David Lowery talks about directing “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”

With a solid background of pretty much every behind the scenes job in Hollywood, it was obvious it would’nt be long before David Lowery began directing. With an impressive resume’ of short films and features under his belt he has now delivered “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” a classic film in the tradition of “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Badlands.” The film opened in limited release today (August 16) and to celebrate that opening I spoke with Mr. Lowery about his inspirations, misquoted songs and the proper use of the word “Malickian!”

Mike Smith: What was your inspiration…where did you come up with the story…for “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints?”
David Lowery: It really came from a lot of different places but one of the main inspirations were the old movies about lovers on the run. I love the idea of outlaws…the idea of a young outlaw couple on the run from the law. Those movies have always appealed to me…been inspirational to me as a story teller. I love the mythology of the outlaw. I love how America has been built on outlaw mythology. I wanted to make a film that would participate in that tradition. So the inspiration was very simple when I decided what I wanted to do. I wasn’t looking to reinvent the wheel. I just took the basic concept, the basic archetypes of a guy, a girl, a policeman and a couple of guns and tried to find a new way to present them.

MS: For a young director you got pretty lucky in nabbing two Oscar nominated actors for your two leads. Were Casey and Rooney your original choices and how were you able to cast them?
DL: I wrote the script with no actors in mind. I wrote it in a vacuum, not knowing who was going to be in it. But when we finally had the opportunity to select a cast Casey Affleck was the first person I wanted to meet. I sat down with him and we talked for about an hour or so. We got along really, really well and the next day he wrote me and said he wanted to do it. It was so wonderful to have my first choice not only able but so willing to do it. And we had gotten along so well in our talk that I felt like I had known him for years. For the character of Ruth I wasn’t sure if I wanted an established actress or not. Maybe I could go to west Texas and find someone who had never acted before…who really was a woman who lived in a small town. I wanted to find someone who was really a natural. While I was thinking that, Rooney Mara’s agent wrote me and asked if I could send the script to her. This was about a week before “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” came out and I never believed in a million years that she would be willing to go from this huge, David Fincher film to doing a tiny independent film in Texas. But he assured me that she would be interested in it. She read it and wanted to meet with me. I sat down with her, we talked and then she said yes. It was really a great and unique situation where both of the people that I wanted the most and who were the first people I met were the ones who wound up in the movie.

MS: I’m sure you’ve seen that you’re getting a lot of comparisons to Terrence Malick with your visual style. As a director was it important to be able to tell the story “visually,” in addition to presenting the action that was going on on screen?
DL: Absolutely. I love dialogue and I love listening to people talk when the dialogue is good. But more than that I love visuals. And I love to let the visuals do the heavy lifting in a movie. This film was very carefully designed to look a certain way and to feel a certain way. There’s no denying that if you go outside at a certain time in Texas and put a 25mm lens on a camera it’s going to look like a lot of other movies. Texas has a very specific look that a lot of filmmakers have used in the past. It’s very suggestive so you use that kind of imagery when you want to suggest something. If you want to suggest a timelessness…If you want to suggest an epic-ness. And Terrence Malick is someone who has used that kind of imagery quite a bit. I’ve certainly loved his movies. I’ve loved all his movies. But at the same time I never really thought about it while we were making the film. I knew that we were using “Badlands” as a jumping off point as far as the story goes but when it comes to visuals we really went in a different direction. Even though there are some things that are, to use a word, “Malickian”….there are some things that are similar to what he’s done about 10 minutes into the movie we go into a completely different direction. So it’s kind of a nice surprise to be compared with him because I do love his work and I’m flattered to be compared to him. But we were going for something completely with our visuals.

MS: The film has a very unusual title. Casey Affleck recently told Jay Leno that it came from a misquoted song. Is this true and, if so, what was the song?
DL: I don’t know what the song was because it was on a CD that a friend had given me with a lot of old folk and country music. And none of the songs were listed…it was just track one, track two, track three…there were no titles or artists. I don’t know what it was but I need to find out (laughs). I heard it years ago, long before I made this film. And I got that phrase stuck in my head. Misheard lyrics stuck in my head with the idea that they would make a great movie title. A strange movie title but a great movie title! And when I started writing this movie I wanted it to feel like an old folk song. And I thought there would be no better way to set the stage for this movie than to have the title sound like the lyrics of an old folk song. That was really all there was to it.

MS: What are you working on next? Do you have anything in the pipeline?
DL: Yes. I’m writing a lot of different scripts right now and I hope to be making another movie soon. One of the movies that I’m working on is an adaptation of an article in “The New Yorker” that Robert Redford is going to produce and star in and that I’m going to direct. I’m working on that scripts very quickly right now because I’d like to turn in a draft soon and see what he thinks.

Blu-ray Review “The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (Director’s Cut)”

Actors: Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, Billy Connolly, Clifton Collins Jr., Julie Benz
Director: Troy Duffy
Rated: R (Restricted) / Unrated
Studio: Sony Pictures
DVD Release Date: July 16, 2013
Run Time: 117 / 144 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

I remember I rented the first “The Boondock Saints” on VHS when it was a ‘Blockbuster Exclusive’ rental. This was almost 15 years ago and before it was this cult phenomenon. When there was word that “The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day” was being made 10 years after the first, I think it made every fan jump up and down (including myself). Well it’s been 4 years since this sequel was released and we can get excited again since Writer/Director Troy Duffy’s is releasing a new Director’s Cut which features 27 Minutes of Never-Before-Seen Extended Footage. There is a longer opening sequence, a lengthened fantasy sequence and an extended elevator sequence leading up to the Prudential shoot-out. So with the director’s cut the running time gets bumped up to 144 minutes and it is AMAZING!

“The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day” is a a rare feat where it actually tops the original. This sequel to back the original cast, Including Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus and Billy Connolly along with new additions including Clifton Collins Jr., Julie Benz, Peter Fonda and Judd Nelson. I do not remember a more explosive theatrical experience then when I saw this film in theaters. I know fans have been bugging writer/director Troy Duffy to do a third film and I really hope that happens one day. I am not sure why this release is coming now, if not to capitalize on Norman Reedus’ insane fandom from “The Walking Dead”, but either way I am excited and it is a must for any fan of this series!

Official Premise: From Troy Duffy, writer and director of The Boondock Saints, comes the much anticipated sequel to the tough, stylized cutting edge saga of the MacManus brothers (Norman Reedus, Sean Patrick Flanery). The two have been in deep hiding with their father, Il Duce (Billy Connolly), in the quiet valleys of Ireland, far removed from their former vigilante lives. When word comes that a beloved priest has been killed by sinister forces from deep within the mob, the brothers return to Boston to mount a violent and bloody crusade to bring justice to those responsible. With a new partner in crime (Clifton Collins Jr., Star Trek) and a sexy FBI operative (Julie Benz, TV’s Dexter) hot on their trail…the Saints are back!

The 1080p transfer still looks great like the past releases, especially with the new footage. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track is killer as well with the non-stop action. The line “Ding Ding Motherfucka! Ding Dong!” is presented perfectly. The real catch for this release is that it comes as a two-Disc Blu-ray combo pack with both the Theatrical and Director’s Cut versions. This release is currently set as a Best Buy exclusive release, so fans need to be sure to pick this up for sure.

The special features are in-line with the past Blu-ray releases. We get a pair of audio commentary tracks from cast and crew. There are two short deleted scenes. Then there are seven featurettes including “Unprecedented Access: Behind the Scenes”, “Billy Connolly and Troy Duffy: Unedited”, “The Cast Confesses: Secrets From the Set”, “Inside the Vault: The Weapons”, “‘The Boondock Saints’ Hit Comic-Con”, “Saints Off Script” and “Back to Boondock”. All these special features are must see for any fan of the series but they are not anything new for this release. But don’t forget that this new release contains the pretty sweet director’s cut of the film, so that is enough for me!


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Major Giveaway: “The Boondock Saints II” Official Screen Used Props [ENDED]


Media Mikes are big fans of “The Boondocks Saints” series. We recently had a chance to interview Sean Patrick Flanery. Click here to read our “The Boondock Saints” interview series. We are mega proud to offer you the following giveaway of OFFICIAL SCREEN USED PROPS from the Silver Peso shoot-out scene in “The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day”. All of these items are backed by a CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY SIGNED BY DIRECTOR TROY DUFFY. If you would like to win these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email and let us know your favorite character from the “Boondock” series. This giveaway will be open until Thursday September 15th at Noon, Eastern Time and is only open to residents of the United States. Only one entry per person, per household; all other entries will be considered invalid. Once the giveaway ends, Movie Mikes will randomly pick out ONE winner and alert via email.

A big thanks for making this giveaway possible goes out to: