Lance-Henriksen.de is proud to present you a brand-new exclusive interview with JOSEPH MADDREY. To Lance Henriksen-fans he is probably best known as the co-author of his biography Not Bad for a Human. That book was released on May 5th 2011 and can be ordered here. Prior to that he worked with Lance on the documentary Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film (2009).
Interview with JOSEPH MADDREY
Dominik Starck (DS): Where did the idea for your initial book "Nightmares in Red, White and Blue" came from?
Joseph Maddrey (JM): It came from being a big geek. I wrote the main text for the book when I was an undergraduate in college, taking film studies courses by day and watching horror movies at night. I'm a compulsive list-maker, so I started making lists of films by decade, by director, by subgenre, etc. and taking notes on recurring themes. Eventually I turned the lists into a thesis.
DS: After the success of that book you decided to make a documentary movie about the topic. Why that?
JM: Actually, someone else came up with the idea to turn the book into a documentary. Lux Digital Pictures got the adaptation rights from McFarland and hired a director, who shot three interviews and then bowed out. Lux contacted me and asked if I wanted to take over. I had just finished working with Andrew Monument on a TV series called A Haunting, so I called him up and asked if he would be willing to tackle the project with me. I'm grateful he said yes.
DS: For the "Nightmares in Red, White and Blue"-documentary you needed a narrator and it happened that Lance Henriksen was hired to do the narration. Was it planned from the beginning to ask him or where did that idea came from?
JM: Lance was my #1 choice for narrator. Some friends of mine had just made a feature film with him, and his voiceover was the best thing about the movie.
In my mind, no one could have done a better job with the narration in Nightmares. Lance instinctively knew when to be serious and when to be more lighthearted in his delivery. He watched a rough cut of the documentary and he just got it.
DS: After all the analysing of horror-films; did you ever thought about making an own horror movie?
JM: I think most horror fans have probably thought about that at one time or another. But making a movie takes a LOT of work, and I haven't written a script yet that I believe is good enough for that level of commitment. Maybe one day.
DS: When and how did the idea to write a book with Lance about his life and career evolves?
JM: After Nightmares, I really wanted to work with Lance again so we stayed in touch. About a year later, I was reading a book called "Seagalogy" by an author named Vern. Although the book is about Steven Seagal, there is one short section where the author goes off on an enthusiastic tangent about Lance Henriksen's onscreen charisma. I immediately thought, "Why hasn't anyone written a book about Lance?" So I called Lance and asked if he'd be interested in doing a biography.
DS: What was your personal take on Lance Henriksen before you got to know him during the work on the documentation and the book?
JM: The first time I met him was at a convention in Philadelphia in 2006 and I was amazed by how easygoing and down to earth he was. I expected him to be gruff and forbidding -- like some of the characters he has played. So right away, I was fascinated by him as a person.
DS: How worked the writing-process for the biography between you and Lance?
JM: For several months, Lance and I got together once a week and recorded our conversations. I kept showing up at his house with a long list of questions, and he was kind enough to keep inviting me back. In the beginning, we agreed that if our conversations didn't go well, we wouldn't turn them into a book... but things went very well. I wrote the book in sections, and Lance read each section as soon as I finished it. We just kept talking and revising, talking and revising - until we had a book that we were both happy with.
DS: I know there were a lot of different possible title-ideas for the book. Who came up with "Not Bad for a Human"?
JM: Of course, the phrase originates with James Cameron (Aliens)- but the person who suggested it as a book title was a very talented writer named Alison Nastasi. As soon as she suggested it, Lance and I both said: "That's it."
DS: Soon there will be a few different versions of the book (limited edition, regular edition, electronic version...). What can you tell us about them and especially about the involvement of a lot of famous comic artists?
JM: The limited edition hardback is published by Bloody Pulp Books, a small press run by horror writer Steve Niles and designer Alex Lodermeier. Lance and I were looking for an alternative to conventional publishing, and an alternative to using publicity stills in the book. I had recently become friends with Steve, so I called him up and asked if he knew any illustrators who might be interested in doing some original drawings of Lance. He not only offered to contact some of the top illustrators in the comics world, but to publish the book as well.
The softcover edition will be published by Alexander Henriksen Press in a couple of months. That version will feature some behind-the-scenes photos that no one has seen yet. The electronic versions of the book will be based on the softcover.
DS: How satisfied are you with the finalised book? Are you nervous about the readers' reactions? The first reviews are all very enthusiastic.
JM: I'm thrilled with the book, and thrilled with the response of readers so far. We're doing a week-long "blogathon" to celebrate the release of the book as well as Lance's birthday, and it's been amazing to see how the community of friends and fans have rallied around Lance. He generates so much good will among people... just by being himself.
DS: What do you want to tell the Lance Henriksen-fans and other interested people about what they can expect from "Not Bad for a Human"?
JM: I think that what Lance's fans are hoping for is a glimpse of the real person behind a screen persona that's often mysterious and larger than life. That's what the book provides... The first thing in the book is an invitation from Lance. He wrote a little anecdote as a way of inviting people into his world. He doesn't want to hold readers at a distance. He wants to communicate with readers on a very basic level -- not just about movies, but about using art and storytelling to become the best versions of ourselves. The title sums up his personal philosophy very well: At the end of the day we're "only human," but in our best moments that's more than enough.
DS: With the book on its way to the top (I've no doubt about that) what are your upcoming projects?
JM: My next project is going to be a Discovery Channel series about hostage negotiators. After that I want to finish writing a book on westerns.
DS: Thanks a lot for your time and good luck with your further projects.
Learn more about Joe Maddrey and order Not Bad for a Human (Limited Edition) on the official website www.notbadforahuman.com
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Thanks a lot for your attention!
6th May 2011