Neal McDonough returns this week reprising his role as Nick Boon after the 2021 movie Red Stone. In the movie Mercenary Nick Boon (Neal McDonough) is trying to atone for his past life as an enforcer for a ruthless syndicate. Running from his past, Boon moves to a remote area in the Pacific Northwest where he meets a struggling widow (Christiane Seidel) and her son. When he finds them living in fear of a criminal kingpin (Tommy Flanagan), Boon realises the only way to protect them is to do what he does best: kill.
I got to talk with Neal about the movie which you can check out below.
Thanks for taking time to chat with me today.
My pleasure, absolutely. Do I detect a little Celtic accent?
You do, indeed. Yeah. My name is Irish Gaelic, and my family is Irish too.
Where are you from?
My family was initially from Donegal although I live in Toronto now.
I was guessing around there as my dad’s from Clifden and my mum’s from Clonmel.
Have you been back there recently?
I haven’t been back in a good few years now. We’re dying to get back. My sister still lives there in Clifden in the Galway area which I’m sure you know, but I do miss it. My kids are like “Dad, when are we going back to Ireland? Dad, when are we going back to Ireland?” We’ve talked about Nick Boon in parts three or four or five heading back to Ireland and all hell breaks loose there, which I think would be fascinating.
Now that I would love to see!
Oh my goodness. After Red Stone we had the idea of him becoming a lobster fisherman just to get away from the world and finally he falls for this one woman and they take a picture but she’s the daughter of a famous person. Obviously, the picture hits the newspapers and she’s dating this mystery man. All of the bad guys figure it out pretty fast it’s me hiding in Ireland and they all come to get me, the feds, the mobsters, everyone comes out but who do you trust? Who’s actually killed my wife and kid? We find out it’s the Feds, not the Irish mob. So that’s where we’re heading next. .
I wasgoing to ask you if there were plans for future movies after Red Stone and Boon…
Yeah, Red Stone really starts it up and it was fascinating to have that slower paced southern crime thriller, which I would say that was. Then with Boon we kind of blew it out into a true neo western action film. Mm hmm. For me, as you know being the Catholic that I am, I have never done sex scenes and I won’t do them so I had to play villains forever. Now that I get to create and co-write and produce with my wife and do things the way that I want to do it, I can have romance in films now and not have to do those things that I’m not comfortable doing while kicking bad guys’ asses left, right and centre. I’m so blessed to be where I am right now in my career that I’m finally getting to play me in the shape that I’m in now. I gave up drinking six years ago and the shape that I’m in now, I look better now than I did 20 years ago. My faith is just deeper. My relationships with my wife, my five kids and everything. My life is just so much deeper and more fulfilled because of just focusing more on my relationship with God. Now I get to do the films not just to give glory to Him but are entertaining for the masses. I think for me, I couldn’t be happier to be exactly where I am right now.
I’m Catholic too so that’s one of the many things which appeals about this movie, with ideas of redemption and faith which are key themes of the movie.
That’s right. Yeah, that’s right. So, we’ll keep pressing that on the next one.
How did the idea of Boon initially come up?
Well, for the first one Red Stone, they offered me Billy’s role to play the villain. I read the script and thought you know what? It’s a smaller film, maybe they’ll let me play the lead and play Nick Boon. I called my agent and I said, “Just give me the guy’s number. Maybe we’ll have a conversation”. I talked to him and said, “I’d like to actually play Nick Boon”. He said “OK” and that was it (laughs). I’m like, “I want to infuse a couple of ideas into this and help produce it with you and bring in Michael Cudlitz and talk about these types of things” and they said “Sure!” Then from then on my death scene in part one where I’m on the grave we said “You know what? Maybe we shouldn’t die. Maybe we should write a part two”. Then we talked about it and we came up with the idea, and then my wife came on board and she helped find the financing and got Tommy Flanagan and everyone else into being in the film with us (laughs). My wife’s very persuasive and it worked with Christina Ochoa and Christiane Seidel and Demetrius Grosse and John Patrick Jordan, James Madio and Pat Monahan, a good Irish boy and Gaby Carteris.
We put together this really great cast, everyone came and played and had fun; we built this family atmosphere doing the film, so everyone was in it to win it. It was terrific and I couldn’t be prouder and then Cinedigm and I made a deal to make more of these films. So that’s what we’re doing now. We’re working on part three and also working on this other western with Cain and Abel in the West; Derek and I are working on that. It’s just a great time to be me and we just produced another western with Dermot Mulroney, (another good Irishman) and then my wife and I did The Warrant: Part Two with INSP and I’m really just blessed to be where I am at this point in my life.
Tommy Flanagan plays the villain in Boon; why do you think we Celts are always so good at playing villains?
We are because there is that twisted side to us; my parents, obviously both from Ireland but in Ireland there wasn’t a lot of money floating around in their generation or generations before that, so everyone kind of prided themselves so much on the artistic side like literature, music and everything. There’s also the inherent toughness of the Irish, especially in the West. The weather was so brutal but as brutal as it was, no one complains, no one ever complained.
Every time I go over there, people are just tough standing out in the pouring rain and then never complaining and being soaking wet and with a pint in their hand and just kind of laughing and enjoying life. But goodness gracious. If you said anything against someone’s family and you’re Irish, you know there’s a fist coming and there’s that toughness. I really kind of absorbed that a lot as a kid growing up in Boston, that tough Boston or just Irishness. It kind of permeated inside of me and my brothers and now I get to play that guy in these films.
How many guys I know back home who are as tough as nails, but are teddy bears underneath it all, they would give all their money to help anybody else out. You can call them anything you want, but if you say anything against their family, they’re the first to just get the first fist in. I’m guilty of it myself. You can do anything to me and I’m fine. I don’t care but you say something about my friends or family I’m the first guy to jump into a fight and I can’t help myself (laughs). That’s Nick Boon. He falls for this woman that he didn’t think he’d ever do again because of what happened to his wife and kid that now he’s like, “You’re messing with this part of my life now; I will die protecting them and that’s what I’m willing to do”. I love that about Nick Boon, and I love that about the Irishness of us all. I think that the audience really loves characters like this because they stand up for what’s right. I love that in his character, especially what is right through the eyes of God and that to me is paramount, and I love that I get to write about this and it’s awesome.
I also really like the look of Boon with that fedora. Did you come up with that look specifically?
Yeah, in part one I wanted Nick to have a hat and to kind of hide from cameras and hide from stuff. He would walk around with this fedora on. It was also kind of a tip to your westerns, and I wanted to really make it a neo western. Yellowstone was a neo western but I wanted this guy to have that almost thirties Irish gangster along with a western type of feel to him. It worked in part one, and in part two, it worked even more. To have that fedora that really cool, cowboy-ish Stetson was a great look for Boon. He’ll have it in part three and part four and part five. Goodness gracious if a bullet goes through it if someone shoots him he’d rather get hit than his fedora getting hit (laughs). I look forward to part three where we’re going to add just a little bit more humour in at times, like if his fedora does get shot and what happens to Nick when someone shoots his beloved fedora?
(laughs) I wouldn’t want to be on the other side of that.
That’s right. So, part three is going to take place in Chinatown and it goes back to his original sensei and he says, “I’m losing my mind. I think everyone’s after me. I can’t live anymore like this. I just want to kill myself but if I do that, I’ll never be able to see my wife and kid because if I commit suicide, I’ll never see them”. So, he’s willing to die; hopefully someone offs him and in a sense, it’s like, you can’t live like that anymore. I would love Ken Watanabe or someone like that to come in and play it because you have to go back to your roots and your goodness because you were all about goodness and what happened turned you to darkness, and let’s pull you back to the light and he goes back to the light.
Of course, as soon as he gets back to the light, they kill his sensei and his family. Now he’s just going to take them all out. I love those themes. I love those Clint Eastwood types of themes or John Wayne. What he would do if someone messed with his family. I love The Cowboys if you haven’t seen it by John Wayne, one of his last films. He can’t get any ranch hands to do a cattle drive so he hires these young cowboys, these young kids to do it, and Bruce Dern and his thugs decides he’s going to take out these young cowboys.
What John Wayne does is just exactly what any Irishman would do and those are the themes I love playing with. I get to do these movies with my wife and I couldn’t be happier. There I am doing good; my oldest son Morgan is doing the stunt department. One of my daughters has a small part and another one’s doing Craft Service and every Sunday afternoon, we’d have the whole cast and crew over starting at nine o’clock in the morning, and then it would leave about five in the afternoon and we’d just have food all day and wine and guitars. There’s Demetrius Gross doing Shakespeare. Everyone is having a great old time and we built this kind of Coppola in the 70s family atmosphere with filming and it’s awesome. We want to make sure that everyone who does our films with the McDonough company realizes that it’s a family thing and we’re going to really enjoy our filmmaking and not do 15-hour days. We’re doing 10-hour days. Let’s get to it. Be ready on your first take as we’re probably going to move on. Let’s make a great little film our way and go home at nighttime and enjoy your family or your life and that’s what we pride ourselves on.
That’s a big thing in particular in the film industry where there’s lots of travelling required a lot of the time. People are away from the family a lot.
That’s right. Yeah, yeah.
Finally, what would you like audiences to take from Boon?
I would like the audiences to take from Boon that it is a film that really talks about goodness and badness, talks about a faith friendly backdrop, talks about how we as everyone are sinners but at the end of the day, it is our job to stand up to what is wrong and do the right thing and that’s what Nick Boon does. I love that about this film!
Thank you so much for chatting with me today. Would love to talk longer hopefully for the third one.
Yes indeed, we’ll hopefully talk again and thanks for that; take care and God bless.
Cinedigm will release BOON in theaters and on Demand and Digital April 1, 2022.