An iconic character actor with a flush resume, Lance Henriksen could book work on reputation and his gravelish voice alone, but for the last year and a half, the actor has somehow found a way to continue his hectic career in TV, film, and video games (like Mass Effect 3 and SEGA’s Aliens: Colonial Marines) while also pouring his passions into a new project that he first imagined two decades ago.
That project, To Hell You Ride, is a 5 part comic series from Dark Horse Comics that debuts today (12/12/12). Last week I had the opportunity to talk to Mr. Henriksen about ‘Hell’, how it came to be, and both the chances of a Millennium comic and an update on the potential movie.
What pulled you toward telling this story as a comic? Was it always meant to be a comic or did it start as something else?
Lance Henriksen: It started as a movie that I wrote twenty years ago and the script was lost. I got divorced at one point and the script got thrown away with a lot of the other stuff. You know how that goes… but anyway, when it came up with Mike Richardson down at Comic-Con, he just asked me “would I like to do a comic?” and because [Tom] Mandrake and Sienkiewicz and Eric Powell and all these guys had done drawings for me for my biography, I was aware of comics and I love these guys and I thought “Why not?”
I met Tom Mandrake at one of those conventions and I really liked the guy and he had done a drawing, a pumpkin head, for my biography and it was a great drawing. Then Joe Maddrey and I wrote the book together and worked together before and we all joined forces and Dark Horse agreed that we could work the way that we wanted to, which was staying in real great communication. It wasn’t just us turning in a script and Tom Mandrake drawing it.
What happened was, we decided that we wanted to talk all the time and write from the pencils all the way through to the finished product and we’ve been working on it for a year and a half. We have five issues coming out and three of them are done and we’ve got two more [to do] and by the time the third one comes out and onto the market, the other ones will be finished.
It’s a phenomenal adventure for me, man, because normally films are my thing and the restraint and the drama that has to be so specific in a comic — it’s been a great thing to learn and understand. These guys are talented, Mandrake does such dramatic work, it’s beautiful and it fits perfect with what our mythology is in our story.
Paramount Pictures has just picked up the rights to Clark Baker‘s short film Vessel, which is described as a combination of Alien, The Thing and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Now don’t that rather generic mish-mash turn you off because if you haven’t seen it already, the short film is really worth seeing. Scope it out via You Tube below:
Intrigued? I think there’s a bit of Millennium in their too, not the Lance Henrickson TV show, but the Kris Kristopherson movie of the same name. Maybe you can find it on Netflix. Anyway the above result, funded generously by investors via Kickstarter, shows that Baker has the skill and vision to make something interesting, and make it look good on a budget.
Stephen Susco, who wrote the American version of The Grudge, is currently penning the feature length screenplay, which will surely expand on the short’s alien invasion on a plane and skyjacking of the passengers plot line.
What do you Bastards think? Will you see the feature-length Vessel when/if it comes out?
During the height of The X-Files, Chris Carter created a companion show called Millennium, which was a kind of police procedural like the X-Files that mixed cases of the week with an overarching mythology, except in Millennium’s case the mythology was Y2K anxiety and not alien abductions. Heh. Y2K. Remember that madness?
Anyway, the series ran for three seasons ending in 1999 and was wrapped up in a crossover episode of The X-Files on, wait for it, New Year’s Eve ’99. So case closed, right?
Maybe not. Series star Lance Henricksen, while promoting his role in the TRON: Uprising animated series, talked about the possibility of further Millennium adventures on the big screen:
“There’s a big push on right now and there’s a lot of crazy people involved in it. They’ve written a book with interviews with everybody that was on the show including [Frank] Spotnitz and me … It’s crazy that you wouldn’t give it a shot. It doesn’t have to be a $30 million movie either. There’s a lot of fans out there in 65 countries. I can’t go into any other country without them wondering when the movie is going to be made.”
Question: Doesn’t making a movie based on a show called “Millennium,” at this point, seem as redundant as Conan O’Brien still doing his “In the Year 2000…” bit?
“If Millennium was made today with those characters, it would be a far more interesting show than the limited palette they had with serial killers. I love the idea of a non-judgemental character like Frank Black was… He wanted to know why and how all these things happened, but he knew that judging someone for what they’ve done would just get in the way of finding out things.”
Henricksen may be right about that. A lot of aspects of Millennium – criminal profiling, psychic powers, mixed mythology procedural – have been picked up by other series like Criminal Minds and The Mentalist, so Millennium was truly ahead of its time. But where could the story go next? Henricksen has some ideas about that too:
“When you trap a guy like Frank Black,” he said, “who has that kind of imagination and you put him in a world like Bulgaria where everything is in Cyrillic and he can’t communicate actively with a lot of people, he has to do it in another way. I’ve thought of how it could be done. You just keep moving the pressure in on him about this kind of terrorist stuff. A terrorist plot. The pressure keeps building and building and building until you realize that that pressure gave him all the answers he needed. You would be gasping for air to wonder what is going to happen to this guy.”
I remember enjoying Millennium very much when it was on the air, but I’m not sure a movie is necessary, especially 13 years after the series satisfactorily ended. And why does every cancelled cult TV show need a movie now? It’s nuts!