On the set of Edwin Boyd: Citizen Gangster art imitated life.
The story of legendary Canadian bank robbers Edwin Boyd and Lenny Jackson is ripe with daring stick-ups, jailbreaks and gunfights, but despite a criminal partnership that made both men household names they weren’t close.
“On a personal level I don’t think there was a whole lot of love there,” says Kevin Durand, who plays Jackson in the film.
“They dealt with things in a different way. Lenny and Edwin had very different ways of approaching their job.”
Durand and co-star Scott Speedman, who plays Boyd, manifested that aloofness to create their characters on the Sault Ste. Marie set.
“We definitely had respect for one another and we liked each other but we didn’t go out of our way to hang out together,” Durand says.
“It was interesting in the way it panned out because I ended up spending a lot of time with Val and Wille, (Joseph Cross and Brendan Fletcher). Those were my guys and we literally became the gang. It was incredible because we were holed up in the north, in the cold, in our little hotel rooms and we became this little tribe of … I want to say thieves but we didn’t go thieving, but it felt very real.”
The story may have come to life for Durand on set, but he was unaware of the Boyd Gang’s exploits before he read the script. “I was really taken aback at how famous they were to another generation,” he says. “My Uncle Tom filled me in at a discussion at a family dinner. He knew all about it and was really excited about me playing Lenny.”
His uncle vividly remembered the gang’s early fifties heyday. “My uncle said, ‘My God, we were so terrified. I remember hiding in my bedroom hoping that the Boyd Gang wasn’t going to come in my window and rob me and kill me.’”
Lenny and Edwin may have been bad guys, but that’s not exactly how Durand sees them.
“The thing about these guys, like most bad guys, is that they are human and they are a product of their environment and their time,” he says. “You see them in the movie with their loved ones and you see the poetry of their lives.”