Armageddon Expo 2011 Interview: Lance Henriksen


For the first time the Armageddon Expo headed to Adelaide, Australia bringing with them some big names and I was there, to bring you all the excitement! A great time was had, the guests were fantastic and they took some time out to have a chat with me over the weekend.

Henriksen-1Lance Henriksen: I’m rearing to go tomorrow and Sunday for the show, we’re gonna be entertaining everybody.

Marcella: It’s the first time Armageddon has come to Adelaide.

LH: Oh really, wow that’s fantastic. We’re going to have to have a great time then!

MP: What can you see us about Tron: Uprising?

LH: Wow. That is going to be a really good quality show.

MP: I saw the trailer for it last night, wow!

LH: Oh, did you like it?

MP: I loved it, I’m a huge Tron fan! I was excited to see you were a part of the voice cast for it.

LH: Oh yes, it will be fun. I loved it, the voice over thing is a whole new world for me. I liked it. I play a General in it, the leader of the bad guys.

MP: So you’ve got a real juicy role then?

LH: Yeah, it’s juicy (laughs), at least I get to do something with it. We did the pilot last year and now it’s actually happening.

MP: Did you see the new film Tron: Legacy?

LH: Yes I did, I thought it was great.

MP: What else are you working on that you can tell us about?

LH: Yes there are two major things, one is I have written a book – a biography. It is not like a snobby biography at all, it’s something I’ve sort of had to do to get all this information I have accumulated over the past half a century out there.

MP: Just wow!

LH: Yeah (laughs). I have gathered some great cartoonists/artists from around the States to do drawings for it. And also I got an Aussie guy that lives in Perth called Ashley Wood who is a real great artist, he’s going to be doing something for the book. I wanted to do something for it rather than just have photographs from my movies. Have something more fun and at least to me much more interesting. Also I have a movie I’m doing called Ambush, we have shot the first thing from it. We did the first opening scene which was about a 20 minute fight. That was really, really good. I get to see that when I get home.

MP: That already sounds awesome.

LH: It does, doesn’t it? I have been very busy.

MP: Good for us here that you had some time to come and visit Australia and attend Armageddon.

LH: I gotta tell you something, if someone offers me to chance to come down and visit Australia, I’m there. Absolutely. I’ve been here before, I did a movie up in Atherton, the Tablelands it was years ago now. You guys called it Escape From Absolom, with Ray Liotta, it was a really fun movie. It was about a prison colony.

MP: That’s always fun!

LH: (laughs) Yeah, you know it was great, I was here for four months doing that. I couldn’t wait to get back here. I also did another one, it was an all-Aussie production it was called Message From Fallujah it was done in Sydney, we won the Los Angeles Short Film Festival with it. The director Richard Gibson is a really terrific guy, he’s still here and he’s going to be one of your big directors some day. No doubt about it.

MP: There’s a lot of talent coming out of Australia.

LH: Oh yeah for sure. Oh you know what, I forgot to tell you the title of my book.

MP: I am excited to know!

LH: It’s called Not Bad For A Human.

MP: That’s awesome, I love that!

LH: (laughs) Good, I know I am on the right track.

MP: I recently saw a film you did with director Don Coscarelli called Survival Quest, I fell in love with this film. What was it like to make the film and work with Coscarelli?

LH: You know there’s proof I can play a good guy (laughs). For Coscarelli’s movie we really worked our hearts out.

MP: It shows, believe me.

LH: Yeah, we were up in the Sierra’s doing that film and we were up there for a month and sleeping in tents and little cheap motels that were sprinkled along the mountains. You know my favorite story about Coscarelli was he had us in a river and we were freezing, and he had us hanging from ropes in the trees and all kinds of difficult stuff. And I finally got to do a payback, I went to a bait store and I bought almost like $50 worth of crickets, live crickets (both laugh).

And when Coscarelli went to bed that night, I found out which room he was in and I poured a couple of tubes of crickets in through his window (laughs) and suddenly the room was full of live crickets jumping all over the place. Then he changed rooms, thinking that it was just some natural occurrence. And I got him again, I put all the rest of the crickets in his new room and there was no other room he could go to, so he had to stay there (laughs). Coscarelli didn’t even know about that until like six months ago when I talked to him and told him it was me.

MP: Did he forgive you for it?

LH: Of course he did (laughs), I got him back for the all pain he caused me.

MP: It looked like it would have been a very grueling shoot.

LH: Yeah it was, and I really like the guy he’s such a great guy.

MP: I am glad I found the film, it was great and you were great in it you played a good character.

LH: Aww thank you so much. I loved playing that guy, he really was a decent guy.

MP: Do any other characters come to mind as being memorable to you?

LH: Yeah that is a tough question, every film and character is such an adventure. It all has to do with the experience of the film, the people involved, that is how I grade a movie. How we all got along, how the experience was for me. I do have several films that I look back on as my favorites, you know like working with everyone that was in Aliens and Near Dark. I also loved Powder that was another movie that I really enjoyed making, I loved the character that I was playing, so I was happy about that.

There is quite a few, I might bore you to death with them all (laughs). What happens is you really remember the adventures of it, and you know I normally don’t go see a movie that I am in. You know what I mean, I don’t go see the dallies or go see them. So it’s the memory of it that I think about.

MP: Yes, you remember them as the experiences.

LH: Yeah that’s right, and with Aliens I made so many friendships that have carried on through life, so it’s great.

MP: I love Aliens.

LH: (laughs) Happy to hear that.

MP: At the last Armageddon in Melbourne I had the opportunity to meet Michael Biehn and he scribbled all over my Aliens DVD.

LH: That’s cool! Yes, when Michael Biehn signs it, you can’t really read it, it’s like a hieroglyphic.

MP: Yes I can see my name (laughs).

LH: Yeah right, you can see your name and then da da da of his hieroglyph (laughs).

MP: There’s no room for any more autographs on there, I’ve got Near Dark though you can sign that for me instead (laughs).

LH: I’d love to do that for you. You know I am still in touch with all those guys, including Tim Thomerson who is a really great guy.

MP: Do you ever look back on experiences that weren’t so pleasant or do you tend to just put those behind and move on?

LH: Yes those experiences just tend to fade away. If I had a bad experience it fades away. In other words you know I don’t think we’d have any children if woman and mother’s remembered the pains that go with childbirth. You forget the pain and remember the positive. It ends up being of no interest to me, things that went wrong, they just fall into their natural state.

MP: I love that, such a great way to look at things.

LH: Thank you, it really is.

MP: I’ve got a nice ridiculous question for you.

LH: Shoot, I want to hear it.

MP: Who would win in a fight Pumpkinhead or Alien?

LH: (laughs) Nice. I do think the alien would. I think Pumpkinhead, even though he was a fairly fierce creature, he is not a survival type, not like the alien. The alien is so perversely survival orientated, he doesn’t have the survival instincts of the alien. You know our human brain has different sections to it, at the very core of it the first perception that probably came along was a reptilian sense. I always thought that the alien had that reptilian sense of survival. Very great and powerful, that’s what got me about it. When I first saw the first one that Ridley Scott had done I was so shocked by how metaphorically perfect that vision of the alien was. Just amazing.

MP: Yes, there’s a reason I think the alien characters have had that lasting power.Henriksen-2

LH: They are unrelenting.

MP: And they have lasted past Aliens obviously, we had a few more other films and you returned to AVP.

LH: Yeah, exactly. And you know you could see the Pumpkinhead creature was so rural. It was rural in it’s rural image of a town, you know what I mean, he was made more out of Pumpkin than he was you know (laughs).

MP: Thank you so much for your time today Lance, we appreciate it so much.

LH: Thanks for your interest and support of Armageddon, we have a great time doing it. It will only get better and better.

MP: Thank you so much!

The interview continued over the weekend, where Lance talked to us exclusively about his book.

MP: Thanks for having a follow up chat with us Lance, can you tell us more about your book?

LH: It is coming out on May 5th, it is coming out as a limited edition first and then it will get a very wide release from Nashville, Tennessee. The limited editions will have the great artwork that I told you about. I did it because I didn’t want a snobby book, I wanted something that people could relate to. So instead of a bunch of movie pictures we got artists doing their favorite movie. So you can just imagine what that’s going to look like. Really wonderful.

MP: It will be amazing.

LH: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It is in the process, the book is already written, but we’re lining up how we want to the book to look, those kind of things, it takes time. Very excited about it. The real story is, the real story about me is that I’ve gone from a guy with three years of grammar school and I couldn’t even read till I was thirty. There are a lot of things that could have happened in my life, because of my background and where I came from. So I could have ended up insane or in prison or dead but instead I’m an actor and I have a career. Doesn’t mean that I was ready to do crimes, I don’t mean it that way. But you never know.

MP: It’s the path that you followed, I think it is possible to for anyone to end up following a path that might not be so wise.

LH: It was almost like it was out of my hands as to where I was headed. And here I am now, I’ve made like 200 movies.

MP: Yes, I’ve seen a lot of them.

LH: Yay! I hope you’ve liked them.

MP: Love them.

LH: I love this work, I really do. I am so happy to be able to come to Adelaide and Australia and meet the fans. I think of my life as in I’ve never had a Neighborhood, so it feels like now I have this expanded Neighborhood that covers the world. No matter where I go, people seem to know who I am and they are all very friendly people. I’m not a snob to anyone.

MP: You put a face to your audience.

LH: Yeah and you make a connection, and it’s very relaxed too. I’m always very relaxed about it all. So yeah the book took about a year to write, with another writer. It has turned out really well, I’m proud of it. The danger of writing a biography is that if people don’t like it then you assume that they don’t like you (laughs).

MP: Not always the case.

LH: No, but I am not worried.

MP: You are definitely keeping busy.

LH: Yeah, well I was contacted by Dubai where I’ve got a year contract with Toshiba to do ads, so there is that. I just finished being the Droid voice for Verizon. So yes I have been very busy with that stuff too. I’ve also done a lot of video games, and now with Tron.

MP: I can’t wait.

LH: Yeah, it wont be long now, I am very excited. And when I go back I’ll be working on the movie Ambushed, I told you about earlier.

MP: Yes, the opening 20 minute fight scene! I’ll be glued to the screen for that.

LH: (laughs) Oh yeah that’s good. And you know the reason for the fight is very good. You’ll see!

MP: I’ll definitely be waiting for it now!

LH: (Picks up his bookmark from Not Bad For A Human) This quote on the back of this bookmark, the story of this is Central City, Colorado. Julie Harris was doing a play called Lark, and I wasn’t in the theater or anything but everybody came out, and I went back in there with them during the intermission as I didn’t have enough money for the ticket. And there was this guy, the lights come up and I’m standing in the back and the first thing the guy does is he eats a raw onion and somebody else comes on and says ‘What are you doing?’ and he says back ‘I’m eating my fucking breakfast’ and I thought ‘Oh shit he just cursed’ and the audience laughed and I went ‘Oh my God, that’s what I’d love to be doing’. You know to be able to be free. And that got me thinking about acting. I was only sixteen at the time. Anyway that’s what that quote is about.

MP: I’m sure there is a lot of excitement about the book.

LH: Yes, that’d be good (laughs). It is going to be so much fun.

MP: Will you be touring once it is released?

LH: Yes, first in the States and then I’ll go to Europe. I’m going to Germany in April so…

MP: Let’s make sure it gets to our Aussie shores (laughs).

LH: Of course, I’ll be back. I might end up coming to Melbourne.

MP: That’s where I live.

LH: I have a friend in Melbourne, a really good actor who is a martial artist friend of mine, Richard Norton.

MP: He’s great.

Henriksen-3LH: Yeah, he’s a great man. I know him and his wife they are wonderful. I really want to do a movie with Richard, because when we’re together the chemistry is there. We become absolutely hilarious. We’re so different and we have all this fun together.

MP: That works!

LH: Yeah, it’d be a buddy movie. Take it to Cambodia, Thailand, we’d have a lot of fun. I would love to do that. I want to do a comedy so bad (laughs). I don’t think I’m funny, I think situations are very funny.

MP: Comedy can be difficult to pull off.

LH: (laughs) Not in my life, my life is hilarious. But you know if I can relate to something I’ll do it. I really can’t wait to see how the book has turned out. We’ve got two publishers, one is Bloody Pulp (Steve Niles) and the other one is called Alexander Henriksen Publishing in Nashville.

MP: I can’t wait, I’m excited. Thanks for chatting with us again!

LH: Thank you very much, it was a pleasure to speak with you again.

Again huge thanks to Lance for taking the time out to chat with us, it was a real pleasure to meet him and spend some time with him over the Armageddon weekend. We definitely enjoyed having him as a guest and I hope many other fans get the chance to meet Lance in the near future.

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