March 27, 2011

Syfy Character with Lance Henriksen

Lance Henriksen stars with Lauren Holly in Scream of the Banshee, the 200th original Syfy movie. Scream of the Banshee follows the story of a college professor who opens a mysterious and ornate box discovered hidden in the tunnels under her university. After she and her students hear the horrifying scream of a bloodthirsty Banshee, they're all fated to die a strange and terrible death.

Ahead of Scream of the Banshee, TheDeadbolt spoke to Lance Henriksen on a recent conference call about working on the Syfy project, the film's setting in Louisiana, and working within his character. Interestingly, Henriksen also talked about his time on the former FOX series Millenium, the favorite Westerns of his career, and whether any creatures in his past films gave him nightmares.

THE DEADBOLT: How does it feel to be in Syfy's 200th original movie?

HENRIKSEN: That's pretty cool, man. I've always liked Syfy. They really try to do something. So I'm really happy about it buddy. It's coming on at a very great moment. I've got a biography coming out; it's called Not Bad for a Human. It's coming out May 5, on my birthday. So when you do something current like this and it comes out at the same time as your biography, it's that great timing thing that works out. But I'm happy. I'm really happy. I hope people like this. I think they will.

THE DEADBOLT: It looks reminiscent of Pumpkinhead, with the Southern setting. Did you get that feeling at all on set?

HENRIKSEN: Yes, it's a plantation. When I arrived down in Louisiana, it was this beautiful columned plantation house. It was really wacky. I mean, the whole yard was full of mannequins and the inside of the house was as eccentric as you can get. My favorite thing about it is that I'm playing a fired professor who is suicidal. He's toying with the suicide and putting it on video. He's a real eccentric.

As an actor, I like those character defects and to try to play them in an interesting way, because it's certainly been done. Defects of character have been done a lot in movies, and I really enjoy it. I enjoy the challenge. It's a little bit like trying to play Bishop after you had Rutger Hauer and other guys performing an android. How are you going to come up with your own? I found a way, but it wasn't being competitive. If you were trying to be competitive with those guys, you'd burn. You'd crash and burn.

THE DEADBOLT: How much leeway did you have with injecting your own style into the character?

HENRIKSEN: Well, my director just let me go. I told him what I wanted to do based on what I saw and what I read in the script. He just said, "Do it." The first thing I asked for, "What is the smallest gun I could use in the movie that could actually kill you?" Then they found it for me, so we started off on a great footing. Lauren Holly was wonderful in the movie. I got to smell her hair when I grabbed her around the neck.

Other Conference Call Highlights

Lance Henriksen and his experience on Millennium

"That was a three-year experience. We did 60 shows in three years. So that was a lot of shows. And working with Chris Carter and these great writers they had on it, I think we were a little ahead of our time. Chris doesn't think that, but I do, that it was going in a direction [where] a couple more years and we would have really made a mark a lot larger than we did. Even though some of those shows I was very, very proud of, at least half of them, it was tremendous amount of work. We're still thinking that we should do a movie. Even after all these years it would be amazing to do it.

"So much has happened since then. The crossover to The X-Files was to me a little odd, because when you think of all the things that happened since that problem with computers in 2000, that they wouldn't turn over, everybody was afraid and they were buying water. It was a crazy moment, but nothing happened. And then everything that's happened since, imagine what Millennium would do with all the things that are going on in the world right now. So it has the capacity to be a movie.

"But I loved doing it. It changed my life because the guy that I was playing was so much more educated and smarter than I was, so I had to live up to it. I learned a lot. I really did."

Henriksen on the favorite Western he's done

"There's been four of them; Appaloosa with Ed Harris. I loved playing Ring. Before that I did a movie called Gunfighter's Moon. One of my favorites of all time was with Jim Jarmusch, we did Dead Man. I was in that with Johnny Depp and all of that. I ride really well and I shoot a gun really well. I love the genre because I knew Rex Rossi, who was a guy that had been bought by Tom Mix to be in his Wild West show.

Lance Henriksen on past creatures from his films that he's dreamed about

The only one that's appeared in my dreams is the one from Aliens. Giger's version of that necromancy, it's almost like a tic. It's very, very much, somehow attacking our core, a reptilian core. That creature is something like a baby and tic combined. It's very frightening. It strikes that core, that unconscious core. That one, it scared the hell out of me. I mean it really did.

The only one I think I could beat, one at a time - if my life depended on it - would be the Predator. At least if it was in my territory, in my domain, with the guns that I've got, I think I could hurt him pretty bad. I mean, that's the only one though. The rest of them, when you get into metaphysical creatures, they don't play fair.

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