Sunday, December 8, 2013

Lance Henriksen Week: Not Bad For A Human

This year's Long Beach Comic & Horror Con was awesome.  As always, it's easy to get to with plentiful parking and tons of food/entertainment choices steps away.  You also have a view of the ocean from the steps of the beautiful LB Convention center.  The exhibitor floor was cracking with artist alley at full capacity.  Vendors were selling all types of cool swag and we picked up A LOT of stuff which I'll highlight later.

It was a bummer to see Thomas Jane had to bail this year due to his movie or TV shooting schedule but the good news was that Lance Henriksen, who was only scheduled to attend Sunday was now appearing Saturday and sharing TJ and Tim Bradstreet's RAW Studios booth!  If you don't know who Henriksen is but still find your way over here I really, really commend you.  After passing by a few times, the line had finally let up and we made our approach.  Henriksen was set up selling copies of his autobiography, Not Bad For A Human along with the usual variety of 8x10 glossy photos for autographs.  His deal of the day was a copy of the book and a photo of your choice.  Of course I selected the photo of him as Bishop from Aliens where he's lying on the floor, torn in half with his artificial person innards spilling out. 

I've never been one for photos with celebs as it takes away from your chance to actually engage them as a person because you're fiddling with a camera, getting into position and generally not being able to say much.  That rationale served me well this day as I got the chance to chit chat with Henriksen for a few minutes about the origins of his book, his work on Hard Target (Jean-Claude Van Damme as a modern day samurai with greasy mullet alert!), the last movie he worked on and the strangely awesome fact that he's worked on three different movies about sasquatch/abominable snowmen.  Luckily the lady snapped a pic while we chatted.  Henriksen was super cool, funny and nowhere near as intense as his usual gruff/scary performances in TV/film.  But his voice, that great voice, is real.

The book was a pretty fast read as the author and Henriksen move through his life and career with additional comments from several directors and actors he's worked with.  Henriksen was born in New York to a father who wasn't around and a mother who couldn't take care of him.  Inspired by Kirk Douglas westerns, Henriksen would drift around the country working odd jobs, visiting relatives, getting into trouble, joining the military and getting kicked out before finding his calling as an actor and pottery enthusiast.  Acting helped Henriksen deal with his anger, authority and abandonment issues while also making him confront his inability to read.  With the help of scripts, he forced himself to learn so he could make a go at acting as a career.

Reading through, you forget how many movies Henriksen has been in and the sheer magnitude of talented people he's worked with.  Sidney Lumet, James Cameron, John Woo, Sam Raimi, Ed Harris, Phil Kaufman, Walter Hill, Chris Carter, Steven Spielberg, Stan Winston, Robert Zemeckis...Starring opposite the likes of JCVD, Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton, Dennis Quaid, Russell Crowe, Gene Hackman, Johnny Depp, Al Pacino, Sigourney Weaver, Kirk Douglas and a hundred more.

It was interesting to see how personally invested Henriksen was in each of his roles, going straight method and staying in character.  That commitment is probably why so many people like working with him.  It's also a little sad to see how that dedication and work ethic would undo his personal life as he couldn't let go of each role immediately and brought the darkness home causing friction with the wife(s). 

Staying busy as ever, Henriksen had no less than 6 movies released in 2013 and another 9 in various stages of production along with his voiceover work in animation, video games and commercials.  Time to skim through his hundreds of credits and find a few to watch...


  1. great esay , great review, thanks for sharing ...

    1. Thanks for reading, Milos! Any favorite Henriksen movies or performances?

  2. difficult question :) ... Millennium for sure, Dead man,The nature of the beast,etc...
    I also have signed autograph ,but a friend send it to me,'cause i'm from serbia,so i never met him (lance) .
    I saw on lance's fb page your link about this blog ... i following him too ...i wrote an essay about him ...u can find it here on nbfh site
    share, if u like it ...thanks ...
    btw ,u got realy interesting things here, that u wrote ,i realy like it ...