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Lance Reddick talks Fringe, Oldboy, and White House Down

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Lance Reddick talks Fringe, Oldboy, and White House Down
By Wilson Morales

November 21, 2012

With the series finale of the Fox TV show ‘Fringe’ set to air this coming January, it was a welcome surprise for fans recently to see the return of former cast member, Lance Reddick as Agent Phillip Broyles. While Riddick was part of the series since it started back in ’08, due to storyline plots, he’s been recurring lately.

That’s a good thing because he’s been using the spare time to do more films, which is he rarely seen. After spending a long time on the small screen from ‘Oz,’ ‘The Wire,’ and ‘Fringe,’ the Maryland native has been lining up some roles in a few high profiled films slated for release in 2013.

Most recently, Reddick was seen opposite Oscar nominee Viola Davis in ‘Won’t Back Down,’ and just finished up shooting his role in Spike Lee’s upcoming remake on the Korean film, ‘Oldboy.’ He will also be seen in the Jamie FoxxChanning Tatum film, ‘White House Down.’ recently caught up with Reddick as he spoke about his time on Fringe and his upcoming projects.

How was coming back on Fringe recently?

Lance Reddick: Pretty cool. It was great to be back and play a different version of Broyles.

For those who are not aware, where does your character stand in the series?

LR: Well, in the short synopsis, this season, the series is set 25 years in the future. The Observers are these mysterious characters that throughout the eerie, weird scientific events that have been going on throughout the series, they have been at the scene at almost of them; doing nothing but observe. Twenty-five years in the future, they have taken over the planet Earth. The Earth is now an occupied territory. Broyles’ role in the Fringe division at this point is kind of the human affairs division of the police force. It was revealed that when Boyles returned in episode 4, he was actually secretly working for the Resistance.

The fans have kept the show alive through its support. Will you be sad to see it end soon?

LR: Yeah. God love the fans. They really have kept us on the air. For me, I’m ready to move on. I’m just ready to do something else.

Since you left the series as a regular, you’ve been working hard doing various film roles, including ‘Won’t Back Down,’ which came out this past Fall. What’s the transition like going from TV to films?

LR: It’s interesting. Besides transitioning more into films, I’m also trying to produce my own stuff. This past year, I did a web series called ‘Drone,’ which you can see on Youtube and was executive produced by Justin Lin. The writer-director Robert Glickert is actually one of Justin’s protégé. He was one of the executives of Justin’s production company. That actually turned out really well. There’s also a pilot that I co-produced, starring Bill (William) Fichtner, and is being shopped around town now. As far as films go, last December I shot and co-produced a film that Danny Devito directed called ‘St. Sebastian.’ It’s a low budget thriller. I also just did a small role in Spike Lee’s new film, ‘Oldboy,’ starring Josh Brolin. I’m also one of the supporting characters in the new Roland Emmerich film ‘White House Down.’

What’s your role in ‘Oldboy?’

LR: ‘Oldboy’ is based on a Korean film that came out a few years ago. The role that I play is Daniel Newcombe, a wealthy businessman and Josh Brolin plays an ad executive who tries to pitch me an idea. Some things happen in our meeting and that’s how much I can say for now.

How was working with Spike on the film?

LR: It was cool. I wish I had more to do so hopefully we’ll be able to do something else. Spike knows what he’s doing.

How about your role in ‘White House Down’?

LR: I play a General, the Vice-Chairman of the Justice Staff. Because of how things play out in the film, I’m the one in the charge at the Pentagon.

Is that your first big action thriller?

LR: It’s the first big one in a long time. I did a big film in 1998 with Denzel Washington and Annette Bening called ‘The Siege’ and I played one of Denzel’s FBI agents. As everyone on the team was dying, I was the last one to die.

Most of the roles you’re playing are authority figures. Are those the sort of roles you are looking for?

LR: No. It’s one of those things where I think it happened because ‘The Wire’ was an interesting phenomenon. It was one of those shows that most of Hollywood ignored while it was on, unless you’re Black. It wasn’t until the last season and we shot the entire series that it blew up. It became such a phenomenon that that world became an iconic figure. I became Boyles on the heels of The Wire ending. It’s one of those things that people tend to see me now. The goal now is to break out of that.

For a show that didn’t win an Emmy for Best Series, it’s become well loved afterwards and most of the actors seem to be benefiting from that.

LR: Yes. We’re doing well, but I’ll be honest with you, during the last year of the series, everyone in Hollywood was talking about it. Until then, no one was. That’s been good for a lot of us. On the other hand, being excluded from award recognition pretty much throughout the industry, we hadn’t got that push that actors with recognition get. I regret that.

You also have some animated work coming up with ‘Beware the Batman’ TV series. How much fun was voicing Ra’s al Ghul?

LR: I’m a comic book geek and Batman is one of my favorite characters. I have every season of the animated series, ‘Batman Beyond.’ I think I have all the movies as well. After the Joker, I think Ra’s al Ghul is probably the most iconic Batman villain.

What are we expecting from the character that’s different from the films? Will it be the same personality?

LR: Ra’s al Ghul is one of the characters where no one really knows how old he really is. We do know that he’s centuries old, but he’s always been portrayed as someone who is Middle Eastern, so it may be that way on the series.

What’s keep you grounded?

LR: My kids. I came into acting when I was 27. I went to drama school when I was 29, so when ‘The Wire’ started production, I was just getting out of school and into the industry. I spent up until ‘The Wire’ struggling and juggling the family. ‘Oz’ was actually my first big break. I still had to come home every night and make dinner. I was living a middle class life. It wasn’t like I was a big star. The build to my career has been a slow steady and it came later in my life. Being grounded as not been an issue because I haven’t had the Hollywood experience in my career until recently. I also have a great wife.

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