Screen Rant talks to Lance Reddick about his work on the hit action movie, Angel Has Fallen, as well as his career across film, TV, and video games.
Gerard Butler just wrapped up his presidential-themed action trilogy with Angel Has Fallen, though the series is expected to continue with further sequels and synergistic television spin-offs. In a landscape dominated by family-friendly superhero movies, the Has Fallen series has carved out a niche for itself as an R-rated alternative with bloody action and F-bombs aplenty; they’re a delightful throwback to the explosive action cinema of the early 1980s, and Butler is a solid Stallone surrogate as the endearing hero, Mike Bannon.
One of the new additions for the third installment of the growing franchise is Lance Reddick, who plays the head of the Secret Service, a man preparing to retire and let a new Director take his place. While promoting the home video release of Angel Has Fallen, Reddick spoke to Screen Rant about his work on the film, as well as his prolific career, which includes television like Lost and Fringe, as well as popular video games like Destiny and Quantum Break.
Angel Has Fallen releases on Blu-ray on November 26. Until then, take a peek at an exclusive behind-the-scenes clip above, which showcases some of the exciting action that takes place in the film’s explosive final act.
You’ve probably been asked this a bunch, but… Back in 2013, you were in White House Down, which famously dueled against Olympus Has Fallen…
I haven’t gotten it “a bunch,” but it has come up!
Is that breaking some kind of rule? Did you get in trouble? Did Roland Emmerich call you on the phone and be like, “Hey man, you betrayed me!”
No! As a matter of fact, I was invited to the premiere of Midway! But unfortunately, I couldn’t make it. But no, we’re still on pretty good terms.
I think it’s something that’s mostly pumped up in the industry trades, when an actor switches camps, like going from DC to Marvel or stuff like that. I mean, it’s all art, right?
Well, it’s good PR for me!
The cast for Angel Has Fallen is incredible. Danny Huston, in particular, is one of my favorite actors, so getting to see him in an action movie, going toe-to-toe with Gerard Butler was a real treat.
He killed it. He killed it! I wish we had scenes together, but we didn’t! The only other time I met him, believe it or not, was on the set of American Horror Story, six years ago.
How ’bout that! Do you ever get starstruck? As an actor, do you get to be a fan, or is that something of a faux pas?
If I’m a fan, I’m a fan. I can’t help it, you know? But absolutely, with Morgan Freeman. And Richard Jenkins, who played the secret villain in White House Down.
Tell me about working with them!
So, Richard Jenkins, I was actually afraid of him, because I was such a fan of his work. The first time I met Richard, we were driving to set together, and I was late. So he’s in the car waiting for me. And I come down from the hotel, and I say, “Good morning,” and he barely spoke to me. So I think, oh boy, I’ve already started off on the wrong foot. But fortunately, we’ve since become friends!
So, when you have those days on set where you need to be a peer to this person you’re a fan of, how does that equalize? How do you go up to their level, or bring them over to your level, or however that equation works?
With Richard, we just started talking. We had so many scenes together where we were just standing around in between takes, and in between setups for hours! We just ended up spending a lot of time together. So we did a lot of talking about the craft of acting, and movies. As a matter of fact, he told me to read Spencer Tracy’s biography, because he and I got to talking about Spencer Tracy’s monologue at the beginning of Father of the Bride.
And what was it like working with Morgan? Many of your scenes in this movie are with him.
For me, once we actually start doing the work, I’m fine. It’s when the camera shuts off that I get tongue-tied. You know what I mean? Generally, in terms of the work, I don’t tend to feel intimidated, because I’m focused on what I’m doing. Morgan Freeman is one of those people who, I mean, he’s a walking icon. He’s one of my idols. He’s one of the guys who came before me who made it possible for me to do what I’m doing. So Morgan was really sweet to me. But he’s also a practical joker. I never got completely comfortable with Morgan. It’s like he’s… How do I put this? I couldn’t stop making him larger than life in my brain, so I just gave up trying.
What kind of practical jokes did he pull on you? Or are they secret?
He would do stuff like… For example, there was a scene in the hospital. It’s me and him and Michael Landes, who plays the Chief of Staff. We’re informing him, basically, that Gerard Butler’s character is possibly dirty and could be the person behind the attacks. So the three of us have this scene together. They did Morgan’s close-up first, and then they did mine. On Michael’s close-up, I have dialogue, talking to Morgan while he’s in the hospital bed. And while I’m talking, he starts crossing his eyes. (Laughs) I’m trying to hold it together, for the other actor, and… Oh, he got me good.
That’s hilarious. You’re such a well-rounded prolific actor. Everybody knows you from one thing or another. People know you from Fringe, The Wire, John Wick, Destiny, Quantum Break, which is one of my favorites.
Quantum Break, that’s one I really wish we’d gotten the chance to do a sequel. That was a cool project.
I’m still holding out hope they’ll find a way to integrate your character in the future. There is still so much potential in that story. That team has moved on to Control, which kind of hints that all the games are connected.
Oh yeah. There was definitely more for me to do in a sequel. But it just never happened.
Was there ever talks about that early on? Like, did a producer take you aside and go, “Hey, if this works out, you’re gonna be in it for the long haul?”
I don’t know about the “long haul,” but definitely the next one. But then the next one didn’t happen, at least not yet.
When you look at these different art forms, video games, movies, TV, do you approach it all the same way? In the old days, it was like, “this person is a movie actor, they would never do TV!” I feel like those lines are kind of gone, and that’s beginning to extend to video games, as well.
A few actors still, the older movie stars who have been mega-stars for decades… But even then, mostly, those lines are gone. I think that’s really cool. Especially since video gaming has turned into such a big industry. It’s got such a huge fanbase. When I really realized how it was moving into the mainstream… I don’t remember what game it was, but I saw a commercial with Kevin Spacey, and they used his likeness for the game. I was like, video games are a big deal now, they’re mainstream. And the way television has evolved, with long-form writing, and the acting and cinematography, it’s become such great work to do. To answer your question, though, as far as approaching it differently… For me, in terms of how I approach the work, television and film, I don’t really approach those differently. The experience can be different depending on the budget of the film. The bigger the budget, the longer you have to shoot scenes. But in terms of actual preparation and actually doing the work on set, it’s the same. Video games are a little different. So much of it is just voice over work. Voice acting can be different because you have to… I feel like, less for theater actors, but for actors who do a lot of television and film, you’re so used to how you move and use your face in how you communicate. But in a video game, you have to communicate through your voice. It’s more challenging.
For Destiny, in particular, your character has a lot of dialogue throughout the whole seasons of content they produce. Do you record all of that at once, or do they bring you in every few months or so when they have a new DLC pack?
Here’s how it goes. Even when they’ve got a new content pack, it’s never recorded all at once. It’s recorded over several sessions, usually over several months, for each new set of content. And it depends on how big the content is. The last one, I didn’t do nearly as much as I did before.
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Angel Has Fallen Complete Series