Though he's been acting on television and movies for nearly two decades, Clifton Collins Jr. has really come into his own in recent years with bit parts in Star Trek, Crank: High Voltage, and Sunshine Cleaning. Most recently his skills were noticed by Troy Duffy and Mike Judge, who both tapped him for a starring role in their 2009 features Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day and Extract, respectively.
Collins took some time out from filming The Experiment to talk with us about his upcoming movies. The role he plays in Boondock Saints II should particularly vibe with fans because, well, he plays one of them:
My character is kind of the viewpoint of the fans, if the fans had the chance to be in the world with the saints. I play a guy who's a street hustler and has his issues like everyone else and loves the saints. He wants to be one of them, he follows them; they're his hero in a way. The saints, they see him and go "Wow, that guy's got a lot of heart." He wants to prove himself to them and he's gotta do everything to gain their trust, which gives the movie a lot of action and a lot of its comedy.
The part seems a natural for Collins, which is no surprise given how he ended up in the role:
Troy actually wrote the role for me. I was around for the first film, all the hoopla and the sensationalism — I mean who didn't want to be in Boondock Saints. My lawyer, who's one of my best friends, introduced me to Troy on his birthday on June eighth as that was happening. Of course, I still had to audition and screen test
Collins also spoke about his side career as a music video director, since there's been speculation about whether he'd try and make the transition into features.
I've always had different directors ask me when I was going to direct and I've never really thought about it too much. I've had actor friends call me to coach them out of the blue, and it's something I enjoy, it's something that's a lot of fun for me ... but not my goal. One of the things I love about videos, especially ones that I choose, is the storytelling aspect. I'm working on a spec video right now for Jimmy Johnson just because I love his song. I'm actually working on a shot list right now.
Collins was also optimistic that unlike Troy and Judge's last movies, Boondock Saints II and Extract would get the support from the studios they deserve.
I think right now the studios are pretty hungry to make some money. When you get some great films like Boondock Saints II and Extract, they know that the old Troy and Mike are ready to come back, and they're ready to do what it takes to get audiences to see them.
And Collins isn't just speaking hot air, he's seen a full cut of Boondock Saints II.
The film has been made the way it should've been made. It didn't have the biggest budget but for what we had, they did a great job. After leaving Comic-Con you should've seen the fanfair; it was pretty phenomenal. I saw a fat version and it was great, and I know there's an even tigether version that Troy's been working on that should really wow.