Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman’s castmate from The Boondock Saints and co-rider through Texas on Ride With Norman Reedus, shares more about his love of his home state, his racing experience and what it was like reuniting with Norman for an action-packed ride.
Q: The Boondock Saints is a cult classic. Why do you think people connect to the story so much?
A: It was a very politically incorrect film… It was a bunch of dudes getting off their bar stools when no one else would. Finally, you were seeing a movie where guys are actually not taking sh—t that most people don’t take. I think that resonated. I could be wrong. It could just be the peacoats – I don’t know! [Laughs]
Q: How did you come to be on the show for this season?
A: [Norman] just asked. He sent me a text asking if I was free. That was it. Some of my first [location] choices weren’t available, but it all worked out great. I’m happy with all the stuff we got to do.
Q: What was it like showing Norman around your home state?
A: It was cool. Of course he’s been to Texas, but he’s never spent time in Texas and experienced the Texas vibe. Even the Bluebonnet trail – that was a ball and one of the most beautiful rides I’ve ever been on. There are very few people that can tell you what their state flower is or can recognize their own state flag. Texas is not that state. They can tell you their flag before they can tell you any other. It’s a very unique and specific culture. I don’t mean to demean other states, but you’d be hard-pressed to identify the Connecticut culture. It’s a unique state. It warrants 10 episodes to really get the gist of what Texas is.
Q: There’s a lot of talk about the spirit of Texas this episode. What does Texas mean for you?
A: It’s people that are self-reliant. People survive off the land out here. They grow their own food and raise their own cattle. It’s just a very different way of life. The thought of carrying a gun on you in Manhattan is bizarre, but when you live out on a ranch and coyotes can come up on you, you would never not carry a weapon. They’re just two completely different ways of life. When you live here, you understand. It’s a very different perspective.
Q: Speaking of which, you totally smoked Norman at the gun range! How did he take it?
A: [Laughs] Reedus and I have been best friends since ’94. One of the things that makes us best friends is I’m aware of the things he kicks ass at and he’s aware of he things I kick ass at. It’s like puzzle pieces. He makes up my deficit and I make up his. I don’t think he expected to win at a shooting competition.
Q: In the episode you mention you’ve raced just about everything. What got you into that?
A: My dad. He was the Chief Steward of the SSCA [Sports Car Club of America] in Louisiana way back in the early ’60s and also the first importer of the Merlin sports car in the United States. Although it was out of our price range to actually race, he used to race until [my mom] got pregnant with me and my sister. Then, my dad became a scrub nurse and had to give up racing, but it was always a passion of ours. When I became an actor, they invited me to do these celebrity races. I had some success at those and sponsors came out of the woodwork and I competed on the professional level in many different categories. I’ve raced a number of different stock cars and formula cars, and everything from shifter cars to touring cars. I got addicted pretty hard.
Q: What’s the fastest you’ve ever gone?
A: Oh man, I was up near 200 mph at Daytona Motor Speedway. I gotta be honest – it was pretty much a butt-pucker, too. Speed is pretty relative. If you have minimal adhesion, then 30 mph seems incredibly fast. If you’re driving around your neighborhood and hit a piece of black ice, then 30 mph might as well be the speed of light. If you’re going 195 at Daytona and it’s wide open and there are no corners and you have unlimited adhesion, it’s not that overwhelming. It’s kind of like, “Man, we can go even faster!” You start pressing a hole in the floor, trying to get it to go faster.
Q: What’s the craziest ride you’ve ever had?
A: It would have to be when I was a kid. We used to pile up kids under ramps and try to clear people. It wasn’t uncommon for the last guy to get hit. It sounds crazy, but Reedus even did that. You get a bike and you jump your friends. When you’re a kid, you’re basically brain dead. I’m blown away every day that I’m still alive after some of the sh—t I did. Most of the haphazard crap I did on two wheels was on my Schwinn Stingray when I was a kid.
Q: You don’t have any tattoos yourself, but got to tattoo Oliver Peck during your ride in Texas. What was that like?
A: A dream come true, because my family and I have seen every episode of Ink Master. My two little boys can tell you who’s going to win and who’s going to get evicted and for what reason. They would recognize Oliver from a mile away. We don’t watch a lot of TV, but that’s a show that we watch. Having my li’l turds see me tattoo Oliver Peck is going to be all-time.
Q: Any plans to introduce racing and riding to your kids?
A: Absolutely — 100 percent. It’s already in their blood.
Q: In the episode, Norman says that rides like yours are so special because you get to discover new sides to people. Did you discover anything new about Norman, or even yourself?
A: After 25 years of being best buddies with somebody, there ain’t no new side! [Laughs] Me and that f—ker have been through so much sh—t. He has a baby girl now, so we did spend countless hours talking about that. We did get an opportunity to talk about family and that was brand new. We haven’t had a lot of time since I started a family. That is a new area of exploration for us and it was wonderful.
Ride With Norman Reedus airs Sundays at midnight/11c.
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