Clifton Collins, Jr. Talks 'Pacific Rim', 'Boondocks Saints 3' & 'Transcendence'

Transcendence Wally Pfister

Shifting gears a bit, earlier we were talking about Transcendence, which you've been doing shooting on. There hasn't been a whole lot of info released about the film so far; is there anything you can tell us about the film itself, your role, or any challenges you've run into while shooting? I know Wally Pfister is keeping mum on this...

Yeah, it is pretty mum, but it's also pretty fantastic and pretty amazing, I gotta tell you. Working with Wally has been a lot of fun too. Whenever there's time, he takes a peek at the camera while he's directing, and I gotta say man, it totally is, it's kind of pornoish! It's awesome. I love it when he picks up the camera, I feel like I'm walking into a strip club with a pocket full of per diem. He's such a badass with the camera. It's like, shut up, listen watch, and learn!

And they've got a great cast. We have legends like Morgan Freeman, and then we've got Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy, Rebecca Hall, Cole's just a really fine cast, and we all get along famously as well. The shoot here is a little different, though, not like on 'Pacific Rim' where we're all doing things together and stuff. We only get to see each other for two hours, but as soon as we do we're all over each other. We had a fun off-the-cuff weekend not that long ago, we all got together and sang songs, and played guitars, and had some delicious food and told stories. Stuff like that.

It's been a great time. Paul put it best when he said, "it's never going to be like this again", but I was like, "we'll do it again next weekend". [laughs]

Talking about additional feature projects: there have been some whispers and rumors from Troy Duffy about a potential Boondock Saints 3 movie...

Yes sir!

If I may ask, has he spoken to you about that and is that something else you're interested in hopping back into?

Are you kidding? Oh, in a heartbeat, man. Troy's a dear friend of mine. We go back before Boondock Saints. I mean, it was funny, we did a live Q&A for the new Blu-Ray DVD release director's cut for Boondock Saints, there's 20 extra minutes of stuff we shot that didn't make it. But talking to Troy about the character, he said, "Cliffy, I wrote you man. So just be you, man!" [laughs] Maybe there's more to this character than I'm admitting. He's a lot like me. Troy basically just wrote me into the piece. Not that I sit around crying all the time. I might whine here and there. I don't know, I talk a lot of [expletive]. [laughs]

So yes, to answer your question, there's a new Boondock Saints 3 in the works right now and Troy's busy writing it.

Will there be room for a Romeo comeback?

Pretty sure! That's kind of how we left part two.

Sounds like it's just in the formative stages though.

Well, I'll tell you, Troy writes pretty fast. I wouldn't be surprised if I came home and there was a script for me. I might just call him, I spoke to him briefly the other day but we didn't get a chance to get into it. But fans of the series are just going crazy, they're salivating over it.

I'm sure they are!

And mostly it'd be fun for me too as I know how Troy works a lot better now, and there are things I can prepare for ahead of time. I just remember how many stunts I did last time - all of them!

Do you commonly do your own stunts?

You know, I keep forgetting that that was kind of like the table setting I laid out for my career early on, that I like to do my own stunts. There's a beautiful truth that can be acquired in doing your own stunts as a character - your character would choose to fight a certain way, or choose to react a certain way, or choose to a load a gun a certain way, you know what I mean? There are just certain things an actor can innately bring to a stunt just by sheer knowledge of who that character is, provided you're that kind of actor. That's the kind of stuff I like to do.

Though don't get me wrong, if I've gotta jump off a building, I like to have a stuntman! [laughs]But I can do most of my crazy fighting tricks, weapon stuff, stuff that I've been doing since I was a kid. It's kind of a no-brainer. Now that I'm older I've really gotta warm up, stretch out. I'm not the flying buck I used to be in martial arts class, flying side kicks, spinning crescent kicks, all that other stuff. Of course Flannery never had that problem because he's constantly doing it every day!

Any other projects that you've got coming up?

There are the Terrence Malick films...

Right! I meant to talk to you about those films. Mind chatting about your involvement in Terrence's next two projects a bit?

You know, I've gotta say, I've had a very crazy year, and I'm very blessed. It was the fourth of July that I first got involved with his films, and it was an amazing treat. I mean, this guy, it's almost like the world was created for him to shoot, and there's something really fascinating and whimsical about his style and how he works and stuff. I can't tell you how great that was. It was a dream come true.

Malick's in this stage where he's making lots of films. You have that twenty year gap in his career, and smaller gaps between The Thin Red Line and The New World. Now he has The Tree of Life, To the Wonder, and two other films upcoming. I feel like we're really lucky right now to be getting all of these movies.

I couldn't agree with you more. I'm of much the same philosophy, and I said something really similar recently, too.

And what you said about the world being made for him to shoot - that's the most perfect thing to say about Malick ever. Even if you're not a fan of the "stuff" of his films, he has an eye like no other.

It's the truth. He's so fascinating to work with, I wish I could articulate it better. He's very childlike, and in that sense there's a very wondrous innocence in his directing that makes it really easy to do anything he asks you to do. I'll tell you this much, because God only knows what gets used and what doesn't, for some reason I've noticed he's got some fascination with water, and I, knowing and watching him, knew something like this was gonna happen, but he randomly came up to me and said, "Hey Clifton, how do you feel about going into the pool?"

And I didn't skip a beat. I reached into my pocket, and I said, "Here, hold my iPhone." And I turned around and jumped right in the pool. [laughs] I didn't ask no questions. You just get into a zone, get into a flow, you get where he's going and you run with that. It's just an amazing, beautiful thing. I gotta tell you, I learned a lot from working with him on those two different films, I learned an immense amount in such a short amount of time. I'm really blessed for it.


You can catch Clifton Collins, Jr. in Pacific Rim right now in theaters; Transcendence opens in regular and IMAX theaters in the U.S. on April 18th; We'll keep you updated on the status of Boondocks Saints 3.

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