Interview With Actor LANCE REDDICK | The Art Of Self-Expression
We all have different beliefs and ideas of what’s the best way to live our lives. The fact that we all are unique and perceive this world from our own perspective, makes us expand and evolve as human beings. Diversityresity is a blessing. Often, we limit ourselves to thoughts that are contradicting our desires, creating a gap between what we want, and what we think we can achieve. But if you think about what a belief is: ” it’s just a thought that we keep thinking so many times that it becomes a belief,” words by Abraham Hicks.
American actor Lance Reddick says, “(…) And the only way to find out what is really possible is to take a leap of faith – often over and over and over again, for the rest of our lives…” In that sense, when we have faith, we know, and when we know and believe in the best…it will manifest.
Please, briefly introduce yourself. Who, in your own words, is Lance Reddick?
I am an actor, composer, songwriter. But my passion is exploring the art of being and self-expression. The questions who and what are we as human beings, and how do we consciously evolve both individually and as a species are my obsessions. Every relationship in my life, to my work, to other individuals, to my ethnicity, to my country, to the world, to myself is all an exploration of those questions for me.
You are a graduate of the Yale School of Drama where the admission process is highly competitive. What was the moment like for you when you found out that you were accepted into this program?
It was surreal. My whole journey into acting as a profession was so inside out and upside down from the start. I was 27 years old when I started acting professionally in a desperate attempt to help my dreams of being a rock star. I had no idea what drama school even meant. I only applied to Yale because I had heard that Meryl Streep went there, and it’s the only place that I applied. Anyway, it was late one night, and I was driving home from a performance of a play that I was in, from Boston up to Gloucester, where I was living at the time. It was about a 45-minute drive. My wife and I were talking, and then out of the blue, she tells me that I got a letter from Yale. Then she showed it to me. It was very thin. From my undergraduate days, I knew that that meant rejection. She asked me if I wanted her to open it. I hesitated for a moment and then said, “f**k it. Go ahead.” She started to read, “Dear Mr. Reddick, we are pleased to inform you…” and it went on from there. I thought I had imagined it. Then I said to her, “what?” And she said, “Lance…you got in.”
There was this experience of out of body euphoria mixed with a dawning realization that I suddenly had a big problem. I had to decide whether or not to go. I was a married 28 years old (soon to be 29) with a wife and a two-year-old. Going back to school was not really part of the plan. Fortunately, I decided to go, and it changed my life.
Which actor or director influenced you when you started out in this industry?
I’d have to say the actors that influenced me the most when I was starting were the ones that I considered transformational. At the top of the list, Meryl Streep and Daniel Day Lewis were really my templates for what a great actor is – and also the early work of Marlon Brando. The director that had the most impact on me was Sidney Lumet.
You are currently starring for the fourth season on the critically acclaimed Amazon series “Bosch” for which you were nominated for the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor on Television. What do you resonate most with the character of Deputy Chief Irvin Irving you play in the show?
Well, I’m not sure I would say I personally resonate with the character. We’re very different personalities. But the challenge I find most interesting about playing the character is the moral grey area that he is willing to exist in so often in order to serve what he perceives as the greater good. There is a tension in playing a character that can be so ambiguous in his values but is so decisively clear about his ambitions and goals.
Do you have a particular process or method as an actor to prepare for each role?
Wow, that’s a difficult question because every script and character is different. I always start with the lines. Accent and rhythm help define the character, as well as word choice – well, that’s assuming the character is well written. I also try to research the type of job the character has if that’s really germane to the character – say if it informs the level of intellect or personality type. Talking to someone who is like that character is always helpful. And then finding the way the character moves. But you’re always asking the question who I am, and given that, what do I want in this situation, and from whom, and why, at every moment.
You seem to have a fascinating year ahead. You have recently wrapped on the horror thriller film” Monster Party,” produced by Brian Kavanaugh-Jones and Automatik Entertainment, you also will be seen as Nathan Wood in MGM’s thriller “The Domestics,” you have completed the Sundance Institute crime drama film” Little Woods,” and the thriller “Canal Street” will be released this year, and you are currently filming the action/thriller feature film “Angel Has Fallen.” What does it take for you to switch to a new and different character each time working on so many different projects?
It’s about always going back to the basics of character development and script work on every role. The thing about drama school, at least at Yale, was that it such a performance heavy program that between scene study, and student productions, you were constantly juggling different chapters in multiple projects, and that kind of repertory training has served me well.
On television, you are seen in Pat Bishop, Matt Ingebretson & Jake Weisman’s dark, satirical workplace comedy, “Corporate” for Comedy Central. How much fun is your experience embodying a character such as Christian DeVille?
It is a blast. Christian is one of the most virtuosic roles I have ever had the pleasure of playing.
“Corporate” is not the only comedy you have been part of. You also have appeared in a number of other comedic roles in shows such as “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “Funny or Die ‘Toys ‘R Me,’” “Wilfred,” “Key & Peele,” and “Comedy Bang Bang.” What qualities do you admire in a comedian?
That they’re funny. And also, that they’re smart. For me, it helps if they have something to say, a point of view about the human experience that isn’t just dumb clowning or being mean.
How would you describe your experience as an actor being part of several virtual reality games?
Actually, the John Wick game is the only VR game that I have acted in. If you mean video games, it’s actually similar. The big difference between that and on camera acting is that I have to rely on the director much more for each line because so much of it is out of context for me. We are literally recording a few lines at a time.
Which well-known actor or director would you like to work with in the future and why?
I’d love to work with Samuel L Jackson and Meryl Streep. And Spielberg is at the top of my director’s bucket list. I think Spielberg is the greatest living American director, and Meryl Streep may be the greatest actor I have ever seen. And Sam is perhaps the greatest embodiment of cool. I looooooove to watch him work.
Which character did you play in the past touched you most emotionally?
I can’t really pick a character I played that touched me more than any other. But as far as moments go, I would have to say, the BOSCH season two moment when I come to the crime scene to discover the dead body of my murdered son. That was rough.
What kind of character you have not portrayed yet would you like to embody one day, and what would you bring to it?
I tend to play a lot of very intense characters, often very alpha. I’d like to play a lovable loser, or someone very laid back, like a pothead, or a guy who runs a new age bookstore, something like that. I’m just spit-ballin’ here. Lol
What are you most grateful for?
I’m most grateful for the circumstances that I was born into. My parents, and the time and place that I was born shaped my whole life. Everything I have accomplished, I feel I owe to those things, because they have informed all my choices, both good and bad, and how I have dealt with the consequences of them as well as the storms of life that have been beyond my control. It has all lead me here to my wonderful wife, my wonderful children, and my wonderful career.
What is your favorite activity to do when you are not filming?
Binging great television with my wife.
Has there been a book or film that had a major impact on or changed your life? If so, which one?
There have been a number of books that had a major impact on my life, but I think if I were to choose the one that was the first, and therefore probably the most profound, I would have to say The Fountainhead. I read it when I was 18. It was the beginning of me really starting to ask the question, what is it to think for myself. And it was also the beginning of me asking the question, what are my values, and why, and how do I choose the values I want to live my life by.
Our motto stands for “You can be, do and have anything you want.” What’s your take on such a statement?
I actually don’t know if that’s true. I used to think so. Now I am not so sure. In my experience, sometimes you have to make hard choices, and that means letting go of something. But I do think that the gap between what we believe is possible and what is really possible for our lives is all too often woefully underestimated. And the only way to find out what is really possible is to take a leap of faith – often over and over and over again, for the rest of our lives…