by Chris Wood
Hollywood Exposes its Teeth to Cocky Young Screenwriter.
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In 1997, 25 year old Troy Duffy had his screenplay, The Boondock Saints (1999) “green lighted” by Academy acclaimed producer Harvey Weinstein (The Aviator, Cold Mountain). The move script was about two Boston brothers who take it upon themselves to rid the evil elements in their neighborhood (in true Quinten Tarantino/Guy Ritche style).
This born-and-raised New Englander made the evening news at a bar called Sloan’s in West Hollywood, CA, which Mr. Weinstein was to include in the $300,000 script deal. So now, Duffy was a bar owner, writer, earmarked to direct (first time) and also to have his band, The Brood, as soundtrack providers for the movie. Duffy indeed had the luck of the Irish on that day.
Overnight is a telling documentary that follows Troy Duffy through the rollercoaster ride of the Hollywood movie making process. The opening seems like a call for celebration (Mark Walberg is shown at a BBQ with Duffy & the gang in the opening in addition to Patrick Swayze, etc.), but the preceding events lose their silver lining quickly when Weinstein drops the project. Moreover, the rest of the aforementioned deals being to fall like dominos too.
Tony Montana and Mark Brian Smith (friends and first time filmmakers) follow Troy, his band (including his brother, Taylor Duffy, the guitar player for The Brood) and all the other players during their short tenure as their “fifteen minutes” count down.
While one may feel hatred toward the Hollywood “big wigs” for their disposal of this movie, Troy’s personality, as shown, is overindulged in arrogance which makes it difficult to clearly point a finger at either party. His attitude seemed to be that of someone letting the fame get to their heads.
So now, with no deal, Troy fights for his script with any other studio that will pick up the project. And after some looking, an independent film company picked up the picture and, on a slightly smaller scale, they were back in the movie business.
This up-and-down, in-and-out contract also happened with their band, The Brood (later named, The Boondock Saints, after the movie). The toll this took on the band and Troy was easy to see through either the black and white or color film used in the documentary.
Willem Dafoe (Spiderman, Last Temptation of Christ) and Billy Connolloy (The Last Samurai, Timeline) were cast in the picture and Troy was now first-time-directing seasoned actors. A scene shows Duffy explaining to Dafoe what the scene requires of him. “What comes next?” Dafoe asks. “I say cut,” Duffy plainly states.
Once the picture was made, Duffy and company take their movie to Cannes to try their luck at a studio buying the picture.
The documentary shows a bittersweet portrait of Hollywood and maybe counting chickens before they are hatched. For whichever cliché may be the more fitting, the movie is worth checking out. It will probably find its audience on the DVD and video scene, as did the movie it documented: The Boondock Saints.
Chris Wood is a freelance writer and graduate student for fine arts in creative fiction and non-fiction writing.
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