ARTICLES

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Brand New - Exclusive Interview With Actor Lance Henriksen Part 1
By James Whittington, Tuesday 14th December 2010

Lance HenriksenLance Henriksen is one of the most respected and best loved actors working today. He has appeared in many movies, most notably Aliens, The Terminator and Near Dark. This week cult series Millennium returned to the Horror Channel with Lance in the lead role of profiler Frank Black. This acclaimed series is quite simply stunning so we decided to catch up with this very busy man for a chat about his career so far. In this the first part of a two part feature, Lance talks about how his acting career began and what his initial thoughts were about the series Millennium.

HC: Lance, thanks for taking time out to speak with us as by looking at IMDb you seem to be the hardest working man in show business at the moment with eight titles in pre-production. Do you have a set criteria on how to decide which projects you choose?

LH: Yeah. Yeah. Money and availability (laughs). Some of them are certainly alimony films. I have to be honest about some of them. But I feel pretty invincible in the sense that if I take a job on I'm going try to do something very special with it no matter what the limitations and I’ve said it before and I really mean it, I don't do low budget acting. If I take a job on and the material offers any route that offers any kind of quality I'll go for that route. It's like water seeking its own level, you know what I mean? There’s no way I’m going to get on there to humiliate or embarrass myself. I’m not responsible for any movie that I do. I mean I’m really not. I’m responsible for my work but not for the thing as a whole and we all have to work. If you were a knife sharpener guy with one of those wheels you have to spin to sharpen knives for people, you don’t know what they’re going to do with it. They could cut the turkey or kill your neighbour (laughs). I’m not responsible (laughs).

HC: Let’s go back to the beginning of your profession; was there a certain movie or actor you saw that made you think that’s the career for you?

LH: Well, yeah. Remember I grew up in the age of Hollywood movies. Until Street Car [Named Desire] came along or some of Elia Kazan’s work like On The Waterfront and things like that, movies were more kind of shiny kind of naïve and full of sh*t really. And when I was seeing them as a kid I did detect the falseness of a lot of it, and I got an early image that if I told the truth I could do it better and when great actors came along and some of these movies started changing into real character studies and people telling the truth about their lives with their performances I really knew there was a place for me. But I was still young and one of the things that I’ve expressed is I remember stepping out (I must have been 9 or 10) and Mario Lanza had done The Great Caruso, it was the biography of Enrico Caruso. I remember in the movie he’s young in an Italian neighbourhood and he’s full of vitality, he’s a great singer and he meets a girl and they get married and he becomes the most famous singer on Earth and then he dies! I walked out of the theatre and I thought, “Holy sh*t. That is really depressing”. I’d just seen a whole man's lifetime in an hour and a half or less and I thought, “That’s terrifying” and I got that image that doing movies you get a thousand lifetimes. So those kind of concepts were rolling around in my head.

Then one of the escapes I had was Kirk Douglas going up river in The Big Sky. They were on a barge which you push with poles and I used to sit in a theatre and watch it ten times and get out at four in the morning and I had camping equipment under my seat and go sleep under a truck on the East Side of the river and I wanted to head West and go up to the big sky! So I was already method acting as a kid. So it was an accumulation of things rather than one thing. And it’s not anyone actor its an accumulation of events.

HC: How did you get your big break and what emotions did you go through the first time you acted on a film set?

LH: Oh boy! My big break really, there was a stupid-ass movie I did whilst I was at The Guthrie Theatre it was the story of an ex-Vietnam vet who had come back home to Minnesota and he starts racing snowmobiles, I mean, what the f**k!? I was just wanting to get in front of a camera and see what it was like. But the problem was that the guy behind the camera was an absolute basket case. He had gone through a divorce and he was having a nervous breakdown and I would do a scene where the girl dies and he would come on the set weeping and crying saying, “Why do I write things like this?”, and it was absolutely chaos. I walked away from that saying this was not movie making, this is some other sh*t I don’t know what this is. Then I got Dog Day Afternoon which was some years later back in New York, it was the first moment of realising what it was to work with really talented people. Pacino was in it and all the people in the bank were friends of mine and we all had done plays together. So it was like a family affair in a sense and then I got a real reality check about this is what its really like and this is how it could be, you know? Even though I didn’t have a giant role I had enough of a role to know. I’m one of these people who never leaves a set. I’m always on set and watching what’s going on. Ever since I started I don’t like to go to the trailer and cool my heels I really want to be on the set. Even on Millennium I was that way. In terms of movies one of the things that happens is that the more you’re there the more you pick up on things and I don’t like to walk away from that.

HC: I’d like to jump to the series Millennium if that’s OK. It’s such a dark and serious series; did it surprise you it was commissioned in the first place as it’s very brave and controversial in some of its subject matter?

LH: No, because when I met Chris Carter and we had a lunch together to talk about it because my damn agent at the time wouldn’t tell me it was a television series and when I read it and it was as dark as any movie that I’d read and I said to my agent, “What is this?” and he said that it was a television series and I said, “Ahh, sh*t Jeff why did you suck me into this?” because I didn’t want to do television again. So I went and had lunch with Chris Carter and the director who was going to direct the pilot and I said, “Just answer me one thing, Chris this is so dark where’s the relief going to come from?” and he looked at me and I said “Because this is unrelenting”, and he said, “The yellow house” and I said, “What?” and he said “Yeah, the yellow house. That’s going to be the relief”. Then he started to make me understand what the war between sort of good and evil is in his vision of this thing and it kind of matched my feelings that the courageous people are the ones that are having kids and are raising them and trying to have a normal good life, trying to be kind and respectful and doing the right thing. All around them is swirling, not only banking screw-ups that are threatening them, inflation is threatening them and bad people are threatening them. They’ve always been my heroes, the ones that are leading a normal life. So I understood what he was saying but I didn’t know how they were going to play it out and I honestly felt that after a while of playing Frank Black that that was the case he was like an island, he never brought it home or never tried not to and when he did walk through that door with his family they were suddenly the anchor, the reason, the reason that he was working.

There were certain books I had read about the FBI and working on serial cases and stuff like that and they had 100 cases going on at the same time and one of them had a stroke, they found him in a hotel he almost died overworked his brain was just blowing up. Anyway, I started to say to myself this is a Frank Black adventure I’m on it and like a surfer you’re on a wave and you don’t look back just keep going and see what you learn out of this. Because one thing that was true about Frank Black he’s more intelligent and more educated than I’ll ever be. I have a certain limit and I have always thought that somehow that was OK, that was all right to be an actor and have those limits and know them.

In the second part of this exclusive interview Lance goes into more detail about the production of Millennium and his plans for the future.

Many thanks to James Mclean from Back To Frank Black for arranging this interview and for more information on the campaign to bring Millennium back click here.


Related show tags: ABOMINABLE, DREAM WARRIOR, MILLENNIUM
MORE INTERVIEWS
Interview with Paul Davis, director of Uncanny Annie
Posted on Wednesday 16th October 2019

Ahead of the International premiere of Uncanny Annie at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween 2019, director Paul Davis reflects on working for Blumhouse, bemoans attitudes to British genre film funding and reveals the movies that inspire him the most...

HC: Tell us how Uncanny Annie came about?

PD: Uncanny Annie is my second movie for Blumhouse as part of Hulu's Into The Dark movie series. I had the opportunity to actually kick off last October with a feature adaptation of my short film The Body (which had its world premiere at FF in 2013). The concept was to release a movie a month, for twelve months, with each revolving around a holiday or particular day for the month of its released. With The Bod...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Lars Klevberg, director of Child's Play (2019)
Posted on Thursday 10th October 2019
CHILDS_PLAY_Universal_2D_BD_Pakcshot_UKIt was the remake everyone was against! The interweb was ablaze with negativity but director Lars Klevberg and his team managed to pull off one of the best horror movies of 2019. Here he chats about the smart shocker, Child's Play.

HC: How nervous were you taking on a re-imagining of such a beloved concept and franchise?

LK: I was in fact very nervous the minute I signed on to do the movie. Before that, I worked relentlessly for weeks to get the job, but immediately after getting it my body had a very stressful reaction. I was fully aware of the legacy I was about to re-open so, I didn't sleep one minute that night.

HC: W...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Chris Bavota, co-director of Dead Dicks
Posted on Sunday 6th October 2019
ChrisBavota_DeadDicks

Horror is the perfect genre for getting across very serious issues. Dead Dicks, which is showing at Grimmfest today does exactly that by looking at the sensitive subject of mental health. Here co-director Chris Bavota talks about this intriguing movie.

HC: How did you and co-writer and co-director Lee Paula Springer first meet?

CB: In case people don't know, Lee and I have been married for almost 10 years and we have 2 young daughters. Making movies somehow came as a natural evolution of that but wasn't really a part of our lives until about three or four years ago. We originally met back around 2004 through a mutual friend and honestly, we didn't really ge...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Robi Michael, writer and director of Every Time I Die
Posted on Saturday 5th October 2019
Robi Michael

Grimmfest 2019 is well underway and one of the stand out movies so far has been Every Time I Die from director Robi Michael. Here he chats about this gripping movie.

HC: Was there one person or movie that you saw that made you want to be a director?

RM: Hard to think of one person or movie, because as long as I remember, it was clear to me that all I want to do is make movies - I was in love with films and decided to pursue it from a very early age. I was too young to realized what it takes to make movies or what is the job of a director. I can say that an early big influence in story telling is the legendary graphic novel writer, Alan Moore. Books like "Watchmen" and "V for...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Tom Botchii, director of Artik
Posted on Wednesday 2nd October 2019
Tom Botchii

Grimmfest 2019 begins tomorrow and Horror will be there bringing you news of all that happens as well as three Facebook Live events on the 4th, 5th and 6th of October.

One of the movies showing is Artik from director Tom Botchii so we chatted to him about this superb, brutal shocker.

HC: Where did the idea for Artik come from?

TB: The idea of Artik came from two things -
1) Getting my car broken into and seeing the initials A-T-K tagged on the wall behind it. When discussing with police they said that stands for a local gang member named ARTIK and when he spray paints ATK it means that you're marked and he or one of the other gang members is coming back to brea...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Rob Grant, director of Harpoon
Posted on Monday 30th September 2019
Rob Grant director

Grimmfest 2019 is only days away and Horror Channel will be there delivering all the info you'd want from this fear-filled festival as well as bringing to you three Facebook Live events on 4th, 5th and 6th October.

Here we chat to Grimmfest regular Rob Grant about his superior psychological shocker Harpoon which is showing at the festival this year.

HC: It's been a couple of years since we last chatted when Fake Blood played at Grimmfest, what have you been up to since then?

RG: Been very busy... was a director for hire on Alive. that I unfortunately had to miss at last year's Grimmfest due to an illness in the family, made Harpoon and been travelling around ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Brand new interview with Dee Wallace, star of Cujo, The Howling and now Beyond the Sky
Posted on Sunday 12th May 2019
Cujo

Dee Wallace is one of those people who seems to have be around forever and yet never ages in enthusiasm or her ability to bring to life some of cinema's most memorable characters. With a resume that includes E.T., The Hills Have Eyes, Cujo and now Beyond the Sky, we chatted to Dee about her career to date and how she prepares for each acting project.

HC: What made you want to be an actress?

DW: Oh, you know... I was born! (laughs) Seriously, I think creative people are just born to be creative and they have to find an outlet for that. My mother also was a beautiful actress, locally in my hometown and did all the plays at church so I think I naturally found my way into a family that supporte...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Horror's Channel Manager Stewart Bridle
Posted on Friday 10th May 2019
Stewart Bridle is Horror Channel's longest serving Channel Manager. He has guided Horror for almost a decade and has managed to bring to our screens many classics as well as introducing us to some new horror movie talent. In this, our 15th anniversary month we chat to Stewart about his role and some of the juicy pieces he has lined up for the rest of 2019.

HC: Have you always been a horror movie fan?

SB: Yes! I've always been interested and fascinated with horror and all genre stuff. I have an older brother who would manage to rent or get bootleg VHS of some great horror titles and I have memories of watching things like the original Dawn Of The Dead or slashers like The Burning while far too youn...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with exploitation legend David McGillivray
Posted on Wednesday 24th April 2019
Pete WalkerAhead of Horror Channel's premiere of Pete Walker's Schizo on April 27th, horror and sexploitation movie writer/director David McGillivray reflects on disastrous scripts, his volatile relationship with Walker and writing smut for Julian Clary.

Q: Schizo is unusual in your body of work with director Pete Walker because the concept and narrative were not of your choosing. How much of a problem was that for you?

DM: Huge. I thought the script that we re-worked was terribly old-fashioned and this led to big arguments with Walker that ended our relationship.

Q: You often play a cameo in the movies you've written - you're 'Man at Seance' in Schizo. Any particular reason?

DM:...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Abner Pastoll, director of Road Games
Posted on Thursday 21st March 2019
Abner Pastol

Horror Channel loves to promote new talent in the industry and one of the most exciting new directors around is Abner Pastoll. His first feature, Road Games, is an adrenaline packed killer of a thriller which is showing on the channel on March 22nd at 9pm. We decided to chat to Abner about this tense movie and his plans for the future.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to work in the film industry?

AP: Yes. I remember being as young as 4 or 5 and just knowing with such clarity that I needed to make films. My family had a cinema, drive-in and video store, all of which certainly enhanced my obsession with movies of all shapes and sizes.

HC: Was there one film t...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Zach Lipovsky, director of Leprechaun: Origins.
Posted on Thursday 28th February 2019
Zach Lipovsky

On March 1st, Horror is bringing you the UK TV premiere of a real corker of a shocker, Leprechaun: Origins. The movie follows two couples backpacking through the Irish countryside who end up spending the night in an old cabin, and learn the terrible truth about Ireland's most famous legend. So begins a living nightmare... The movie is a smart entry into the franchise so we decided to chat to its director, Zach Lipovsky.

HC: Did you know from an early age that you wanted to work in this industry?

ZL: Yes, I grew up as a child actor. Mostly as an excuse to be on set and not at school. I was quickly more interested in making movies than acting and from the age of 10 started shooting silly pro...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Tom Paton, director of Redwood
Posted on Monday 4th February 2019
Redwood Poster

Ahead of Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Redwood, director Tom Paton reveals the secrets of his prolific work-rate, talks about tackling the subject of fake news and the twists and turns of his new film Stairs.

HC: Redwood gets its UK TV premiere on Friday 8 February, courtesy of Horror Channel. Excited or what?

TP: Honestly, I'm so proud that Redwood has made its way onto Horror Channel. I've been a huge fan since the channel launched and over the past decade I've discovered so many horror gems on there from classic through to films I'd never heard of but now love. It feels incredible to know that someone might discover Redwood in the exact same way.

HC: Is it true y...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interviews Archive: 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
PICK OF THE WEEK
You're Next
YOU'RE NEXT
Thursday 24th October
10.35 PM
The Possession
THE POSSESSION
Saturday 26th October
9.00 PM
Halloween III: Season of the Witch
HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH
Thursday 31st October
10.55 PM