INTERVIEW BY MARK BOONE JUNIOR
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JUSTIN TYLER CLOSE
STYLING BY JILL LINCOLN
GROOMING BY CAILE NOBLE AT JED ROOT
MARK BOONE JUNIOR—We’ve worked together day in, day out for four years on Sons of Anarchy and I have observed that out of the entire cast you’re the most beloved by the staff and crew. I believe it’s the quality of your character to which they are responding. What are the qualities in a person to which you respond?
TOMMY FLANAGAN—I respond to honesty, strength and the conviction to follow through with whatever your choices in life may be. If not by choice, then I respect those who get up and make the best of it anyway. And of course, loyalty, peace, love and a wicked sense of humor like my wife’s.
MBJ—Do you remember being in the womb before you were born?
TF—I’d love to say I do, Boone, but no, I think I was a bit busy developing.
MBJ—If not, what is your earliest childhood memory?
TF—My earliest memory was of my Ma bringing home my youngest brother from the maternity ward. She was glowing in her faux-fur black coat. I remember her putting the pram in the garden where I immediately tried to feed my brother dirt. What a sweet three-year-old I was.
MBJ—Are there any astonishing moments that define your childhood?
TF—1) The stark contrast of living on the outskirts of Glasgow where a quarter of a million people were squeezed into a huge sprawling estate called Easterhouse. Leaving from the front of my building, you walked into the concrete and poverty – tons of dirty, snotty, undernourished kids running around (and for some reason there was always a three-legged dog). Leaving from the back exit there were fields, forest and hills that went on forever. That is where I spent my childhood. 2) One of the most amazing things to me was, and still is, watching the swallows arrive every year and building their beautifully constructed nests in the eaves of the tenement buildings. At the end of summer they would gather in their thousands, side by side, a massive chorus of chirps and tweets. And then they would fly south for the winter. 3) Getting mugged when I was six was also quite memorable. For the first time, I was entrusted to go on an errand for my Ma. Feeling like a big boy, I set off and was conned out of the grocery money by some older kid. Early lesson learned – don’t trust nobody.
MBJ—I’ve heard you say a few times that you want your own ranch. Why?
TF—A self-sustaining working ranch, a farm, has always been the plan. Now that I’m happily married and my daughter is on the way, building a happy family home in the country is now my major priority in life.
MBJ—You’re a slut for a good piece of cloth. What do you love about clothes?
TF—Oh, I love a bit of shmutter. I’ve always loved well-tailored clothes. Growing up in a big family, you had to be first up, to be best dressed.
MBJ—Are you an advocate of Lasik eye surgery?
TF—I didn’t have Lasik surgery. I did however, have eye surgery. They replaced my lenses, which is a bit different than Lasik. I am a big advocate, though, as I have had to wear glasses my whole life. I was blind and now I can see.
MBJ—Robert Mitchum often deflected questions about acting, implying there was very little to it. “Give me a bottle of tequila and a good-looking woman and I’ll show you a good performance.” It doesn’t seem to work that way anymore. What makes a good actor?
TF—I tried the Mitchum way – it didn’t work for me. I am sure you can attest to that. I believe preparation, truth, honesty, and a big set of brass ones should get you through.
MBJ—What people from literature or history would you like to portray on the silver screen?
TF—There is a famous artist I would love to play, which we shall not name for the moment. Also, Sir Walter Scott and Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
MBJ—Before you were an actor you were a DJ. What did you spin and do you still listen to any of that same music?
TF— I started out with eighties indie music, which led into acid house music, to funk, to northern soul like The Stone Roses, Primal Scream, Happy Mondays, New Order, Oasis, Echo & The Bunnymen and The Pogues, to name a few; the days of raves and The Haçienda [nightclub] in Manchester. I still listen to all of these artists but I am always looking out for new sounds.
MBJ—Before you were a DJ, you served as an altar boy. What were your “duties”?
TF—Preparing the altar, doing the mass with the priest, cleaning up after the service, and doing my best not to get caught drinking the altar wine at the ripe age of 11.
Enjoy more this on thelabmagazine.com, coming summer 2012!