In the final part of our interview with Lance Henriksen, Lance talks about life (as an actor), the universe (and its amazing creatures) and everything (about pottery). Thanks again to Lance for the interview and we hope you’ve enjoyed this slice of Henriksen magic.
BacktoFrankBlack: Lance, it’s great having you on board this campaign! It’s so rare to have the very icon of a TV campaign standing so vocally behind the fans! A miracle even!
LANCE HENRIKSEN: We’ll we’ve just got the President we deserve! We just did. It’s a miracle and a lot of that miracle came through the internet – it really did! We suddenly have an intelligent, bright guy in the center that’s going to do a wonderful job. Sure, he’ll have problems, but that ‘s the nature of being President! I’m really thrilled. That was a beautiful night that I’ve ever had in terms of anything happening in politics. There wasn’t a dry eye in the country.
BTFB: I think many in the world are quite jealous of your President!
LH: Oh don’t be jealous! However it may start a trend where people realise that the things they really want, can happen.
See with Obama – I’ve been up and around Harvard, I know what kind of work he did. You see the love he has for his family. He’s a very sharp and coordinated human being whose very happy in his own skin. He’s quite a man and I’m proud of him, I’m proud of what he did.
Getting back to the issue though, it happened because people got on board – and that’s what you’re trying to do. Though I’m not comparing myself to Obama of course!
BTFB: No, I can’t see that sort of comparison would do the campaign much good!
LH: No, that would not fly!
BTFB: It’s a sound allegory – that the internet has created such a stronger international bond of communication allowing people to be heard.
LH: It certainly is. Listen, I have a lot of flaws as a human being. Everybody has a certain amount of character defects – one of the reason I got into this industry in the first place was because really in a lot of ways it was the only place I could go. I’ve been a painter and an artist – I love the arts and all I know is working from my intuition and that’s where I’m at and why the role of Frank Black was so good for me – it was a role that required lot of restraint and observation. Those are things that are natural to me anyway.
In the arts, like in making pottery, you’re basing your pursuit on an observation you’ve made after a firing and you pursue it until something else comes up and then you pursue that… so it’s a lifelong thing. Because you’re one person its coming from a very private source from you alone. Everyone has a gift whether they see it coming to fruition and that’s the place I like to work from – I really don’t know any other way!
BTFB: Would be fair to say you love your pottery!
I make pottery – I make 36 inch platters and I have another world of friends who are all potters. They put me on the board of the American museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona – it’s the only museum in California devoted to pottery and they have all the great artists from all over the the country come to the museum and have shows there. I’m sitting on the board with the founder and five other people. We went around the table and introduced ourselves. Four or five said how they went to Stanford or to Berkley and they were great at business, and they came to me and I said “Hi, my name is Lance Henriksen – I am a compulsive potter – that’s all I have to say! That’s it! That’s me! And I have no idea what use I’ll be on this board with you but I’ll give it my best.”
Talk about dropping their jaws! And only because that’s the truth – I’m telling the truth. You can have all kinds of degrees and all kinds of business degrees – but what are you going to do with it? [laughs]
BTFB: One fan question I would like to present to you from Viivi was about your role as a bad guy – for instance, in the picture Stone Cold. How different is it playing the bad guy?
LH: Playing a bad guy in a movie.. Often you have a piece of work that is written where the guy is bad in a bit of a cliché way – it’s obvious stuff. What I try and do with those roles is build a real dense character that has a life to him and that world of biker’s clubs in Stone Cold is a very dark place. What I tried to do with that character was to be very unyielding – in terms of the lifestyle the character was living – absolutely unforgiving. And it worked. I don’t know if the movie worked, but the character really worked!
I’ve just finished a movie called Sirus. It’s an independent film and I’m playing a guy who is the best friend of a serial killer. When I say ‘best friend’ what I mean is he’s an enabler. He’s a real, thick enabler who has a tow truck and crushes car somewhere in the Midwest. He has a psychopathic edge – has no feelings. He has affection for this one person because he can enable him and it was fun to play – it really was. It was almost like playing a 60 year old teenager who had that feeling, you know, the one where you can never be hurt in any way? That’s who this guy is. I suddenly realized when I started playing him. I had a lot of fun playing him because the character didn’t actually hurt anyone personally – and I thought wow, this is sick shit! Really. Wow. But it was so much fun to do him. I even found a hat that a member of the crew was wearing and I thought, “Oh shit yeah!” I felt like I was on a shopping spree and found all the little pieces of this guy! I grabbed this hat from this guy’s head and I said “hey can I use that?” and he said “yeah!”.
I brought my own boots because I had my instincts tell me that being a tow truck driver he’d have certain pair of boots and so I brought mine. Anyway it was putting together pieces of a character and I love that. Believe me I love acting – otherwise I wouldn’t do it, I’d stop.
BTFB: Sounds like the sort of character that Frank Black would have to deal with.
LH: Exactly. Remember: As a person I’ve never killed anybody or hurt anybody in any way. It’s a piece of entertainment where you investigate these types of characters and make audiences believe it, just what’s going on and lead them down unusual paths. But I don’t only want to do the Hollywood ‘bad guys’ or ‘good guys’, it’s about playing characters that have a full range of emotions.
I find a lot of inspiration in acting just comes in a flash and then if you pursue that inspiration you expand it and you see how it affect on the whole world. We’re not a usual creature, humans. You know, last night I was with a group of people and suddenly I was thinking that we were like a pod, a pod of whales – we can’t survive without each other. Whenever I’m in an airplane and look down, we’re like algae, we really are. Algae on a planet.
BTFB: Intelligent algae?
LH: Yeah, well – we think anyway! I mean, the chickens in the chicken yard think they’re the hot shit. They walk around and there’s a pecking order and they can be nasty – but they probably think they are the shit! If you have a snow leopard up in the mountains and its so mysterious and no body knows what its thinking or what it’s behavior. I’m a believer that animals are really, really misunderstood! [laughs]
BTFB: Before we finish, you have a real rapport with the fans – I recall when you were in Manchester last year how much energy and devotion you gave to the people there.
LH: I really did enjoy. I love meeting people and talking even if it’s for a brief few moments. At least I’m making contact and I’ve had some really good conversations around the hotel. It was really worth doing, really fun.
I live with the kind of attitude of gratitude believe me, that’s how my life really wants to be and to be accepted in the industry like I have been it’s been wonderful, I have nothing to complain about at all!
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