‘Boon’ star Neal McDonough: ‘Spokane is paradise for a filmmaker’

It’s been 14 months since actor Neal McDonough and company finished shooting “Boon,” his latest Western film and the sequel to “Red Stone.” The action-packed flick debuted Friday on Apple TV, where it can be streamed.

McDonough, 55, recently called from Los Angeles to explain why Hollywood isn’t down with Westerns, detail why Spokane is essentially a character in “Boon” and reveal whether he will return to town to shoot another film.

The plot of “Boon,” a drifter trying to start a new life, who wants peace but must resort to self-defense, reminds me of the classic TV show “Kung Fu’s” Caine.

That’s exactly what we were going for with “Boon.” Speaking of “Kung Fu,” part three of this series takes place in Chinatown. I go back to my original sensei. I’ve lost my mind. I’ve got the yips and the shakes. I need my guy to help me. The Slovakian mob attempts to hunt me down but can’t find me, so they kill my sensei, and that sets me off.

That’s the next movie?

We’re going to do another movie first. We’re producing a Cain and Abel in the West. We’re talking to Jim Caviezel about playing evil Cain. We’re staying in this neo-western genre. It’s working. We love making these films. The audience likes them. I did 25 interviews yesterday talking about “Boon.” Cinedyne (Films) bought “Red Stone” and “Boon,” and we have a deal to make a minimum of two movies a year in this genre. I couldn’t be happier.

My dad loved Westerns. Did you grow up in a similar manner, watching westerns with your dad?

yes There was a Western on every Saturday and Sunday afternoon. I loved the John Wayne films. I especially enjoyed the films Wayne was in at the end of his career, like “The Shootist,” which had him play a heart-on-your-sleeve cowboy. I love that film even though it’s painful watching Wayne, who was dying at the time, playing a character who was dying. It’s a fascinating film to watch. Now that I’m older, it hits me even harder.

Why has Hollywood been reluctant to bring back Westerns?

I think it’s because Hollywood believes it needs to make its heroes overly dark and angst-ridden. Sure, heroes need to have some flaws. They also need to stand up for something. Look at Ronald Reagan. He (as president of the United States) stood up to the big bad wolf (Russia). I don’t mean to be political, but I love Reagan probably in part because he was an actor.

But I don’t need to see “Batman.” You have an angst-ridden guy with a lot of money. And then you have a villain like the Joker, who is perversely evil. I don’t know guys like either of them.

You gushed when you spoke of how much you enjoyed working in Spokane last year, and you said the city and the surrounding area would enhance the film.

I love Spokane for many reasons. In terms of the film, Spokane was like a third character. There are few places that offer so much. Spokane is great to shoot in because you can shoot like it’s a new city or an old city. Drive an hour away, and you’re in the mountains. Drive an hour another way, and you shoot like you’re in the desert.

Spokane is paradise for a filmmaker. I love shooting there since there’s little traffic, and I love the people. They remind me of how I grew up around Boston. It’s an upper blue collar area. You have hardworking people. The experience there was dynamite.

Will you shoot again in Spokane?

Absolutely! We’re waiting to see what the Legislature will do. It all depends on tax breaks.

Last year, you said that you were interested in opening a movie studio in Spokane. Is that still a possibility if tax breaks are favorable?

A studio will be built in Spokane, if not by me, it will be someone else who opens one.

What (video production company) North By Northwest has in Spokane isn’t big enough for feature films or a television show. As soon as tax breaks happen, things will move forward. I would love nothing more than to be part of a studio there.

What did you enjoy about Spokane when you weren’t on the set?

so much I loved going ice skating outdoors at the (Numerica Skate Ribbon at Riverfront) park with my whole family. I enjoyed getting great ice cream and coffee all over Spokane. There are so many great restaurants. But the place I loved most was that steakhouse with the brass railings, Churchills. I had one of the best steaks I ever had in my life. It was unbelievable.

Many of your peers talk about how they discourage their children from entering the entertainment industry, but you’re up for passing on the family business, correct?

yes They have no choice. It is the family business. We have five children ages 8-16. They can go to university and study whatever, but I want this to be a family business. My wife (producer Ruve McDonough) and I have opened the entertainment door for them, but I want them to knock it wide open.

How many people told you that you would never make it as an actor?

So, so many. I had a bazillion people tell me that I had no chance. But I’m this kid from Cape Cod who has been in more than 100 movies and in more than 1,000 hours of television. I didn’t listen to anybody because I’m not very smart. My brothers are too smart to do what I’ve done.

I’m like a Labrador Retriever. I know I shouldn’t try to cross the icy ocean, but I have to because I have to see what’s over there.