Today we’re doing something a tiny bit different. Normally I review films, make an article about something actor related, something like that. But today, I’m reviewing what I consider to be by far the greatest and most interesting autobiography I have ever read.
For those unaware, Lance Henriksen is an actor you’ve probably seen in something: wether it be sci-fi classics like The Terminator, Aliens or Close Encounters of the Third Kind; tv shows like Millenium, the X-Files and Cagney and Lacey, horror flicks like Scream 3 or Pumpkinhead, or ever through his voice like in Tarzan or Detroit: Become Human ( the latter came out several years after the book’s release ).
He’s worked with directors such as: Steven Spielberg, Wes Craven, John Woo, David Fincher, James Cameron, Sam Raimi, Jim Jarmush and Sidney Lumet. Actors like Al Pacino, Gene Hackman, Sharon Stone, Ron Perlman, Michael Madsen, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Renee Zellweger, Thomas Jane and James Earl Jones.
The book was published in May 2011, and was cowritten by Joseph Maddrey who also conducted several exclusive interviews for the project, including Bill Paxton and Jim Jarmush. I came across the book after a recommendation from my Father, who had the opportunity to meet Lance and even got a signed copy from him about 10 years ago. I do not regret the time investment it took to finish this beautiful piece of biographical literature. Let’s get going
LANCE’S EARLY LIFE/ CHILDHOOD:
In order not to spoil the rich, juicy details of the book, I’m going to be writing very generally.
From the get go Lance is as honest as a Pinocchio who refuses to let his nose grow long. Every word is by no means exagerated, or truth-altering in any way. If it is, then Lance might be behind some of the greatest works of fiction ever made. Because his story, especially his childhood is just that mindblowing at times.
Lance was born in 1940 and did not have a traditional boyscout lifestyle that could’ve been expected given the time frame. Instead he spent much of his childhood and teen years moving from place to place across the country – on foot!
Acting was not the planned strategy for Henriksen, he couldn’t even read – how was he even supposed to read a script?! He stayed illiterate until he was 30 years of age, having taught himself by studying scripts after already being in the industry.
Lance is not shy in explaining how he sees the world throughout his book. Despite having acted in over 150 parts ( mind you, this came out 11 years ago and he’s still working ) he still takes on every new role with the same enthusiasm and insists on living the character as opposed to simply “acting it out”. He’ll go the lengths of doing his own stunts, portraying the lifestyle of a sadistic monk wearing an itchy shirt and reducing his diet to bread and water just to get into character.
Unlike many actors in modern Hollywood, Lance has standards, having refused several roles and potential future roles after bad incidents with people attached to the film. One such example was when he costarred in the Steven Seagal film ‘Pistol Whipped’, where Seagal basically bossed Henriksen around. Lance did as told, and never even thought about the film again until it was time to write the book. Could Seagal offer him more ‘opportunities’ with his career. Not really at this point? But it’s one of many examples that show Lance’s fibre, and unwillingness to go below his principals.
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