September 8, 2005
Ripley’s Believe It or Not: Wherein Josh Jabcuga shares some quality time with Lance Henriksen, star of ALIENS, NEAR DARK, and Fox’s cult TV favorite MILLIENNIUM, who discusses meeting H.R. Giger early in his career, rights of manhood, Picasso, and the creation of his ALIENS VS. PREDATOR-themed ceramic tiles in conjunction with Sideshow Collectibles.
“Someone found the future as a statue in a fountain at/
attention looking backward in a pool of water wishes with/
a blue songbird on his shoulder who keeps singing over everything/
everything means nothing to me/
I picked up the song and found my picture in the paper the/
Reflection in the water showed an iron man still trying to/
Salute people from a time when he was everything he’s supposed to be/
Everything means nothing to me.”
(“Everything Means Nothing to Me” sung by the late Elliott Smith)
Josh Jabcuga, Squib Central @ www.moviepoopshoot.com: As far as your artistic upbringing…was your family…?
Lance Henriksen: It’s very interesting you ask that ‘cause I didn’t go to college. I didn’t even go to high school. But my grandfather was really, he had like ten kids and he painted his whole life so I was always surrounded by art. And then when I was sixteen I left…I left home pretty young but I started painting murals and traveling, but it was all on guts alone. And over the years what happens is you…if you’re trying to be an artist you run into other people who are further along than you are, but they always are generous. I mean I’ve never met an artist that’s not generous. If he isn’t generous then he’s probably no good anyway. You know, because, the whole thing about art is unless you give it away, it dries up. Everything you put out there comes back to you tenfold. I mean there’s no doubt about it.
Josh Jabcuga: Who were some of your artistic influences?
Lance Henriksen: Oh God, there’s so many. I mean, for different reasons, like, I mean, every.... You know what it really was, too? Most of the artists, like Picasso, of that era, you know, Picasso’s era, where you have Modigliani and all those guys in Paris in the 20s, that was a very radical era. And remember, my true youth was in the 60s, so we were radical too. You know, we had a lot of stuff going on. So all the contemporaries, they didn’t have heroes. We didn’t look at other artists and go, “That’s my hero.” We were trying to make ourselves the hero. “I wanna make my statement.” You know, so it’s a different thing. When I see the struggle in the artist, like Picasso even said, “The apples could be fifty times more beautiful, but all I see in them is the anxiety, the power of the anxiety.” And what I’m trying to get at is that art, like what I do on the tiles, or what somebody does in a painting, it’s meant to be used, to be taken, take that idea. Like I love (Edvard) Munche because he was so, he’s Scandinavian, and I understood that, you know, that Midsummer’s Night thing, where there’s no dark, you know, and it’s a crazy world and he’s got it. It’s right there; you can see it. And who doesn’t like him?
There’s a lot of wonderful artists but as I got older, I love things like Giger’s work. I mean, an ironic thing has happened to me: all the arts have now come to movies. You have great sculptors, you have musicians, you have writers, all these incredible artists have come to the entertainment industry, and I’m surrounded by it all the time. So it has become more of a…sort of a way of life that you have to believe in the music that’s in you and try anything. Don’t be afraid to try anything.
Josh Jabcuga: What do you see when you look at your finished piece and what do you hope your fans and the critics will see?
Lance Henriksen: Really, you know, trying to make an artifact…an artifact for something that never really happened. You know, we made the movies, but this is a tangible artifact from that, like a step back from that. In other words, if you suddenly dug one of these up and said, “Oh my God, it’s an alien!” That feeling is kind of nice, and that we live with them. It’s meant to be like that.
Josh Jabcuga: Authentic.
Lance Henriksen: Yeah. Something authentic. Something more tangible than a glossy picture.
Josh Jabcuga: Have you spoken with Giger at all? Has he had any say in this project?
Lance Henriksen: I’ve had three opportunities to meet Giger. I met him, believe it or not, before I was an actor, in New York City. Uh, I wasn’t an actor, but he was having an exhibition there. And I walked in off the street. I just saw his paintings and walked in off the street. And there he was and I just said, “Man, these are…these are something. They’re different.” He was very generous and happy about it. But I gotta tell you, over the years now, to watch his development, this guy is an amazing artist.
Josh Jabcuga: He’s an icon himself.
Lance Henriksen: He sure is, yeah. But you only become an icon when you stay true to your sensitivities and act on them. It’s…you know, that’s the whole deal.
Josh Jabcuga: Do you listen to music while you’re creating your art? Do you have anything playing in the background?
Lance Henriksen: Yeah, I…you know, odd stuff. Like I like Indonesian, uh, you know, that bell music and their drums and all that stuff. I will listen to any kind of music as long as…it’s just meant to be an environment. I don’t listen to hard rock. I’m more into sounds than anything else.
Josh Jabcuga: Ambient?
Lance Henriksen: Yeah, but not like elevator music.
Josh Jabcuga: Right. Not Muzak.
Lance Henriksen: Right. But I do love, uh, I like African music, I mean I like really kinda esoteric, tribal stuff, ‘cause to me, I’m still looking for my…probably will ‘til the day I die, but I’m looking for sorta rights of manhood. What are we meant to do? How do I feel those feelings? I can’t go hunt a lion down with a spear, but I have the urge. And so that’s I think what art is about for me. It’s…I’m into acting because I’m not very fond of authority for its own sake. I love doing what I do because I don’t have to answer to an authority. Not even when I’m working. And I’m into the arts for almost rights of manhood kinda thing.
Josh Jabcuga: You mentioned how Giger was generous to you. Do you have any advice for up and coming artists?
Lance Henriksen: Sure.
Josh Jabcuga: What would you say to up and coming artists?
Lance Henriksen: I just think the most important thing is to work until you become obsessed and that’s where it all begins. Once you’re obsessed, once you know you’re obsessed, that’s when your work really is beginning. You’re gonna find your way once the obsession…you know that you’re obsessed. Nobody can lie about it. It is as haunting as…it puts you into such a state of longing as if it were a drug. And so that’s the answer.
Josh Jabcuga: Thank you so much. It’s really been an honor meeting you and having this opportunity to talk with you.
Lance Henriksen: Thank you Josh, for your interview.
Josh Jabcuga: It’s always great to meet artists like you.
Lance Henriksen: Thank you, buddy. Now I can have a cigarette. (Both laugh.)
Order Lance's fine art at www.sideshowcollectibles.com
Lance Henriksen Film Highlights:
DOG DAY AFTERNOON (1975, directed by Sidney Lumet, with Al Pacino) as FBI Agent Murphy;
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977, directed by Steven Spielberg) as Robert;
THE RIGHT STUFF (1983) as Wally Schirra;
THE TERMINATOR (1984, directed by James Cameron) as Detective Vukovich;
JAGGED EDGE (1985) as Frank Martin;
ALIENS (1986, directed by James Cameron) as Bishop;
NEAR DARK (1987, directed by Kathryn Bigelow) as Jesse Hooker;
PUMPKINHEAD (1989, directed by Stan Winston) as Ed Harley;
ALIEN3 (1992, directed by David Fincher) as Bishop II;
JENNIFER EIGHT (1992) as Sgt. Freddy Ross;
HARD TARGET (1993, directed by John Woo) as Emil Fouchon;
THE QUICK AND THE DEAD (1995, directed by Sam Raimi) as Ace Hanlon;
DEAD MAN (1995, directed by Jim Jarmusch, w/ Johnny Depp) as Cole Wilson;
MILLENNIUM (1996, TV Series created by X-Files’ Chris Carter) as main character Frank Black;
AVP: ALIEN Vs. PREDATOR (2004) as Charles Bishop Weyland;
INTO THE WEST (2005, TV miniseries executive produced by Steven Spielberg) as Daniel Wheeler.
Must-reads available at www.overlookconnection.com:
OFFSPRING by Jack Ketchum:
Also highly recommended, check out www.Twomorrows.com for:
SECRETS IN THE SHADOWS: THE ART & LIFE OF GENE COLAN by TOM FIELD:
Praise for the writing of Josh Jabcuga, who pens Squib Central with ink made from his own blood, published every Thursday, exclusively at www.moviepoopshoot.com:
"You’re a bad influence on them, I’ll tell you right now." -Max Cavalera, lead singer of Soulfly, former lead singer of Brazilian death metal icons Sepultura.
I read your article and you my dear are a true
ASSHOLE!!! Wonder how you landed your job, desperation???"-Angie (last name unknown; article mentioned...unknown).
“Josh Jabcuga can take the 26 measly letters of our crude alphabet and capture the bi-polar soul of all that is classically yet disturbingly American. Then, when his typewriter is left to cool, he can turn right around…completely ready to trounce any drunk punk that’s got me backed into a corner.” –The Colonel J.D. Wilkes of The Legendary Shack*Shakers.
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