Henry Rollins Talks He Never Died


With only small supporting roles up until his latest film, He Never Died, former Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins can now chalk up lead actor to his already impressive resume, and he was gracious enough to give us a few minutes of his time to discuss the role and his future endeavors.  Settle in and enjoy!

The film is receiving a day-and-date theatrical/VOD release on December 18th from Vertical Entertainment.

DC: Can you tell us a little about the film as well as your character, Jack?

HR: He Never Died basically chronicles the life of Jack in modern day. Jack has been alive for centuries, and the reason why I will not disclose because you really should see it for yourself. However, he’s been alive for centuries and centuries, and instead of being just a generic entity that cannot die, Jack is bored of life because it is mundane, and one of the things that attracted me to the film is the idea of eternity. You and I and almost everyone else thinks of their life in finite terms – we think of retirement and savings – “When I turn 65, I’m going to…” But what if all that was taken off the table? What would your expectation of every single thing you do be? You’d better do it now or what, I’m going to die? Part of the existential situation that Jack is in is played very well, and the screenplay was written by a very smart guy (Jason Crawczyk), which separates it from what you could have done with the plot line if a more generic mind had written up the idea. So Jack is a guy with incredible physical capabilities, but he’s bored with everything, and he wishes he could be somewhat mortal so he could be done with everything.

Henry Rollins

DC: What was the point for you when you looked at the script and said, “Oh yeah, I’ve got to do this!“?

HR: I read it when I was in New York doing a run of shows at the end of 2012, and the woman who runs my life and the office, Heidi, emailed me the script and said, “Read this now; it’s amazing!”  I did what I was told, and I read it backstage and I started laughing, so I wrote her back and told her that I loved it and that I’d do it tomorrow. She then told me that both the director and producer were in New York and that they’d like to meet me, and I told her, “Done – book it.” The next day I met Jason Crawczyk and Zach Hagen, and I told them, “I don’t want to be rude right out of the box, but when I read this, I laughed – is that cool, or am I misreading this?” They thought it was great that I saw the humor because that was exactly what they were trying to put across, so I told them that I was in. So we made that deal on the strength of a handshake in a coffee place in the East Village within 10 minutes of me sitting down with them.

DC: With this being your first ever leading role, what did you see as the biggest challenge when making the film?

HR: For me, the biggest challenge was trying to remember that Jack is the master of being deadpan because almost every single human experience is boring to him, just because of the sheer repetition, and that he’s been in nearly every major war, he’s done time in major penitentiaries, and everything he does had an air of resignation – from violence to dining to conversation – basically every single aspect of the guy is treated with Novocaine and Botox – he’s not inert, he’s just not. I wanted that to play in conversation and in any physical action, especially violence.  That’s the preparation that I did, and it took a lot because you have to fight every human emotion that you have when you’re being attacked not to lunge and fight forcefully with an intense look on your face, and that was a great deal of my preparation.


DC: Tell us a bit about the filming – it looks like a lot of those scenes got pretty physical.

HR: Yeah – you’re absolutely right – we had a lot of fights on a lot of days, and there was one moment I remember in the film where I was not in the shot, and I had at least 2 hours alone in my trailer, which was incredible. Bottom line was when I was in it, I’m getting thrown around or I’m throwing someone else around, so what we did days before we started filming was I worked out with a stunt team – a male and female, and we all worked very hard on everything we were going to do, and then on different days we work with our actors in rehearsal because these will be some unorthodox fights, and they can’t understand that they can’t kill me, so my body language is going to be different. So we had to break in the other actors that how Jack fights will be a little different, and it will go against bare instincts – all of my opponents in the movie can’t understand what’s going on, and I simply stare at them, so they had to play that, and I had to play it too.

DC: You’ve acted, written, and produced… so, when will we all be able to see something that says “Directed by Henry Rollins”?

HR: Quite honestly, I’m not interested in directing – I’ve been around a lot of directors, and I just don’t understand how anyone directs, in that it’s a skill that is so amazing to me, I’m kind of in awe of the director. When I see a film, I rarely see it for the actor – I usually see it because of who’s directing because I just can’t understand how David Fincher makes a movie.  He’s just so damn good… They just think differently, and I don’t – however, I do have a screenplay, and that film is finished.  I could see writing more, but I don’t think you’d want me as a director, as I think I’d give you a very boring, pedantic film.

DC: Lastly, after the release of this film, what can we expect to see from you in the future?

HR: I’d like to do more work as Jack in any kind of He Never Died thing that would come next, and while nothing is in concrete, there is a great deal of ambition being put towards making this more than just a one-time thing, and if more was to come of that, are you kidding? I would run at it, full speed!  But for myself, I’ve got another film to shamelessly promote in Europe and go all around the world with next year, and I have a bunch of speaking dates all over starting in a week. I’m also working on a few different books, and some acting and voiceover stuff coming up in the next several weeks.




Sign up for The Harbinger a Dread Central Newsletter