Lance Henricksen is a bona fide legend. From his work in Near Dark, Aliens, The Terminator, and his popular TV series “Millennium,” he’s been there and done that onscreen. But did you know he’s also the author of two books, a regular on the convention circuit, and an accomplished potter?
It’s a wonder he had time to chat with us, but we are grateful. We recently caught up with Lance to discuss one of his many new movies, Monday at 11:01 AM , which is a bit different for him because we never, ever see his legs – read on to find out why.
The film is directed by Harvey Lowry, who got his start in special effects, having run a successful company and working in the effects department on such blockbusters as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Watchmen. When we asked Lance if his and Harvey’s paths had ever crossed before, Lance said, “I didn’t know Harvey before, and actually we live in the same town, a very little town. I met him on the set, and he’s very, very good because he sets the climate and he knows… he and Charles [Agron, the writer and lead actor], they really have their heads together and figured out how they wanted to shoot this and had a great DP too so it really was a wonderful experience. I’m talking about how it feels to be [on set]… sets are all different so it’s an adventure. When you have a set that is so well functioning and creative, I felt like we really did some good work.”
Since Agron had dual roles serving behind the camera and in front, we asked Lance about the dynamics of that. “I think he realized very quickly that it would serve him very well to stay free because as an actor you can’t sit there and nitpick the other actor, you know what I mean? It would drive you crazy. It turned out really great because he surrendered, he surrendered to being the actor rather than being the writer, and he did it very well. I was blown away by that… of course the temptation is going to be there for a writer to say, ‘…what I meant by it was…’ but really, it never happened once, and I thought it took amazing courage for him to do that, to just surrender.”
Now to the reason we never see Lance’s legs: He’s a bartender, and not once in the film does he leave his station. We were curious to know what attracted him to such a, well, stationary role. “To answer your question, there’s something about bartenders; they’re facilitators, enablers, psychiatrist, exploiter — and I thought it’s a wonderful role because it parallels the theme of the story, which is [the main character is] moving on and doesn’t know it. He has to move on.”
He added, “I like playing a character that doesn’t judge anybody, he simply goes through it with them, he’s a facilitator. When I read it, I got that; and I thought wow, no matter what, like a writer if he’s acting it, he shouldn’t be thinking about the writing. I’m an actor, and I don’t really think about the overall of the movie. I think of the themes, but I have no control over any of the rest of the film. So I have to surrender too and just do my job, which is I really got into it; I really liked it.”
But still, we wondered, was it at all frustrating to stay in the same mode? How did he bring some life to the character? “I came up with a few things. There was a moment in the story that I thought, ‘He has to know at this moment, this particular moment, that he can’t die,’ so I got a collapsible knife and stabbed him a few times… and told him, ‘You see, people don’t die here.’ It was wonderful, and they went for it; they liked the idea and did it.”
He mentioned the DP, and we agreed – Emmanuel Vouniozos did a great job. “He was excellent; he really was excellent. Of course, I would rather have beauty lighting; they kept making me look like a monster.” We joked at his female costar, Briana Evigan, got it ALL. “Yeah, Briana looked like the most beautiful temptress in the world, and I looked like I just got unfrozen from an iceberg.”
You can see Lance in Monday at 11:01 AM (review forthcoming) when it comes out in theaters on February 5, 2016. (Or iTunes now, if you like.) If you’d also like to see Lance himself, “I have two signings coming up at conventions, one in Dallas and one in Seattle, and then that will be the last of it because there won’t be any more books.” The book he is referring to is the amazing limited edition hardcover biography on his life, Not Bad For a Human, co-written with Joe Maddrey.
“I love Joe Maddrey; he’s a good man. He’s got a new baby, and he’s a really hard working writer; he’s put out two books since we’ve done [our book together]. We also did a comic book during the last two years for Dark Horse; it’s called To Hell You Ride, and it’s a Native American kind of story. We’ve been friends a long time, and what makes me happy is that we sell the books and we split it right down the middle, and he buys another baby bottle. We were hoping somewhere along the line somebody would pick it up and [do another printing], but you know, I’m not a businessman. I make pottery when I’m not acting. When I’m not working, I’m down in my shop, my studio.”
But when’s he not working? In addition to a shipload of films in post-production, he’s just completed his first full-on comedy, called Morning Son. “You know, the acting muscle has gotten stronger, and I really feel like I’m thriving on it. I love working, I love people, and I especially love actors. I mean, when we work, it’s that special moment… when that camera rolls, it’s creativity of another kind.”
This suspense thriller stars Charles Agron as Michael and Lauren Shaw as Jenny, a young couple who find themselves in a beautiful, yet eerie mountain town where everyone seems strangely familiar. While Jenny busies herself in the small antique shops – Michael wanders into the local watering hole. The bartender (Lance Henriksen) dares Michael to check out Olivia (Briana Evigan), a sultry brunette in the corner. After a drink, Michael takes him up on the offer and moves to sit next to her. The two begin an ominous flirtation with Olivia slipping him her phone number.
Michael and Jenny decide to stay overnight at the dimly lit and aging hotel. During the night Michael is jolted out of bed when he hears frantic screams from another room. When he calls the front desk for help, he is met with cold indifference. No one believes him, including Jenny. As his hallucinations become more real through a series of horrific events, Michael finds himself desperately trying to walk the line between reality and the terror that awaits him.