LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Brand New - Exclusive Interview With Actor Lance Henriksen Part 1
By James Whittington, Tuesday 14th December 2010
Lance 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.
Related show tags: ABOMINABLE, DREAM WARRIOR, MILLENNIUM MORE INTERVIEWS Interview with Adam Green, director of Victor Crowley
Posted on Wednesday 13th May 2020
Ahead of Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Adam Green's Victor Crowley, the great director shares his personal tragedies, George Romero's inspirational words, the importance of genre comedy and hints that the Bayou Butcher may rise again...
HC: Adam, you're back on Horror Channel with your latest Hatchet instalment, Victor Crowley. Excited?
AG: I'm always thrilled to hear that another one of my films will be playing on the UK's Horror Channel! It's crazy to think that the US hasn't had a horror specific television channel in 6 years now, only horror themed subscription platforms like Shudder. Then again - look at the real life horror we're dealing with here as far as our current President goes...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Lukas Feigelfeld, director of Hagazussa
Posted on Friday 17th April 2020
The themes of witchcraft and the occult are making a bit of a come back at the moment. Movies such as The Witch and Midsommer have brought the genre back into focus and now Hagazussa from writer/director Lukas Feigelfeld takes the genre to another, even darker level. Here he chats about this incredibly atmospheric movie which is being released on May 11th thanks to Arrow Video.
HC: Where did the idea for Hagazussa come from and how long did it take to write?
LF: I had been living with the idea of doing something witch and folklore related for many years. Part of my family originates from this particular area in the Austrian Alps, and from a young age on I was greatly fascin...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with actor Nicholas Vince star of Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II
Posted on Monday 30th March 2020
Fridays in April on Horror will deliver to you three of the most viscous and acclaimed horror movies ever made, Hellraiser, Hellraiser II: Hellbound and Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth. One of the stars of the first two movies was Nicholas Vince who brought so much to the character of "Chatterer".
Here he, err, chats to Horror about how he become involved in such memorable movies and his plans for the future.
(Photo credit Dawson James Photography)
HC: When did you first meet Clive Barker?
NV: I met him at a party in May 1984. We got on well and he invited me to model for him; for his painted covers of the first UK hardback editions of his Books of Blood.
HC: What...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of Vendetta
Posted on Thursday 19th March 2020 Vengeance Season on Horror contains the UK TV premiere of Vendetta, the superb all-male maelstrom of mayhem from Jen and Sylvia Soska. We chatted to these incredible talented creatives about this action-packed thriller and what they have planned for the future.
HC: Have you always been wrestling fans and if so, when growing up, who were your faves?
Sylvia: We got introduced to wrestling during the epic Kane brother storyline during the Undertaker and Heartbreak Kid feud that led to the first ever Hell in a Cell. I mean after that kind of an introduction; how doesn't the magic of wrestling have your heart for the rest of your life? If it isn't obvious, I'm a Shawn Michaels fan.
Jen: Und...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Julien Seri, director of Anderson Falls
Posted on Tuesday 18th February 2020
Ahead of the UK premiere of serial killer thriller Anderson Falls at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2020, director Julien Seri reflects on this, his first 'American' experience, challenging fight scenes and the importance of personal vision.
It has been five years since we premiered Night Fare at FrightFest London, what have you been up to since then?
JS: I worked on two, very singular, projects as a producer and/or director. I signed for both with Wild Bunch, but we've failed to produce them yet. So I keep fighting. And I did a lot of commercials, TV series and music videos.
When did you first hear about the Anderson Falls script and why did you think it was perfect for yo...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Adam Stovall, director of A Ghost Waits
Posted on Sunday 9th February 2020
Ahead of the World premiere of A Ghost Waits at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2020, director Adam Stovall reflects on getting through depression, creating paranormal romance and the influence of Tom Waits...
You have an interesting CV - from comedy theatre and film journalism to writing for The Hollywood Reporter and second assistant directing. Was all this a game plan to becoming a fully-fledged director?
AS: I've known since I was a little kid sitting in the basement watching the network TV premiere of Back To The Future while holding my Back To The Future storybook and waiting for them to premiere the first footage from Back To The Future 2 during a commercial br...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Simeon Halligan, director of Habit
Posted on Sunday 9th February 2020
Simeon Halligan is one of the busiest people working in the industry today. Writer, director, producer, director of celebrated film festival Grimmfest, in fact the list goes on.
His latest film is the neon tinged, blood-splattered masterpiece Habit which is showing on Horror February 14th so we thought we should get the story on how he brought this shocker to the big screen.
HC: When did you first become aware of the book by Stephen McGeagh to which Habit is based?
SH: I read the book a couple of years back and really liked it. A combination of gritty realism and dark fantasy; set within a very recognisable Manchester. There's a juxtaposition in the book; from a kind of soc...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Jackson Stewart, director of Beyond The Gates
Posted on Wednesday 22nd January 2020
Jack Stewart's sublime retro horror Beyond the Gates was recently shown on Horror. Jackson is one of the strongest creatives around at the moment but he took time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about this contemporary classic and his future movie plans.
HC: Was there one film that you saw growing up which gave you the idea that you wanted to work in the film industry?
JS: There were definitely a number of them; I think the ones that stick out strongest in my memory were Temple Of Doom, Batman '89, Nightmare On Elm Street 4, Raising Arizona, Back To The Future, Marnie, Army Of Darkness, The Frighteners and Dirty Harry. All of them had a big emotional impact on me. Dirty Har...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with acclaimed author Shaun Hutson
Posted on Friday 20th December 2019
The British horror legend Shaun Hutson is back with Testament, a new novel featuring one of his fans most loved characters, Sean Doyle so we decided to catch up with this talented chap about his acclaimed work.
HC: Was there one author who inspired you to become a writer?
SH: My inspirations were always and still are cinematic if I'm honest. Even when I first started writing my influences and inspirations came from things like Hammer films, from TV series like The Avengers (with Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee) and from old Universal horror films. I read the Pan Books of Horror Stories when I was a kid and I think they were probably the first "literary" influences I ever had. I also read lo...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Tyler MacIntyre, director of Patchwork
Posted on Thursday 12th December 2019 On the eve of Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Patchwork on December 14th, director Tyler MacIntyre reflects on body image issues. twisting audience expectations and his admiration for current female genre directors.
HC: Patchwork finally gets its UK TV premiere on Horror Channel. Excited or what?
TM: Relieved actually. It's been a long time coming. The third screening of the film ever happened at FrightFest in Glasgow and since then I've had people asking me when it was going to come out. The UK genre fans are among the most diehard in the world, so I'm very excited to finally have it available for them.
HC: You were in attendance when Patchwork, your directorial feature debut, rece...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with James Moran, writer of Tower Block
Posted on Monday 25th November 2019
Writer James Moran is about to do what few other writers have done in the past, the Horror Channel Triple! He is one of the few creatives who has had three of his movies play on the channel; Cockneys Vs Zombies, Severance and now Tower Block which is playing on November 29th. So, we decided to chat to this talented chap about this superior thriller and the rest of his career.
HC: Your first movie, Severance is a huge favourite with Horror Channel viewers, were you ever tempted to pen a sequel?
JM: Thank you, I'm really glad that people can still discover it with every new screening. Everybody wanted to do a sequel, we actually had several meetings about it. Nothing came of it, they carried on with...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Gary Dauberman, writer and director of Annabelle Comes Home
Posted on Saturday 23rd November 2019
Gary Dauberman has been the scriptwriter for some of the most successful horror movies of the last few years including IT: Parts 1 and 2, Annabelle and The Nun. His latest movie, Annabelle Comes Home which is also his directorial debut, has just been released onto DVD and Blu-ray. We caught up with this talented chap about his career to date.
HC: What was it about the horror genre that grabbed your imagination and made you want to become a writer?
GD: The earliest movie going experience I can remember was my parents taking me to Raiders of the Lost Ark and I was 4 or 5 or something and I had to sleep with them for a week, you know the opening up of The Ark and the face melting, a rea...SHARE: READ MORE Interviews Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Wednesday 10th June
Sunday 7th June
Thursday 4th June