Lance Henriksen Fan Interview of Lance Henriksen Magic/TIWWA
Q. Had you ever the ambition to write and/or direct an episode of MillenniuM, like David Duchovny did on the X-Files ? Alexander Grodzinski, Germany
No, I have no desire to direct. I never have. But I like writing scripts. I'm working on one at the moment — it's called Melt. I've been writing it for the last 10 years. It all started when I read the line from a Dylan Thomas poem, “The ball I threw while playing in the park has not yet reached the ground.” [from Should Lanterns Shine]. That line got my attention, it inspired me. It's about a guy throwing ball in the park when he was a kid and it has still not hit the ground now he is an adult. It's a sci-fi story ... about time. You know there's this little kid in all of us, he's still in there, deep down in us those atoms are the same as when we were that kid.
But doing Millennium, I couldn't be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral. I really needed to stay subjective and didn't have the chance to get objective enough about it to think about directing.
Q. Hello`MR H We loved your work In 'Near Dark" and "Stone Cold". We also Enjoy your Pottery as well.. Do you know of or remember any of the cut footage from "Millennium" . Were many parts of "Millennum" cut out because they were just to rough or bloody for TV??
A. A lot of jokes would happen, we would start laughing uncontrollably because of the tension of the show, so some very funny things would happen on set. Mostly in terms of language [the dialogue was, at times, complex], I've already told you about the line: 'I detect an unusual level of mindfulness associated with the violence.' Well some of these things Chris would get me to say I'd have to get 10 dictionaries out to understand the words. So we'd end up saying something out of context or doing a scene out of order. You'd catch a look from another actor and start laughing. The guy who played Giebelhouse had been fisherman in Alaska, he was a real man, very funny guy, me and him would crack up a lot on the set.
Q. Frank Black was a wonderfully crafted and realised hero in the truest sense of that word, and I still find both the character and some of the episodes an inspiration. My question is, with several years' distance now between you and the character, how far has the experience of playing him affected your outlook on life? Adam Chamberlain, London, England
A. Quite a bit. When I look back I have 20/20 vision, and I can be objective now I'm not playing him. It makes me realize all the things that could have been done to make the show more powerful. The show should have never have ended when it did. Cases can't all be solved by 9 o'clock when the show ended. I would've also liked the chance to show more of the process of [Frank's] thinking in that situation [his thought processes]. I would love to get the chance to play a similar character and show all this — it's certainly a role I'd look out for in the future.
Q. Hey Lance, In Sue's interview, you mentioned "secrets" that you learned about Frank Black as the season progressed and share with Chris Carter at the end of each season. As an aspiring screenwriter, I've learned how important a character's "secrets" (untold back story) can be in telling a good story. Did Chris use what you'd learned about Frank during the first two years? At the end of season three, Frank and Jordan were heading on a journey. Where did you think they were going and where did you want them to go? Thanks, Wayne
A. No, the demands of a TV show like that are so hectic there was no chance. Chris couldn't incorporate my ideas, there was no time. Where do I think they're off to? I'm an addict for the South Seas ... somewhere warm and beautiful.
Q. Lance: Considering the undeniable brilliance and breaking of new ground that went into Millennium, can you elaborate on how the show's premature cancellation affected you? It must have been extremely frustrating. Ric Fisher USA
A. Very frustrating. We all knew it would have its found legs in the fourth year. The plans were getting very strong. The problem we had was that the producer was fired and another guy took over and cancelled Millennium. Then he got fired soon after!
But the fourth season would perhaps go in the direction I was hoping; the shows would not have been solved so quickly. Look at the brilliance of shows like The Sopranos, brilliance of it is that they don't wrap it up at the end of the night. Life is not like that, it doesn't all come with a neat answer wrapped up within the hour.
Q. Hello Lance, I hear you have a birthday approaching, so I would like to wish you a very happy birthday! I am looking forward to the DVD release of Millenium. I consider it to be one of the finest things ever shown of American TV. I was wondering, were there any actors, films, etc... That have been an inspiration to you as an actor? Michael, IL, USA
A. Certain actors' performance even in bad films can be incredible, and inspiring. Some of my favourite actors weren't very well noticed in their careers: John Malone was a great actor, he came from the Peking Theatre. And Chow Yun Fat (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), John Woo [directed Hard Target] is a great guy and an inspiring person. Along the way there are moments from all kinds of movies, if I find 5 mins in any film worth watching it is worth watching the film. I love finding that gem of a performance, There are so many actors who are so talented. The one best thing on millennium was meeting new actors every week. I always tried to make them feel welcome .
Q. Thank you for your wonderful work in Millennium. I have read that you were originally not interested in starring in a television series until Millennium. Would you consider acting in another series, and if so, what criteria would need to be met for you to agree to do more work in television? Sage Lutton, New Jersey, USA
A. It depends on what the goal is, on what the show is about. Doing TV is a lifestyle; you need to really want play a character and have respect for what [the character] is doing. I loved doing the Millennium show because I felt like a working actor with a lunch box in my hand. It was very unusual for me to get to play a character for that length of time. It was like being on Broadway.
[I asked him if he had ever felt the urge to go back into theatre, as this seems to be a popular trend amongst some actors, ie Kevin Spacey.] No because I'm so addicted to film, the process is so extended. In theatre you have to go to lengths to get the show extended. But perhaps a small obscure play, somewhere out of the way, might be more interesting.
Q. Dear Lance, Thank you very much for your portrayal of Frank Black on Millennium. Your work is exceptional. Happy birthday! My question is this: if you could re-live any moment during the three years of making Millennium, what would that moment be, and why?
A. Boy that's a tough one. There was so much dignity in the family, Brittany Tiplady was sweetest child I've ever met. Being a family in those stolen moments would be something I would like to relive. The rest was like going to war!
There are some serial killings going down in the U.S. right now, and when I watch those stories in the news I slip back into Frank. I lean back in my chair and start thinking about the case, thinking like these guys think. [I asked him how he thinks someone like Frank (and the academy guys) distance themselves from all the horror of it all]. You have to divorce yourself from the emotion, get objective about it. And the key thing to remember is that these guys are the only ones speaking for victim in all this, they have a job to do.
Q. Hi, I was wondering if you and Chris Carter have discussed a possible film dealing with both Millennium and X-files?
A. Yeah, I'm hoping that happens. If enough people write to Fox it could happen.
Q. Last July, we held an interview with Sarah Jane Redmond. SJR was asked her thoughts on working with you: "[Lance was] By far the greatest example of grace, talent, joy, commitment, and generosity I have ever come across. Lance is one of, if not the, most giving, dynamic powerful, and daring actors I have thus far worked with. He loves his craft, and his exuberance for life comes through in his work." Were you aware of how much of an impact you had on her as a professional colleague? Best regards, Graham Smith. UK
A. She's a wonderful actress. No I wasn't aware, I was so busy enjoying their company and who they were, that it was a wonderful experience. It makes my heart swell ... [to hear how these actors see him]. I see the vulnerability of actors. It always moves me in some way.
Q. First of all, let me thank you for the rendition of the best TV character ever. Frank Black and Millennium had a great impact on my work as a writer, so thank you again. Millennium ending abruptly as it did, I guess there were a number of secrets and possible plot hooks that you never had the chance to reveal to the public. Are there any you know by any chance? Riccardo Raccis, Florence, Italy
A. I know that Chris and his group had the next season figured out already. They were all disappointed. We all just got numb [when we heard]. I was in my truck heading home down from Canada when I got the news on my cellphone. My wife and two dogs were in the car with me. I just felt numb.
Q. Did your time doing the show affect you personally? It always had such a spiritual theme, and so I was wondering in what way, if any, that affected you and your life. Erin McRaven
A. Both negative and positive. On the negative side wherever I went with my wife I was looking out of the car window, saying I know what's going on in that building. My wife would have to ask Frank: “Can lance come out and play?” In that respect it wasn't much fun. But the positive side was knowing how rich my life was. I took it serious. It was a psychological nightmare, facing all the demons that there are. It gave me a lot of faith in human beings. Meeting the academy group made me well up, that these people are so caring and trying so hard to solve all these cases. Even though they were all retired they were still doing it .
This interview is courtesy of Lance Henriksen Magic.
24th April 2004