Tuesday, October 16, 2007
A Monster Cast Interview: Lennie James
What can I say about the wonderfully talented Lennie James? He acts, he writes, and he sings. And, he took time for this interview for Jericho fans. Thanks, Lennie, we love you.
1. Who is Lennie James and why is he an actor?
I am the youngest son of Phyllis Mary James and I'm an actor
because a very cute girl I was keen on wanted to be an actress. I
followed her into an audition, got the gig and the rest as they say...is
2. You are the perfect Robert Hawkins. How did you get the role?
I got the role in the conventional way...I auditioned, they
liked me for it, they offered me the gig, I said yes...
3. You are not only a talented actor, but a talented writer. Has your
role on Jericho inspired you creatively in other projects?
If I'm honest, no. I try as much as I can to keep those two
separate. I don't act as a writer and don't write as and actor. Where
they are linked, I suppose, is in how they are inspired. Both my writing
and acting are inspired by my own emotional DNA, my life experience and
the lives of others that I come into contact with. I am a big people
watcher and analyser. Actors have to be. It's our job.
4. When were you bitten by the acting bug?
It was some time after I followed the 'cute girl' into that
audition. It probably wasn't until my second year of drama school. By
that time I'd began to figure out what I was doing and began to have
real ambition. I began to realise what it was I enjoyed about acting and
how to be good at it. That is still my ambition...to be good at what I
5. Do you find yourself putting any of your own personality into
Hawkins, and in what ways do you feel that the two of you are alike?
We are both the same height, although he thinks he's taller.
All actors use themselves in the creation of their characters. As I
said, all we have in reality is our own emotional DNA and history to
work with. A lot is made of actors who play characters a million miles
from who they really are. I think, in the main, that is mostly smoke and
mirrors. It's guys making what we do harder than it needs to be so they
can feel unique or special or whatever. So much of the actor’s job is
done by the writer in creating the character and placing him/her in the
particular situation in the story being told. The actor’s job is to be
true to that and not put too much in the way. I'm not saying that acting
is easy, it's not, but at it's best...when you're in the groove, it is
simple or at least it should be.
6. You and April Parker have so much chemistry on screen. What is it
like working with her?
Working with April is a good example of staying true to the
story and characters and not getting in the way. She is the most
wonderfully honest actress. There is no pretence or guff about her. We
barely discuss our scenes before hand. We just love seeing what we come up with by doing it. We know who we are to each other, what's going on
and what each of our characters want. Armed with that and someone as
great as April it's...simple and a joy and has been from day one. With
April at my side I'd tackle Chemistry and quantum physics!
7. What do you most enjoy about working on Jericho?
That what I've got with April is repeated again and again with
other cast members. That our crew is, without doubt, the best crew I've
ever worked with. That Jericho is a great place to go to work. Now I
know I'm supposed to and am expected to say that. Would I ever say the
opposite? Well probably not. But neither would I say it if it weren't
true. I'd say what I like most about Jericho is my character or living
and working in LA or Skeet’s smile. There is truth in all of these, but
above all are the people I get to work with. They rock!
8. Are you doing any writing now? Plays?
I'm always writing. I've discovered that I'm a storyteller and
that the way I tell my stories are through acting and writing. I have a
play growing in my head at the moment, but I'm writing a TV series at
9. What's next for you? What would you like to do that you haven't done?
I'm back in London for a month or so to shoot a movie. It's a
screen adaptation of a play I did at the Royal Court in London some
years back. I play a police officer who has to return to the housing
estate (project) he grew up on to investigate the killing of a 16 year
out boy. The dead boy like the officer could have been voted 'most
likely to make it out of the estate'. He's another complicated man
fighting with himself and everyone around him. I love playing him.
I've never done a days work or played a guy that I didn't want to go
back and do it/play him better. So I like to do that...and maybe do a
role where I get to sing.
10. What would you say to someone to get them to tune into Jericho for
the first time?
I'd tell them Skeet Ulrich is in it. He is an actor’s actor, a
great leading man and a joy to work with. His friendship is another one
of the gifts I've got from Jericho.
Oh, and I'd tell a first-timer that Jericho has nothing else that like
it on TV. If that's your thing then this'll be your thing.
11. Hawkins obviously cares very deeply about his family. From a
father's point of view, what kind of thoughts and feelings do you have
about the relationships Hawkins is trying to rebuild with his children,
the fact he has to go to such great lengths to protect them, and the
things they have been exposed to as a result of his role in the
I can't quite figure out this question let alone an answer to
Any comment you might like to make?
Only to say again a big thank you to our fans, not just saving our show,
but for rewarding us with such a high accolade.