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Lance Henriksen Interview

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Millennium: Season Two DVD Feature

DVD Clip: The Mythology of Millennium


Exclusive interview by Troy Rogers and Reg Seeton, Contributing Editors

Have you ever wondered what goes on in the mind of a killer? On September 6, 2005 you'll definitely get a chance when Frank Black and the Millennium Group are back with Fox's release of Millennium: The Complete Third Season on DVD. We really wanted to know what goes on in the minds of those that chase the killers so we here at UGO we decided to profile the profiler with a few interrogative questions for Lance Henriksen.

UGO: Going back to the beginning of the series, how did the role come about for you?

LANCE HENRIKSEN: I got the script and my agent hadn't told me whether it was a movie or for television. At that time, I hadn't planned to do any television, I read and I thought it was a great script, Chris Carter had written it, it was the pilot. Then they told me it was television and I said, 'Oh, boy, it's so good. It's very tempting.' But, I really didn't want to do television. Then I had a lunch with Chris Carter and he explained to me what it was going to be and I couldn't turn it down. It was just too good.

UGO: What type of research did you do? How did you prepare for such an intriguing character?

LANCE: Well, there is a real group called the Academy Group, they're out of Manassas, Virginia and what they do is threat assessment. They're all retired from the FBI or different law enforcement. They do corporate threat assessment and work on difficult cases, I'm sure you've seen a lot of these guys on television over the years. They're involved in real cases. We had a meeting with them and did a roundtable with a lot of people talking about what is it we do. Then I started reading books and slowly started to understand what Chris was getting at in the script and it began. I was pretty amazed by the time we finished shooting the pilot. We set up a lot of issues that were on their way and weren't in the pilot, some really good writing. After three years of it, it's pretty amazing. I mean, the last season things changed up quite a bit. The Millennium Group became bad guys and I suddenly became a mentor, which I thought was age appropriate, with experience. It was always fulfilling because you never knew what was coming. As an actor, I didn't know what was coming so I'd have to expand or contract depending on what was going on.

UGO: Frank Black was an incredibly complex character before season three. How did the death of his wife change his view of the world?

LANCE: That was really tough, man. I was basing all my strength on family. When she was killed, the only thing I had left was my daughter and that was the thing that saved me. When you have a child, and I do have a child, a five and a half year old, you have to put yourself aside and really be responsible for her life, so it saved me. It saved the character as well. I always say that Brittany Tiplady, the little girl that played her, she was such a wonderful child. She saved me, and saved my sanity.

UGO: The Millennium storylines were often reflections of real life at the time, like in the third season's "Closure" and the Hollywood bank robbery episode. What did those social messages give you as an actor?

LANCE: You know something, right now we've got a war going on, a terrible hurricane hit Louisiana, and the misery that's going on down there - there's a lot around the world. What happens is, as an actor, it does color what you're doing. The most important thing that I kept as a law in my work was that I would never trivialize other people's misery in any way, shape or form. It was so important to me because of that, that I couldn't go on a set without having read the paper that day and found out some of the things that were happening. So, it was like a moral factor in our show. Really, what we were talking about was all of the character styles that get screwed up in life because people are not attentive to each other enough. I'll just tell you it was a great experience to do that show over the years that we did it, because it was so intense and everything that was going on in the world was part of it. That's pre-9/11 and so much has happened since then.

UGO: It seems that society sometimes makes celebrities of serial killers. What is it about evil that people find so fascinating?

LANCE: The fascination is the sheer terror of it, like when you see a science fiction film. What it's doing is dealing with something in a way that you can accept it. Like when they do science fiction, they don't have red blood, they have green or some other off color blood. You can deal with that but it's very difficult to deal with the real thing. I think science fiction gives people a chance to sit in a theater and deal with their fears. That's my take on it anyway. I just think that making a celebrity out of these guys is a very bad idea.

UGO: Looking back, what made the show work for its run and why do you think it didn't have more longevity?

LANCE: I think everything has it's own life span. One of the reasons that it went off the air was because a guy came over from the Comedy Network to run Fox television and he wanted comedies and he took a lot of the dramas off the air. Then, he was gone six months later, so it's just history. You can never tell why this stuff happens, but that's one of the reasons.

UGO: You received high critical praise for playing Frank Black. What do you miss most about the character?

LANCE: There was an even keel about Frank Black, with a kind of dignity and I really enjoyed that part of him. He was a guy who had a very strong sense of morality about his family and a kind of non-judgmental thing even about people who were mentally (unstable)... you have to get people like that off the street. You also have to understand that the human mind is a very complex thing and he was very non-judgmental about that. That's the only way he could work. I thought it was a really interesting feeling to play him and I felt proud of it. I got nominated every year for a Golden Globe and I felt the character had so much humility in him that I was really always hoping that I would never get it, because I didn't want to get up there and make a speech.

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That was just wonderful.

Thank you for bringing us this interview, Joe.

It's relaxing just reading his words sometimes....

Oh, and BTW, what's the scene in your avatar? I can't make it out clearly.

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Guest ___ L@the_of_Heaven___
DVD Review

Lance Henriksen Interview

Video Gallery

Very nice Joe! I didn't know that about the guy from the Comedy channel being hired by Fox just long enough to lose MillenniuM. Very interesting...

How many, many great shows have been lost due to this frivolous kind of thing...

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Guest betweenthelines
The Millennium storylines were often reflections of real life at the time, like in the third season's "Closure" and the Hollywood bank robbery episode. What did those social messages give you as an actor?

"Hollywood bank robbery?" I don't remember an episode about a bank robbery in Season 3, or the other two for that matter.

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