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
the rest.

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
the moment.

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
it. Sorry.

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.





openminded1 said...

Thank you Mr. James for sharing your love for the stage and screen with us. Great talent such as yourself makes it easy for the fans to turn new viewers on to this show.

I absolutely can not wait to see the next 7 episodes, and hopefully many more to come. Your skill and genuine appreciation of your fans is a breath of fresh air in the entertainment industry.

Proud to be a fan.



terocious said...

Thank You Mr James,

As a fan I love your Character.
As an actor I love your moments.

Skeeterbit said...

Last fall I would have said who in the heck is Lennie James? Now I'm a enormous,committed fan. Love Skeet, but Jericho would not be Jericho without Mr. James.

Sir, you've made a fan for life. I hope to watch you on Jericho for many seasons to come, but if not, I will certainly be following your career. You're incredible. Thank you so much for sharing your talent with us.

Denise, Nashville TN

Skeeterbit said...

Oh, yeah! I bounce if you're hiring! LOL

Vicki said...

Thank you so much for sharing you story with us!!! I have really enjoyed getting to know you a little better and looking forward to seeing some of your other work.

My favorite though, I think will always be Hawkins!

Hawkins ROCKS - Jericho ROCKS

and Lennie, you definitely ROCK!!!

Vicki :-) fan in Texas

Balceroregontr said...

Wow,what a great interview. Mr. James was so nice to talk to us the fans. I am more intrigued by him. I will follow his career with interest. I love the relationship between him and Darcy. Can't wait for season 2 and then season 3 and beyond.
Debby from SC

kystorms said...

Superb interview Jane, truly awesome. I cant wait to tell my oldest girl, she is a HUGE hawkins fan
Thanks for doing it, it was fun to read.

kestral said...

Jericho would not be the same without Robert Hawkins. Robert Hawkins would not be the same without Lennie James. The mystery and intrigue surrounding Hawkin's was what kept me tuning in week after week. Mr. James has played that role to perfection. Thank you, Mr. James, for taking the time to respond with the interview. It means a lot to us Jericho Junkies! Best wishes on all of your endeavors outside the world of Jericho.

ccpdppr said...

Wow, what a great interview. Thanks to both of you for doing it. I love hearing what the actors (and others) actually think and how they got to be be where they are.

erika said...

Thank you Jane and thank you Mr. Lennie James for this entertaining interview. He's funny in print too!

LisiBee said...

Excellent interview, thank you Jane! And thank you Mr. James, for taking time out of your busy schedule to connect with the fans. You are truly a class act, sir. Best of luck in the future, and I'm eagerly awaiting the return of Hawkins on my TV screen. :)

Welcome2CHO said...

What an honor and privilege, Mr. James, to have you speak directly to us re: your love of the show, crew and fans. Your talents are incredible, and I can't imagine anyone else having the ability to so magnificently portray a complex character like Hawkins.

I also appreciate your kind words about Skeet Ulrich. For fans, it validates what we imagine him to be. And it confirms that you are the kind of person who probably inspires and receives the same affection and respect from your fellow castmates. Thank you very much!

Easley, SC

auntvonna said...

Wow Jane, you keep outdoing yourself! An a very humble and sincere thanks to you Mr. James! You are a phenomenal actor and I was familiar with your incredible work long before Jericho. You rock as well! I hope you are the next Dr. Who!


Rich said...

Well done Jane; James is great interview to boot.

sarah said...

Thank you for being so honest and giving the fans some insight into your character and your personal feelings. It is quite obvious from my perspective that the cast and crew have really bonded, and I'm glad that you have such a fun time on the show. I too love Skeet's smile ;)