and if we’re going to see a third film in the series at any point?
CCJ: Gosh, Iâ€™d think that we’d all like to see a third one, especially after ya’ll see this one! Weâ€™ve been joking around about it. Iâ€™m sure Troy’s got a bunch of ideas up his sleeves. But, also know that Mr.Duffy isn’t just a Saint, he’s got so many other great scripts and ideas, he’s incredibly creative, and by no means a one trick pony. Hey, how about Boondock Santos: All Romeo’s Day? Huh, huh?
GoD: So far this summer has seemingly been a disappointment to many. One movie that did not disappoint was J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, which you appeared in. What was it like for you to enter a world as iconic as Star Trek?
CCJ: I was so focused on the work that I forgot to even think about the iconic status of a picture like this. It wasn’t until I got to set that it all came down on my shoulders like a couple of kilos of beans! I was sweating, my heart was racing, and I was fascinated all at the same time, but I had my good director my side, as scared as I was, I was also very proud.
GoD: This is strictly speculative, but there were some rumors recently that you may be involved in Kenneth Branagh’s big Marvel movie, Thor. Is there any truth to these rumors? Can you tell us anything about it?
CCJ: What I can tell you about Thor is that I am NOT involved in any way shape or form, but Kenneth is a bad-ass and I don’t need to be in Thor to share that. I’ve been loving his work for years! Iâ€™m really excited for this opportunity for him, he’s gonna rock it!
GoD: Mike Judge is the man when it comes to great comedies with die hard cult followings; what can you tell us about his new movie Extract, your part in the movie, and how excited we should be?
CCJ: Extract?! Oh my God — I mean really, it’s Mike Judge! I can’t tell you how much fun this was. I love working with an icon like Mike, he’s also a personal friend, but to be on a set with so much fun and laughter, it’s at those moments when you realize how blessed you are to be doing this kind of work with this kind of genius. It’s everything that you think it’s going to be, I have a funny feeling that Iâ€™m preaching to the choir. I play Step, and I have a little accident, and then this super hot talented chick named Mila Kunis tries to seduce me so that she can talk me into trying to sue those responsible for losing my nut. As you can imagine its probably not that hard for her to do.
GoD: What’s in the future for you? Are you strictly concentrating on acting right now, or are there other exciting areas that you’re expanding out to?
CCJ: I’ve got a couple of films Iâ€™m circling right now, can’t say too much till it actually happens. Been focusing on my writing and directing, looking to do something with Bandito Bros., Karma Collective and got a pretty big thriller in development over at Mpower Pictures that Iâ€™m really excited about directing — and I mean really excited! In the mean time look out for The Soul of John Black‘s new video that I directed, it’ll be on iTunes called “Betty Jean,” itâ€™s a funky one!
I hope that I answered the questions well enough to keep you all excited and thank you to all the Geeks of Doom! You guys rule!