Clifton Collins Jr. is one busy actor, he appeared in numerous movies last year including “Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day”, “Brothers”, “Crank 2: High Voltage” and a little movie called “Star Trek” to name just a few. Clifton also has directed music videos for Zac Brown Band and is currently featured in this fall new TV show “The Event” for NBC. Movie Mikes had a chance to talk with Clifton about his fantastic career and how his love for what he does.
Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about working on in “Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day”?, your character definitely stole the show.
Clifton Collins Jr: I appreciate that brother, that was the brilliant creation of taking all of our time fooling around and throwing it in to a movie. If you think about it the two brothers are based off of Troy and Taylor (Duffy). It was fun when you get to work with someone you have known for as long as I have known Troy and the group.
Mike Gencarelli: What was the best of working on “Boondock”?
Clifton Collins Jr: Aside from the collaboration, just the taught of a friend creating a sequel to such a legendary cult classic like the original and being a part of it. Troy has been a friend of mine for like 15 years. I think working with Billy Connelly, whom I never had a chance to work with, was great. Working with Sean (Patrick Flannery) and Norman (Reedus) was fun since they were guys I was already pretty close to. (David della) Rocco, I have als known over the years. It was just like a big family.
Mike Gencarelli: Going from “Boondock Saints II” to “Star Trek”. what was it like working on that film?
Clifton Collins Jr: “Star Trek” was great. I do not think the grandeur really hit me till I was on the set. JJ Abrams walks me to you and and says “Ah Clifton, you ready? Look right down the barrel of that camera and your gonna tell these people to give us the ship or be destroyed”. I was thinking “give us the ship or be destroyed” what am I doing “Star Trek” or something and the answer is Yes! It kind of hit me. You show up and you see this giant set, its unbelievable. You look in the mirror and realize that it is not me, I am actually Ayel, this fucking insane Romulan that can kill thousands of people at the snap of the fingers. It was like 18 hour days too with JJ, he made you work for it.
MG: You are able to do drama and comedy so well, how to prepare for each role?
CC: I really just try and find something to connect to with the character. In the case of “Star Trek”, I would sit down on my computer and research. I usually have a couple of starting points. With this one, I was like “Ok I am a Romulan…I live in Outer Space…Ok”. JJ let me know in advance that there wasn’t a whole I could get from past episodes of “Star Trek”. On this one I had to work on the outside in. I saw what I looked like and that was pretty scary alone. I thought what the hell did I do this time.
MG: Had to be the most out-of-the-blue moments in “Scott Pilgrim vs the World”, you played a Vegas Police with Thomas Jane, how did this come together?
CC: Honestly I think that certain members of the cast were fans of mine, I found out. I was sitting with Edgar Wright one day and the cast was talking about some movie I was in, I think it was “Crank 2”, they realized I was the same dude and they wanted me to be a part of the movie. I was just excited to work with all these people, it was a no brainer.
MG: Tell us about how you got involved directing music video for Zac Brown Band, where you a fan of the band prior?
CC: I am a huge fan of the band. I am a fan of any great musician. I started branching out on my own on my downtime to direct music videos. You have three minutes to tell a story. I directed three music videos for The Soul of John Black. I told the label I wanted to get more into this. At that time they were acquiring Zac Brown Band. ‘Chicken Fried’ was burning up the charts and they didn’t have video. All the previous directors ideas and treatments for Chicken Fried” all were about chickens. Zac was like “Look Clif, I am gonna tell you right now man, I don’t want a chicken nowhere near this video”. I thought him right back “I’ve got a hell of an idea for you but I am gonna put a chicken in it, just not the way everyone probably did it”. He read my treatment and saw my other videos. I just wanted to work with a bad-ass like Zac. Zac and I will continue to work together, he is considered like a family friend. I actually shot ‘Chicken Fried’ too. I was in the middle of shooting “Extract” with Mike Judge. I asked him “Mike, I’ve got four days off coming up, you mind if I fly out to Georgia?” They don’t like it when you leave during a shoot. I told him it was for ‘Chicken Fried’ for Zac Brown Band. He said [in Mike Judge’s voice] “Holy Shit!, Your gonna ‘Chicken Fried’ for the Zac Brown Band, Hell ya! Get Outta Here and go do it!”.
MG: How was it working with Mike Judge on “Extract”?
CC: Working with Mike Judge, aside from being a dear friend, I would do anything with him. He is so fun to work with. I mean he is Mike Judge, he created “Beavis and Butt-Head” and King of the Hill”. He is very much that guy too, when you hang out with him. He is just so humble.
MG: Do you have any more plans for directing any more videos or features?
CC: Yeah I have been writing the features. I’ve like like three or four that we are sitting on right now. Jacob Vargas and I got a web channel we just started, called TheTVFantastic.com. I put a new video up which is mixed up of an El Mariachi band playing ‘Sweet Child of Mind’ with footage of my grandparents dancing, along with clips of “How The West Was Won”. I would love to do a video for Slash. I am actually talking about perhaps doing the first live video for Slash.
MG: Tell us about your exciting new role in the NBC’s new TV series “The Event”
CC: It has been an insane wild ride. Get ready to watch television like you have never watched it before. I think everyone commonly knows that I have shied away from television quite a bit to really focus on creating character roles and working on different pieces, which is something get off on. Truth be told, I have kind of come out of hiding a bit in this one. I saw the pilot and I thought, I have never seen TV like this.
MG: They are saying that this could be following in the footsteps of “Lost”, does that create any pressure for you?
CC: It only creates pressure, I love my showrunners and my cast. I want the show to work. You just don’t want to let anyone down. I think everyone has the same hopes for it. Everyone is really optimistic and everyone is busting their ass like three-fold. Some characters know less about their own characters then the others do.
MG: What can you tell us about your character?
CC: I am bad motherfucker that can’t be messed with, that sound cool right?