Yesterday, I had occasion to take part in a teleconference Q&A session with Sean Patrick Flanery [The Dead Zone, The Boondock Saints I & II] in support of Syfy’s latest Saturday night B-movie, Mongolian Death Worm [9/8C]. Flanery made it clear that he was very enthusiastic about the movie pretty much from the get-go – and explained why.
He also found time to talk a bit about his classic evil politician from The Dead Zone, the upcoming Saw 7 in 3D and his love of – and participation in – Brazilian Jujitsu [he owns and teaches in a school for the martial art in Hollywood].
I had a question – with all the roles that you’ve had Sean this character role seems so different. How did you prepare for this role?
Sean Patrick Flanery: Hmm. Well, you know to be perfectly honest my preparation kind of in everything I keep completely to the script. I don’t – I’m not a big method actor or anything like that. I think pretty much every bit of information that you need to go in and make a movie is contained in the script itself.
So it was just a product of you know, myself and Steven reading the script and coming up with what we thought really worked. And you know, I definitely wanted to add an aspect of humor to the guy because I think it’s a very fine line.
You know when I read the script I think you know, this could be kind of tongue in cheek and yet, kind of scary at the same time, and all of those things. And you know, I think we’ve pulled it off you know.
So, really there is no great secret I don’t go to the farthest corner of Malibu and meditate or anything like that. You know, it’s really – it’s really all script based.
My research for every film I’ve ever done starts on Page 1 and ends at fadeout. It really does.
And then a series of questions directed at all the collaborators, you know, the director, the writer, and we come up with you know, something that we want to shoot for.
And you know, it some movies you pull it off, some you don’t. And I really think we hit it on this one.
What did you find the most challenging about playing this role?
Flanery: The Texas heat.
Lisa Steinberg: You were raised in Texas.
Flanery: Yes, I was so – that was a joke. Really the most challenging aspect of this is a technical issue. And literally every piece of recorded dialogue in the film you watched had to be looped.
Flanery: The audio was completely useless. So I’ll tell you this it’s – you know, an actor’s nightmare is whenever he has to go in and he has to loop lines and he has to re-record lines. Just because the emotional tone whether it is comedy, theater, anger you know, any of that it’s really hard to replicate on a sound stage when you’re not physically going through the motions.
And in this film literally every line had to be looped. So I was petrified at that. I didn’t know if we could even come close to replicating you know, what we did on the day.
So that was the most challenging aspect. Without question it was on the soundstage trying to replicate this and audio.
Well, what made the audio unable to be used originally?
Flanery: I don’t know. I don’t know if it was a technical thing, if it was a frequency thing. I don’t know. But we had to redo absolutely everything which was – it was difficult it really was.
But you know, in the end I – you know, I’m proud of the project – so. But I think it you know, would have been much easier and you know, we would have stayed to you know, the authentic original you know, what we captured on the day it would have been much, much easier.
But I think we still got there it just took a lot more effort you know, in post production.
What fun this film was.
Flanery: Yes, thanks, thanks, thanks I’m glad you saw that because we had a ball making it. We really did.
No, I truly enjoyed it. You know, and I just listened to what you were saying about how you stick to the script and the scene with the power plant worker where you kind of take his gun away from him…
…where you confused him, it felt very improv to me.
Flanery: Yes, it did.
It didn’t feel scripted and it was a really a fun – a great scene it was one of my favorites and I was wondering if you could talk about that for a sec.
Flanery: Well thanks, yes. I pretty much made that all up on the day. You know, those are the moments where I really felt like we had to add some humor there. And to be honest I’d love to do a project that was nothing but that.
Flanery: And this is a great opportunity to do some of that. To interject some humor and some you know, so I mean the shows that I really liked were you know, like Raiders of the Lost Ark…
Flanery: …where it was deadly serious but he was funny as well. And you could see that this guy really, really enjoyed what he did. You know, he just relished every moment of the day.
And you know, and I wanted to try my best – obviously not to compare this to Harrison Ford by any stretch of the imagination, but you know, to sort of bring some of that you know, that joie de vivre to him.
You know, I mean, he just loved every moment. Everything was exciting you know, he was following his dream chasing these artifacts. And everything was – there was a moment for humor in everything. You know, he didn’t take himself seriously, and there was a element of you know, this character being a little self deprecating which I always find you know, disarming you know, in a certain way.
Flanery: And I’ve always wanted to do a film like that, and I certainly liked to do one you know, from start to finish like that.
Flanery: But yes, we made that up on the day. I just – there was a couple other moments whenever he breaks character when he is turning the valves on and off.
Flanery: You know, I made that up on the day as well. It was just – we were really just having fun.
Clockwise, no, no, the other way.
Flanery: Yes, yes, yes. And then it completely breaks character and he goes, no, no, seriously because I tried it one time and it didn’t work – you know.
Those moments are just you know, I mean, and working with Steven was a great opportunity because he was open to that. You know, he really was.
Flanery: If we found something that worked, we kind of latched on to it. And it was really cool, it really was I had a wonderful time.
Well, I believe that, your friend Andrew Stevens the producer – I mean from the Boondock Saints. I mean did he sit you down and basically said listen, Steve McQueen had The Blob, this is your Blob.
Flanery: You know what, he didn’t, but that would have been a great line. That would have been an excellent line. You know, it’s funny every time you know, people are like Mongolian Death Worm, what is that? I’m like no, no, no, no you got to check it out. You got to check it out, because it’s – you know, it’s – I mean, because of the title you have to know that it’s not taking itself too seriously…
Flanery: …to call itself Mongolian Death Worm. And in that I think we really made a neat little film you know.
Absolutely you sure did. And so the ending Victoria Pratt you know, Elisa, the Doctor – the Doc…
Kind of open ended there for you guys to you know, she is (wishful) I hope I see you again.
Flanery: I know.
I mean it’s an interesting story line. So are you like, are we going do another, another version of the Mongolian Death Worm somehow, someway. And you know, keep this Indiana Jones as history that you know, obviously you have history with Indiana Jones… so, to just too kind of keep this adventure line open any talk of that?
Flanery: You know, no, no, there wasn’t on the day because I mean did shop the film. But I questioned it you know, to him. I’m okay, like wait a minute, this guy is in the middle of Senegal and he leaves all of these objects in the middle of the dessert and he just drives away? Come on man, come on.
I know, highly improbable.
Flanery: Yes I know, I know. But you know, we really didn’t talk any further we just really had a wonderful time shooting this one.
Awesome. My last question for you, I went to college in Houston I went to Cougar High, University of Houston.
Flanery: Oh yes.
And I know you went to the University of St. Thomas.
So do you miss Capitan Benny’s, and there is a whole mess in the Gulf. I mean are just heartsick what is going on with the whole oil spill and all the good – you know, what I mean, I’m sure you know, you’re from Louisiana you lived in Houston.
Flanery: Yes and I grew up surfing there so you know, the Surfside Pier, Matagorda… you know the Flagship and Galveston all of that. That’s where I grew up. You know, as well as you know, Louisiana Coast. I mean you know, I’m a bayou person from you know, the Louisiana Gulf.
So it’s just all my area. So, you know, I mean you know, you never know what is going to happen, but I grew up amongst a lot of oil spills and I was there you know, for a lot of the oil spills.
And whenever you know, I would see you know, paddling in on my surfboard and the news would be you know, isolating one little you know, tar puddle and saying the beaches are uninhabitable right when I paddled in.
So you know, I’m holding out hope that it’s not going to be nearly as apocalyptic as they are suggesting.
Flanery: You know. So you know, it’s obviously it’s tragic I’m not trying to downplay it all, it is tragic. But I’m hoping for the best you know, I’m hoping you know, that this dome that they’re dropping as we speak works you know.
And we move on to the next thing. I’m hoping everybody gets their shrimp, I’m hoping everybody – the fisherman…
The oysters did. The oysters…
Flanery: Yes, you know, I’m hoping everything goes right back to where it was. So, I’m keeping my fingers crossed you know.
Hey how’s it going?
Flanery: Good man, how are you?
Just fine so far. I really enjoyed the movie.
Flanery: Oh, cool. Thanks.
I find actually that I enjoy the low budget stuff you do more than the big budget. I mean I live in hope of Demon Hunter 2 for example.
Flanery: Well that’s cool. Yes, I really dug that too. Thanks man.
So, my question is this – what is it about these low budget seat, of your pants movies like Mongolian Death Worm that speak to you that get so much cool energy from you?
Flanery: I’ll tell you very concisely it’s the freedom to do what you want. The bigger budget stuff there is 15 cooks in the kitchen and everybody wants something done incredibly specifically, and precisely. There is no freedom to improvise just like what we were talking about. You know, some of the favorite scenes are completely made up on the day.
There’s no ego’s, you know the writer is not going to go well, I didn’t write that so don’t do it.
You know, somebody on the set is going wait a minute, that works lets do it, you know. It’s just more collaborative completely collaborative. You know, you have to improvise with a lot of things not just in the acting but you have to improvise with the way you like things.
You know, sometimes you got to move an indoor set to outdoor, you know. And everybody finds something the best it’s just you know, I – that’s, I completely agree with your assessment you know, some of the smaller budgets stuff you end up being the most creative because everybody really has to dig deep and pull something out.
And if something works everybody agrees and latches on to it as opposed to you know, 19 executives saying well you know, we need to get that approved and we need five signed agreements before you make a decision.
It’s just a more – it’s just, I mean it breeds creativity it really just does and I think that kind of you know, micromanagement stipples creativity. Which it really doesn’t matter if you have you know, the best script on the planet to star with then you can micromanage and see it and realize it.
But if there’s any problems and if a script is not 100% perfect then I think everybody needs to have the freedom to you know, at least have something – be able to approach you know, the director you know, the upper management to say what if this, you know, without being shut down.
You know and I think the smaller budget stuff they do that because people are there because they love it. You know, people aren’t there because they are getting a paycheck, people are there because they really thought wow, this could be kind of cool – you know.
Because on a project like this you know, obviously nobody got rich, you know. People did it because we read it, and we were like that could be kind of fun, you know. And people that are there for that reason are usually really ready to work. And they really are hoping to make something really good in quality.
You do villains really well. We saw that in the Dead Zone. But scoundrels; you haven’t done as many. What is about the scoundrel – particularly the good scoundrel that speaks to you.
Flanery: You know, I don’t know. I’m not really sure. But like I said earlier I like there to be some redeeming quality in the character. You know, for some reason that okay, this guy is only out for himself. But there is for some reason you kind of like him, you know. And I enjoy that you know. I enjoy that mischievous nature of boyhood, you know and the fact that some adults can retain it.
A lot like you know, Harrison in Raiders, you know. I thought this guy is a boy you know, although he is a 40 year old man chasing artifacts he is a boy, you know.
And he is just really appealing you know, he’s disarming you know, he just has just a way of getting what he wants without really offending anybody. And I really enjoy – I enjoy playing that. I enjoy you know, exploring that, you know.
I think you know, a lot of characters take themselves way too seriously. And so you know, in respect of that I just really find that appealing and enjoyable to portray.
Can you tell us kind of how you got the part. I mean, did you audition or were you asked to do it?
Flanery: Really Steven called me and said hey, I was thinking about you for this role would you give it a read. And I did, and I said let’s go and do it, this would be really, really cool, you know.
It’s – you know, it is, it’s a different kind of Sci-Fi Movie and realistically that’s the kind of sci-fi movie that I could do over and over again. I’d do a series like that to play a character like that chasing stuff like that, that’s – I just find it really, really appealing.
It’s not the dead serious you know, where at DEFCON 5 and the space lizards are going to attack in 13 seconds. You know, it’s not that it’s just, it had a real magical feel about it.
And you know, I immediately you know, called Steven after reading it and I said you know, I see it this way you know, a little you know, a little funny and tongue and cheek. And he is like absolutely, absolutely. So we saw eye to eye on it and went on and made it, that was it.
So, I’m guessing with the Worm and everything you did a lot of green screen. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Flanery: Yes, you know it was – the real Worm was obviously never there, so it was all green screen which is something that I’m not that foreign to. Because you know, on the Young Indiana Jones in the early 90s we did pretty much the first green – well it was the blue screen back then on television period. You know, ILM developed all that technology.
So yes, I mean you know, you talk about where the Worm is, what the worm is going to do, and you let your imagination run wild, you know. It’s just you know, somebody is going to say this is what the worm is going to do, it’s going to reach in, that is where it’s going to be, you’re going to point the gun, you’re going to fire at it. And you have to just, you have to just shut your eyes and believe it you know.
And then hope when the post production artist and special affects guys get in there they make a neat looking worm. And I was pleasantly surprised with the worms. I mean I thought a lot of that stuff where the worm was hanging on the ceiling and yanked the character from the ground up I thought that looked amazing – I really did.
And you know, but you never know you know, you always kind of rolling the dice whenever you don’t know if you know, somebody’s interpretation of the worm is going to be hokey or what not. But this looked killer, I was really happy with that.
But it’s not nearly as difficult as people say. I mean, you know, lets be honest I mean acting is pretend, it is, you know. When somebody says well I can’t really do it because the person is not here, it’s like honey, when the person is really there it’s not really the person it’s an actor, you know.
Flanery: And so let’s not act like you really have to speak to the president, you know, it’s not really the president, you know.
So you know, I think you all just have to pretend and be kids again. And on the day I pretended that there was worms there, you know. And it was fun, you know. And that’s pretty much it, you know. It’s not difficult at all. It’s fun.
Great. And lastly what would be your ultimate dream role. I mean or, is there somebody specific you want to work with even – or.
Flanery: You know, not really. My specific dream role is good material and a character that I really like you know. That’s really it, you know.
I like this character you know, I think it’d be killer to do you know, a series with a character like that you know, to really explore you know, adventures on a weekly basis and where he would go and his relationship. I think that would be wonderful.
You know, having said that I can think of you know, a thousand things that’d be great to do, you know. But that’s certainly one of them.
Just good material, you know. I want to do stuff that when I read the script I’m like wow that would be fun.
You know, there has got to be a handful of scenes in the script and I think wow, I can’t wait to shoot that, you know. Or wow, I can add this to that, or this would be neat, or this be funny you know, things like that.
You know, you mentioned Young Indiana Jones a minute ago. How much of Daniel is drawn from him? Did you go back to that material and use any of it?
Flanery: Realistically it is what I wished I could have done with Young Indie, you know?
But Young Indie was you know, at you know, from 16 to 20 and it was – it wasn’t – he hadn’t developed into the mischievous character that Harrison Ford was when he did Indiana Jones.
I mean I – don’t get me wrong, I loved Young Indiana Jones. I loved doing it. But it was a very horrific eye opening and naïve point in his life. Where every experience was his first you know, his first time he has fell in love, the first time he saw death. And they were all you know, character building you know, moments in his life that ultimately would result in the Harrison Ford character. Or you know, something similar to the character that I brought as Daniel.
I mean it would have been wonderful to do a series where he was already like that. But you know, he didn’t have that reflection on life with a mischievous grin yet. Because Young Indie was all of those moments that created that uh-huh, I completely understand that look in somebody’s eyes, if that makes sense.
Yes, I understand. I also wanted to know have you heard of this creature prior to signing on to the film. Like did you know about the Mongolian Death Worm?
Flanery: Absolutely nothing. I thought it was made up, I mean I did. I was like, oh my God, wow that’s kind of cool. You know, there really is this story about the Mongolian Death Worm – yes. But no, I never had.
One more quick thing, what was it like to work opposite Victoria?
Flanery: She was killer, she was great. I mean a wonderful girl. We – you know, we became friends on the set. I think she is a – you know, she is a solid human being. I had a great time.
You know, and it’s – you know, it’s – shooting a film like that it’s just so much more lax you know. You know, we would shoot and you know, we’re out in the dessert in Dallas so you know, then we go grab some lunch into town, come back shoot some more dessert stuff, it’s just you know, it’s just – she is a good human, you know.
And ultimately I don’t care how creative somebody and how good of an actor they are, if they are not pleasant to work with I really can’t be bothered, you know.
You know, it’s because life is too short and she is, she is just a wonderful, wonderful person.
I was talking to Duffy – Troy Duffy. I interviewed him and it was really funny I write for a fitness site and I go – I asked him if he worked out. I go do you work out, and he goes no but he says you do, you’re really into Jujitsu.
Flanery: Yes ma’am, yes ma’am.
Yes, that’s great.
Flanery: Yes, at least he was honest about that. That cat works out by doing cigarette curls.
That’s right, yes, I know. Yes he is really – yes.
Flanery: You know, I mean I was just with CB two nights ago and talking about that. I’m like – I’m dying to get those guys in the gym just because you know, they’re my friends I want them to stick around a little longer. But man, those guys cannot get off the couch with their cigarette.
I know. Yes, but yes, you look good. I mean you’ve actually won some awards.
Flanery: Yes, yes, yes, I’ve won a few national championships in Brazilian Jujitsu. You know, Tae Kwando same thing. And I own my own academy here in LA.
Flanery: I – you know, I teach most days. You know, I am an actor obviously that is bread and butter. But I’m there everyday teaching class. You know, it’s my passion, it’s what I – I’ve been in martial arts since I was 9. So you know, it’s something I really, really love.
Yes, do you have – yes, that’s awesome. Do you have any favorite martial arts movies that you like to watch, does any come to mind? Or do you ever think of doing one that is you know, like the kind that you see like Ong-Bak, or anything like that or…
Flanery: Yes, I mean all of them, obviously all of them. But, oddly enough it’s kind of a well kept secret. You know, there is a lot actors in Hollywood that you know, people think are martial artists, but really they’ve never really competed, you know, but they have this reputation.
Oddly enough I’m actually one that actually does compete, but nobody knows I do martial arts – so. So you know, it’s a little different like that. But yes, I’d love to. I mean everybody would. And do I have favorites? You know, what got me into it really was you know, Bruce Lee movies. And even things like Patrick Swayze you know, like Road House and stuff like that.
Flanery: I mean when I was kid, dude, I loved Bruce Lee films you know, loved those. You know, and I wanted – I wanted that magic that martial arts you know, that everybody thought martial arts had, you know. So I went through all of them. You know, searching for that magic. And ultimately I found it with Brazilian Jujitsu, you know.
That’s awesome. What’s your favorite kick that you do best?
Flanery: Well a little Thai-Kick, the most effective. I mean, the prettiest you know, spinning hook kick obviously. But it just doesn’t – it’s just going to piss somebody off. But it is definitely the most beautiful you know, it’s – but not really the most functionally effective, you know.
Good and do you think that – I’m sure, you know, this probably is a rhetoric question but it probably does help you to concentrate on your work. You know, because of Jujitsu and their training. You know, the martial arts of concentration probably helps you on the set to concentrate on your – you know, on your gig. Don’t you think?
Flanery: Well I’ll put it to you this way. I think being physically fit helps absolutely everything. I mean it helps you if you have a desk job and you drop your pencil and you bend over to pick it up. It helps absolutely everything. And it’s those incremental little benefits that throughout the end of the day you’re not tired at all. I mean you have gas for days, you have energy everything.
It’s – I mean even in Dallas you know, I was training at Guy Mezger’s Gym. I mean everyday when we wrap I’d go train. You know, I mean the Brazilian Jujitsu community is really tiny so I know somebody in every city. I know them from tournaments, from the world championships, from the Pan America Games everything.
So I was training everyday out there. And you know, I wake up in the morning, I feel good. By the end of the day I’m – I still have energy. It helps absolutely everything. It is something I cannot recommend more highly.
I wanted to tell you my husband and some of my friends said I just had to tell you that we’re all a bunch of pacifist and yet some of our favorite movies absolutely are the Boondock Saints movies. We love them.
Flanery: Oh, excellent.
I just – I absolutely love them. And what I wanted to ask in relation to Mongolian Death Worm is, which do you think is more over the top, playing Connor McManus or playing this guy in Mongolian Death Worm?
Flanery: Hmm, Connor McManus in Boondock II.
Oh yes, okay absolutely.
Flanery: I think he is more over the top in that order. The most over the top, Connor in Boon Dock 2, then, Daniel in Mongolian. And the least over the top, Connor in Boondock I.
Very cool. That was a very concise answer. I like that.
Flanery: Yes, yes, yes.
I also would like to ask, if you don’t mind, do you have any word for us on what your next project might be?
Flanery: None, absolutely none. You mean filming?
Yes I mean in filming. But actually, if you have something else concerning your martial arts I’d love to hear about that too.
Flanery: Well on Halloween I have Saw 7 coming out. It’s Saw 7 it’s going to be in 3D. So, I’m in that, that’s going to be coming out. And as far as anything else you know, it’s – I’m an actor. So, I’m unemployed. So you know, until the next gig and I’ll be sure to let you know about that whenever it comes. But other than that, you know, I’m at my academy everyday Hollywood Brazilian Jujitsu.
That’s the name of your academy?
Flanery: Yes, Hollywood Brazilian Jujitsu. HollywoodBJJ.com. And I’m there everyday. I own it, I operate it and I’m there every single day.
I think that is really great. You know, it’s one of those things that everybody can say you have something to fall back on.
Flanery: Yes, exactly, exactly. Everyone is saying well you need to get something. I’m like no, no, no, I got something. I got something to fall back on.
You got something. And if you don’t mind I’d like to ask one more question. Was the movie that you made – the Mongolian Death Worm, was that made specifically for Syfy? Or was it – did you do it for another company and they actually sold it to Syfy later?
Flanery: No ma’am I think, I’m pretty sure, I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure it was for the Syfy Channel. I’m pretty sure, I’m not 100%. But I’m pretty sure it was specifically for that.
Well, thank you very much for taking time. And I’ll be looking forward just to seeing you on Saturday. I’m one of the people who has not already seen the movie.
Flanery: Well I think – I really think you know, I’ll be honest, I do a lot of these and you know, and sometimes I kind of dodge questions. But this I really think it’s good, I really do man. And I hope you do like it, I really do.
Oh I think I will. I watched the sneak peak on the Syfy Channel Web site the other day. Because I wanted to see a little bit at least before I talked to you. And it looked like a lot of fun. I’m thinking hey, now that is a great movie. Because you know if I watched it on the late feed, I can watch on Mother’s Day.
Flanery: Oh excellent. You know, it’s a – what I like to tell everybody it’s like – if you don’t like this movie, you take yourself way too seriously. And you need to check for pulse because you’re dead inside.
Oh, I definitely don’t take myself very seriously.
Flanery: Excellent. Because it’s one of those movies, it’s like how can you not like it, it’s just fun.
Well most of my questions about Mongolian Death Worm have been taken already.
Flanery: Oh, all right.
Is there – what is one of the most memorable on site moments that you had?
Flanery: I would say probably fracturing my nose at Jujitsu Academy while I was there. That was probably what sticks out in my head. It wasn’t bad – I mean it didn’t prevent – prohibit filming or anything like that. But, that let’s see, you know, I mean, there was nothing – I guess really driving the International Scout through the desert.
Because during that chase scene you know, I did it all myself. So you know, I was letting the back end hang out, fishtailing everywhere and then I’d drive it to lunch and do doughnuts. I mean it’s – you know, I had a ball in that International Scout.
We were on a ranch with nothing out there, so it was a lot of fun.
That’s great, that sounds like a great time. And is there a piece of advice that you would share with aspiring actors?
Flanery: Yes, yes, first this is going to sound absurd, but be good. And what I mean by that is, you know, have somebody other than you mom tell you that you’re good before you – you know, decide to pursue it.
You know, I think just like anything else you have to properly access your ability to succeed in any given area. You know, if you want to trade stocks you got to be good with numbers – you have to. So, if you’re going to pursue acting first be good, have a number of people tell you that you’re good. And then, be in LA if you want to be in film. If you want to do stage be in New York.
But you know, I have a lot of people that are like what should I do, and they are in Milwaukee. I’m like well first, get on – be in LA. You know, like back when they only thought it was Texas it’s like you want to be a lawman man you got to move to Texas, you know.
So, just do it, you know. There is no, I mean, the way that I did it was pretty standard theory I moved out here, I got my headshots, I bought a mailing list of all the agencies at a place called Samuel French Book Store and I mailed them out with a nice pleasant head letter. And said you know, I’m seeking representation in this area. And I just kept inundating them until I got a call back from an agency.
But the first piece of advice is be good. And the second thing, is have an extra curricular passion. Because you are going to be a bitter and resentful actor if the only thing you have is acting, and you’re sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring.
The most wonderful thing about you know, at least in my life being an actor is I don’t – when a show comes on the TV I don’t watch it and get angry because I didn’t get the job. Why, because I’m in a tournament somewhere, I’m at the academy. I really don’t know of all the things that I missed.
I’m sure if I did see them, it’ll piss me off you know, if I saw them moving like dang it, I read for that and I didn’t get it. You know, but I have something else that occupies my thought train, my desires my focus. So you know, I don’t let it build up inside you because it’s a tough on your ego business it real is. So you have to be resilient and you have to have something else to focus a lot of time an effort on so you don’t get tunnel vision and get bitter about it.
I’m actually with my sister who is also my writing partner. So we were wondering if you could tell us a bit about the process of filming Saw 7 in 3D. We understand it was – it was a long shoot.
Flanery: Yes it was a long shoot. But – well I mean technically they had to recalibrate the camera’s like literally every time they moved the camera. So I mean that was you know, one detriment to doing it in 3D. I haven’t said that that’s the first time that they’ve ever used these cameras in a horror film. So it’s pretty neat. It looks pretty ridiculously cool.
Flanery: I’ll say that. I’ve never done anything in 3D, I’ve never seen myself in 3D so that was a wonderful experience. But you know, it’s like you know with the digital age. You know, when everybody used to shoot film in celluloid you know, they took a lot more time preparing you know, the scene and the angles and the composition before they actually turned the camera on. And in digital you know, they just shoot the rehearsal, then the change the thing, shoot it again, shoot it again, shoot it again. So the ratio of amount of footage that you shoot to the closing film went way up with the digital age.
Well, we reverted back to kind of the celluloid feel in this because it took so long to set it up. So we had to make sure we got it right. So it technically was a very different shoot because it you know, the set up for the next scene took so long and it was so involved that we had to make sure we got it right the first time. So we didn’t have a lot of time to do you know, 19 – 20 takes. So for that reason it was different.
But other than that it was a regular movie, you know. We had a great time and I think it’ll be really horrific, you know.
And then we were on your twitter account the other day and we’re dying to know who Pat Benatar and if you were a fan before you went to the show?
Flanery: Of course I mean how can you be my age and not be a fan, of course, don’t know if you saw what I posted of her that little acoustic version.
Flanery: Killer acoustic version. And I mean I was – I could have made out with her I was that close – seriously.
I mean I was leaning on the stage. And it was funny because it was at a Hollywood function so, nobody really – everybody is to cool for school. Like nobody gets up out of their chairs you know. So I could bum rush the stage. And me and my girlfriend were like literally on the stage. It was excellent. From now on I’m going to go to all of those Hollywood concerts because everybody stays in their seats.
Hi, I actually worked with you, I crewed Ten Inch Hero.
Flanery: Oh excellent.
Yes, you were quite a pleasure. You had that big dog.
Flanery: Donut, she was on the set for this as well – yes.
Yes, she’s great.
Flanery: You know so far she has had a cameo in four films. She has done four movies.
She’s a pro.
Flanery: Yes, yes.
Well I wondered with all the adventurous things you seemed to have done in life, what is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever gone and done?
Flanery: Wow, adventurous, man, well I mean I’ve done some pretty wacky things. You know, I took a little – probably the most adventurous thing that I’ve ever did was – I was in a place on the Coast of Africa shooting Young Indie. And I rented a Mini Moke which would look like an old school Mini Cooper from the 60’s. And I rented it and I went driving, and I got about two hours out away and I ran it out of gas.
And I mean when I think back the fact that I’m still alive now, it floors me. Because I had to walk through townships and you know, I – it was a harrowing experience. And I was pretty retarded to have ever even attempted that. But you know, it’s a Jeep, it doesn’t have doors, doesn’t have windows. And I drove it all down the beach, there’s no roads. And you know, the sun went down and there is lions, there is crocs and somehow or another the next day I made it back within you know, about18 hours.
18 hours, oh gosh.
Flanery: Well it was two hours in a car. So to walk back you know, I was like, you know I had to sleep I had to you know, and I slept under like a plastic thing that they wrap tires in. You know, so it was kind of cylindrical so I climbed in that and slept and it was pretty crazy actually.
Wow you can make a movie about that.
Flanery: Yes, I could actually.
I just wanted first of all say I am huge fan of Boondock Saints. I saw it was 11 and we watched it and I fell in love.
So I feel like every time – everybody I meet I go, have you ever seen Boondock Saints, no okay, we’re watching it right now.
Flanery: That’s excellent.
Well yes, and I was really, sort of proud that I could talk to you. I was just wondering you know, hearing about the fact that you’re doing a Sci-Fi Movie. And just thinking about Boondock Saints you know, referencing that and just listening to you talk now it – I’m just wondering how much of the character in Boondock Saints – I want to say the first one, because the second one like you said was over the top a little bit as far as the character goes.
How much of that did you – do you incorporate with your characters. I mean do you take something from every character shoot you know, you do a movie or a cameo in a TV show. And do you incorporate that and then eventually there is a little bit of every character that you do in those movies that you shoot?
Flanery: Yes I mean, there is always – I mean, everybody has a little bit of them in something. Because I mean if somebody can’t personally identify with something, then they can’t bring it to the table. And to personally identify it has to be in your past, you know. So, yes the Boondock – the whole relationship with me and Norm – I mean, that is kind of our normal relationship. You know, I’m the older brother.
Flanery: You know, he is kind of the… you know, the more misguided kind of…
Flanery: Like I’m the big brother that slaps him in the head and says dude, don’t do that. You know what I mean. So, you know, and we’re constantly cutting up and playing tricks on each other.
So yes, I mean you bring that to – you bring what your own little personal flare to every film or every role. You know, and sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t you know. But, I think every actor does, you know.
Definitely. And do you think that down the line when you’re looking back on your character you know, 20, 30 years from now do you want your most prominent role do you think you would like it to be more like where in Boondock Saints where it’s action and it’s more realistic in a sense. Or, do you enjoy doing the Sci-Fi Adventure movies more. And do you think you want one of those characters to be you know, when your name Sean Patrick Flanery 30 years down the line to be prominent.
Flanery: Well I’ll put it to you this way. You know, I get the question I lot like what was your favorite film that you’ve done. And what – it’s really two parts, do you want me to tell you my favorite film that I’m proud of the end product? So – or, do you want me to tell you my favorite film creatively, or do you me to tell you my favorite film on set where I had the most fun shooting it because they are very, very different.
You know as far as an actor, and turning in a performance I think it’s you know, I think it’s pretty obvious that it would be Powder. You know, as far like a performance aspect and creating a character as far as having fun on a set, Boondock – Boondock without question.
Because this guy is having a ball. Creatively it was an ensemble cast, a film called The Grass Harp, because I got to work with you know, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Roddy McDowall, you know those names. So there are very different you know, I think definitely you know, the simple matter is I don’t really get to do big films at all. You know, so what I will be known for is like Boondock those roles which I could do those all day long.
And things like Mongolian Death Worm. You know, I could do a character like that all day long. Because I mean you really don’t – those are sustainable characters you know. I mean I think to do like say you know, an eight part miniseries on Powder you end up blowing your head off, you know.
Flanery: It’s just not something you want to hang out in for a long time. But, you know, Boondock, or you know, a fun character like Daniel in Mongolian Death Worm you could do that all day long. I mean having a wonderful time doing it – you know.
Right. Do you think that – and this is my last question. Do you think you would – you could ever see yourself doing more of a drama type movie, more of a serious role?
Flanery: Yes, of course.
Well – okay.
Flanery: Yes, of course. Like right now, yes, I mean I’ve done plenty of those. I mean that is really what started my career what I was known for. So yes, of course.
We’re into it, we love these movies. Quick question, George Cheung who acted in the movie the guy that wore the cowboy hat – the (sheriff).
Flanery: Of course, yes.
Can you talk about him and did you guys, I mean was it like working with him. He is quite the character actor.
Flanery: Yes he is. For example, there was a big UFC a fight event. So me and George took everybody to see the fights at a place called Wild Wings in Dallas, Texas.
So I mean he is super cool. I mean you know, you may think you know, he is this odd character actor. But he is like a – he is a lad, you know. I mean we went into this place Wild Wings and watched the fight and hung out and he was pointing out hot chicks. And he was funny as hell man, he really is. He was like Sean look over there. I mean, you know, he’s a great dude. I could hang with that guy all day long.
A good friend of mine Writer, Kate O’Hara she writes for the Tribune. She got the idea of Dancing with the Stars into Sig Hansen head of Deadliest Catch. She was the one that planted that ego seed and he loves it, he actually is probably going be on this for next season.
Flanery: Oh, cool.
So I’m thinking you, with [your] Jujitsu training and everything – you need to be on Deadliest Warrior. I think Deadliest Warrior and like Garry Tarpinian the Producer of that wonderful series on Spike. Have they ever talked to you or anything because they need people that are experts in certain disciplines.
Flanery: Yes, no I’ve never even – no, I’ve never been approached with that at all. But that would be epic.
Yes, no (unintelligible) out there on the Twittersphere I’m thinking you need to be on Deadliest Warrior.
Flanery: That would be killer.
And it’s an awesome show. If you’ve never seen it is like so addictive. It’s like crack cocaine reality TV.
Flanery: You know I mean I watch that network all the time, so I see the ads, but I’ve never watched it. But I’ll hit it on TiVo and check it out.
So you were in Stargate. Can you talk a bit about that?
Flanery: Yes, yes. I was in it for a hot flash of a second. I mean I think it’s been on you know, for, wow, how many years? But I only did one episode and my characters name was Orlin. And I loved playing that character. And you know, there was always talk about bringing him back, but never really materialized. But I had a great time, you know. I had a great time shooting it and it was wonderful.
Great. Now this about going back to Mongolian Death Worm, was there any scene or anything that you guys filmed that like you didn’t use you wish they had left in, or, maybe a scene that you did film you’d wish they had left out.
Flanery: No, there is a lot of stuff that we improvised that you know, I’m sure for editorial purposes that you know, didn’t make the grade because of time constraints or what not. But we shot a lot of funny stuff – we did man. I mean we shot a lot of – it could have been, it could have been more tongue in cheeky and more funny. But I’m really happy with the finished product – I am. But there is all kind of stuff. There is some quality stuff on the cutting room floor that you know, there always is you know. But yes, I’m happy with the way it ended up.
Great. Now I know – I read that you directed a movie before – No Game. Are you still interested in that, like do you ever plan on – would be interested in writing your own show, you know, creating something in like that aspect?
Flanery: Yes, yes absolutely. I have a thing right now that I’m trying to get set up that I wrote – had a published article in a magazine that a number of companies tried to get the rights too. And subsequently I scripted it myself, I’m trying to set that up as we speak.
Very cool. Now this – you sort of touched on this a little bit when they had asked you about advice. But can you talk a little bit more about how you got – like got started in the very beginning with acting and everything.
Flanery: Mm-hm. I mean it’s pretty simple, it’s as simple as you know, if you want a job you print out your resume and you go mail it out. That’s pretty much it. I moved to LA, I had already studied you know, I hate the word, but if you want to say the “craft” of acting which realistically it’s the only industry I know where you don’t need any training.
And you know, you get headshots made and a resume. And you mail them to agencies. And you try and get an agent to submit for you auditions, that’s it. There is nothing more technical about it, that’s pretty much it.
Acting classes in LA are by in large a joke. But there are a great way to meet girls, so I suggest it highly. But it’s – I mean you’re better off joining a theatre company really if you want to learn acting.
And that’s it, you’re off to the races you know, do some theatre in the meantime until you, you know, and get a night job to where your days are free to go on auditions. That’s it.
Well let me ask you this then, is there something specific that made you say I want to be an actor, or you know, like what moved you to that.
Flanery: Yes it was me just not wanting to work. I didn’t want to work, you know. That’s pretty much it. They were like, wow! They pay your for this? Okay, that’s definitely something I want to do.
It’s something I love doing, I had a ball doing it. And I thought you know, I’m going to you know, I came out to – I rented a little theatre and I produced a piece of children’s theatre. And I thought you know, I mean if I can get some acting work that’ll supplement my income. And then low and behold the acting worked more and more and then that took over, that became my career really.
Are you a fan of the Sci-Fi movie franchise since you are doing one? And which one did you like the best if you’ve seen any of them – besides your own.
Flanery: Let’s see, you know, I mean I’m not – too be honest, I’m not a fan specifically of Sci-Fi. Just like I’m not really a fan specifically of actions or westerns, you know.
I’m a fan of good. So you know, and on every channel, every network, every there is really not – I mean, I’m a fan of you know, good love stories. But I’m not really a fan of love stories in general. War movies you know, the good ones. So it’s just – you know, the end result I mean there is really not a genre of film that I don’t dig if it’s executed properly and it’s engaging, you know.
If you could be on a TV series, what series would you either guest star on or be a recurring or starring on?
Flanery: Oh man, that’s a good question. I don’t know, I don’t know, but it would be a character like Daniel. That would be a ball, man. That would really be a ball to do that all the time and to get arks and you know, something where there is room for a little humor something that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
I don’t know if I could stomach you know, potentially ten years you know, walking into a room mark this state Exhibit B. I don’t know if I could – you know, but you know, there is a myriad of wonderful roles out there.
Well, what is your appointment TV?
Flanery: I’m sorry?
What is your appointment TV, meaning what do you have on your TiVo. What do you watch, that’s what I’m asking, what’s your favorite shows?
Flanery: Well I you know, I watch a lot of fights because I’m you know, a Jujitsu guy. And a lot of those fighters I train on the ground. So, you know, a lot of fight stuff.
But as far as television, the BBC Office I think is one of the best things ever put on television. Eastbound & Down, the HBO Show – did you see that? I thought that was excellent.
Let’s see, yes Eastbound & Down, I love the Sopranos, the original Office – haven’t said that I love the American Office, you know. I like – I think there is a lot of good TV, I really do, you know. I try to out the show Community when it first came out, but I really didn’t find it funny. But I’m going to revisit it because one of my students actually told me, oh my God it’s hysterical now. So I’m going to try that out.
But you know I mean, there’s things in Grey’s Anatomy that are you know, wonderful actors to play, you know. It’s – I think TV is really good medium right now, you know. And there is a lot of juicy roles out there.
I wanted to tell you oh, a great show you should watch on TV is the Big Bang Theory.
Flanery: Yes, people have told me that. And Johnny Galecki is in it who I did Suicide Kings with.
Yes, which is a cool movie I love Suicide Kings.
Flanery: Well thank you.
Also yes, that’s a great show it’s really fun. And it’s about the kind of people who love the Syfy Channel Movies.
Flanery: Oh yes?
Oh yes. It’s a show all about geeks and nerds, and the kind of people like us – those of us who are asking questions. And it’s a great show, and it’s really funny. So I recommend that one when you’re you know, looking for new shows to watch.
Flanery: Speaking of that, Freaks and Geeks, that show that was cancelled.
Oh yes. Freaks and Geeks, fabulous show.
Flanery: That was cool, I like that.
Yes, it’s a great show, so yes, give it try.
Flanery: I will.
I wanted to ask you a couple of questions. You said you watch a lot of fights. Do you watch the UFC stuff?
Flanery: Of course, yes.
Yes, and although he was not a person who competed in martial arts what do you think about Jackie Chan?
Flanery: I think he is a wonderful gymnast, you know, I do.
Because I mean he certainly had an impact on martial arts movies even though he was not a competitor. You know, and I was just curious. Some of our friends and I are big fans of him.
Flanery: Yes, yes you have to be. I think he is a wonderful – you know, he is a Wushu guy. And that’s a specific you know, Chinese martial art.
Flanery: And it’s very beautiful, it’s very gymnastic, it’s not necessarily very effective at fighting buy you know, he really started all of those you know, those fight scenes with you know, wire work and flipping and spinning and doing all that – I mean everybody is a Jackie Chan fan I mean it’s you know, it’s kind of – I mean some of the best stuff of his in the credits whenever you see him doing take, after take, after take of stunts and doing it over and over again. And you realize, holy shit, this guy did that without a harness you know.
Yes, he talks about that on his Web site and all. But I thank you very much for taking time with me again. And oh, I do have one question. Is there any word on a Boondock Saints III?
Flanery: There’s murmurs out there, yes.
We got to get those guys out of jail.
Flanery: I know right.
So you we’re talking about different TV series. Speaking of you did quite a bit in Dead Zone. Can you talk about that? I know that was one of my favorite of your characters.
Flanery: Oh yes, thanks I mean me too. I had a wonderful time doing that. More specifically early on you know, it got to where they really didn’t know where to take him. And because he was reaching you know, such high political office he couldn’t really take place – take part in as much debauchery I would have liked him too.
Flanery: Because I really loved this early, early episodes where he was a bible salesman and all of that. But, I love playing characters like that, it’s my favorite stuff. And I had a wonderful experience doing it, you know.
Towards the end I thought they were kind of reaching a bit where to go with it. You know, I think there was a lot of questions that were left unanswered. But I had a great time with that guy, I really did.
So do you watch yourself after – I mean I know a lot of actors, like, they don’t like to because they criticize themselves too much, or some people do.
Flanery: Let me tell you this, the actors that tell you that they never watch themselves because they just can’t emotionally they’re liars. They are all liars. They don’t do it in front of people, but they watch it. They watch it with a specific eye. They all do, absolutely all of them.
I kind of thought you kind of have to, to some extent…
Flanery: Of course, yes. Of course you do, of course you do.
…doing what you do. So do you enjoy doing TV or movies more?
Flanery: You know, I just enjoy you know, doing good and fun things you know. You know, things like – there’s certainly movies that I enjoyed a lot less than the Dead Zone which is TV. And there is certainly you know, the biggest film I ever did was a film that really came out direct to video, it was called Whiteout, you know, with Sylvester Stallone. And there’s a smaller film like Boondock where I had fun doing Boondock you know.
Flanery: So, it just totally depends, it’s really not about the medium you know.
I did an episode of Criminal Minds last year, had a wonderful time shooting that you know. So it really depends, it depends all on material, the character, you know, and the people I’m working with.
Okay, great. Thank you so much.
Flanery: You’re very welcome.