Red Stewart chats with actor Lance Reddick…
Lance Reddick is an accomplished actor and musician who has worked in television, film and the music industry since the late 1990s. He is best known for his roles inounce,the wire, eFilm. His last work was for the action thrillerThe domestic ones, which will be released in limited theaters on July 4th.
Flickering Myth had the privilege of interviewing him and I, in turn, had the honor of guiding him:
Mr. Reddick, I mean it when I say it's an absolute honor to speak with you. I was a huge fan of The Wire back then and talking to you is a dream come true. So thank you for taking time out of your day to talk with me.
Oh thank you, thank you, absolutely.
So I know, before you got into acting, you were originally interested in pursuing a career in music, specifically jazz. I ask because over the years we have heard many studies about how there is a positive relationship between listening to music and the development of our cognitive processes. I wonder if playing music has helped you as an actor when it comes to portraying all these different characters or creating their personalities? Or are the two fields not relevant to you?
No, they are not related. It's funny and interesting because they found that with actors who are athletes and actors who are good artists, the music helps. For example, I'm a big rhythm and painting person, so being a musician helped me a lot, especially with Shakespeare, which later helped me with acting because I played a lot of characters who gave a lot of monologues [laughs]. So I'm good at it because I was very good at Shakespeare and I was good at Shakespeare because of my music. I was able to apply my musical inclinations to my study of Shakespeare.
But the character's rhythm and intonation are also very important, and you'll find this especially so when playing characters with different accents. Most of the characters I've played don't speak like me in real life, and I've played some characters who do: you know the commander, the cop type. And in terms of being able to analyze how I approach learning lines, I was able to apply my experiences playing the piano, which was also very helpful.
No, that makes perfect sense. As you said, this has been seen in other areas, not just acting, so I'm glad it's helped you a lot beyond your musical passion.So coming off of that, you've spent most of your career doing television. I could list all its functions, but we would run out of time. I'm curious, as an actor, how does TV programming cross over into other mediums like video games and movies? Do you have to adjust to different work schedules or are they much more similar?
Voice-over functions are very different, especially in video games. The more direct kind of storytelling is kind of similar, but there are still differences because sometimes when you're voicing an animated character, you're doing it all yourself. And then you need a lot more help from the director, especially in a video game, because with almost everything in a video game you're talking to the void, so you need a lot of story about what's going on and what you need. You need direction on most lines.
As for the transition from TV to film, it depends on the genre of the film. In terms of indie films, because they move so fast, the experience isn't too different for me coming from TV, mainly because most of the TV I've done is very cinematic.
Doing bigger budget stuff where more time is spent on a scene is a different experience just because you have more wiggle room. Part of that is good because you have more time to go into each shot and you have more shots, but by the same token you can sit for a lot longer and that can work against you in terms of your energy and getting back into a scene.
Ok, I hadn't thought about how the budget would affect the various projects. It just goes to show how adaptable you have to be as an actor. Now, speaking of film, let's talk about The Domestics. It's funny, I read an interview that the director, Mike P. Nelson, did where he talked about how fun it is to see you be a little more eccentric with this Nathan Wood character because you've earned that reputation for playing more stoic characters.and serious. . Is it fun to do indie films like The Domestics because they give you the chance to play characters you wouldn't normally be asked to?
I don't know if it was the fact that I was independent, it was just the nature of the world. So I don't know if the fact that it was an indie film as opposed to a huge blockbuster had anything to do with it.
But the reason I wanted to doThe domestic onesit was... whenever you have to decide whether or not you want to make a movie, it depends on three things: the director, the work and the role. And for that, it was all three. I thought the script was really cool. Mike showed me the concept shorts and it was really hot, it was so well done so it was clear he knew what he was doing. And so the role was something I never got to do. So with all three elements, it was an effort.
Sim,I actually interviewed Mr. Nelson, and I told him that if I had been told in advance that The Domestics was low-budget, I wouldn't have been able to tell because it's so beautifully shot, the craftsmanship is on point, and the performances are incredible, including, of course, , Mr. Reddick.Speaking of which, what was it like working with a first-time director like Mr. Nelson? Is it a different experience than working with a more veteran director?
It depends. Because you know I've worked with veteran directors who were great to work with but didn't necessarily have the vision that Mike had. So my experience was that it didn't feel like I was working with a director for the first time. Like, I never had that in mind. I was just working with a director who had a vision, and really the only problem for me was when we disagreed about what should happen in a scene. And Mike is very, very, very powerful. So yeah, it was fun [laughs]. But you know, he knows what he's doing too.
Right, he was clearly a very confident director. Now, it would be easy to dismiss the film as another Mad Max clone, but when you watch The Domestics, you really see that family is the central theme of the story, particularly with Nathan Wood and his son. For you, did you bring your own experiences as a father to your portrayal of Wood and the relationship he developed with his son in this post-apocalyptic world?
The short answer is yes. I definitely think it helps to play father if you're a father, because there's a certain way to be with kids. As a parent, you tend to talk to children like people, not toddlers, even when you are angry with them. So it definitely helped. And also the young man who plays my son, [Kaden Washington Lewis], he was so… how do I put it, he was such a sweet kid and a really good actor.
And I just have to say their chemistry was on point. it felt like a genuine relationship. I've seen a lot of movies and sometimes the actors just don't have that connection. What was it like developing that bond with him? Did it come naturally from day one on set or did it take some time to break the ice and develop?
Well, first of all, Kaden's dad was on set a lot, and he and his dad are very close. So I think that helped a lot because he was always quiet. And his father and I got along really well, so that helped too. Because you know, sometimes you work with guys and you just don't connect for whatever reason, maybe they don't like you [laughs].
And then you have to deal with it and pretend it's going on.
No, that's interesting. I thought it would be a bit more difficult because you would have to compete with his dad on the off set [laughs].
Oh no, because I wasn't trying to compete with his father. Honestly, your dad was greatWirefan, so it was more like his dad wanted to talk to me the whole time when we were filming [laughs].
[laughs] It just shows how respected you are as an actress, Mr. Reddick, that's great to hear. Now, I know how busy you are, so I just have one last question. It's clear that you've had so many different memorable and iconic roles over the years, from The Wire to Lost to Oz. But recently, you rose to prominence playing Continental Concierge Charon in the John Wick series. Pardon me for asking, but as a huge fan of both John Wicks, is there any chance you could share details about the third one? Will we see more of his character this time around?
Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to say.
I'm sorry, I understand.
I will say this though, I can actually speak to Ian McShane on this one! [laugh]
I will take! Thanks again for speaking with Mr. Reddick. Like I said, I was a big fan of The Wire as a teenager. You are a great actor and this was a great experience.
Flickering Myth would like to thank Mr. Reddick for sitting down with us. The Domestics opens in select theaters on July 4th.
The fourth John Wick film honors Reddick and it marks his final appearance as Charon, the concierge at The Continental in New York City.Will Lance Reddick be in John Wick 4? ›
While Reddick may be gone, he nonetheless returns to movie screens this weekend in John Wick: Chapter 4, the epic latest installment in Keanu Reeves' hitman franchise, once again assuming the part of Charon, the dapper concierge at New York City's swanky assassin hotel, the Continental.What accent does Lance Reddick have in John Wick? ›
"It said 'African accent' in the script," Reddick recalled, in reference to 2014's "John Wick." He continued: "It didn't specify which one. And also remember, I didn't have a lot of time to prepare.What happened to Lane Reddick? ›
Reddick, a Baltimore native, was found dead at his home in Studio City, California on March 17. Though the 60-year-old was initially thought to have died from natural causes, his recently released death certificate lists ischemic heart disease and atherosclerotic coronary artery disease as causes of death.