INTERCEPT: TWoP Blows Lennie James's Cover
I think one of the brilliances of Jericho is that it's not the town that was hit. It's the town that is cut off from the places that were hit by the bombs, so there's a safety distance. You're not watching people's skin fall off, so there's a comfortability there, but once we've got that area of comfortability for everybody, then we start playing on the "what if," and the fears, and the hopes. At the heart of Jericho, it is about people trying to survive for all the right reasons. Once you remove people of all the status symbols of your car, of your house, of your iPod, of what telephone you have, of what your job is, who are we? Given this scenario, who would we be? And I think that's what's at the heart of Jericho. I mean, for me, that's how it is. That's how I approach my character: if this is the true scenario, who are you frightened you might be, and who do you hope you would be? And I think that's one of the questions people are asking themselves when they watch: if I'm in Jericho, I would really, really hope that I'm Robert Hawkins, but I'm really, really scared that I'd be the guy running down the street going, "It's all over! It's all over! We're all going to die" and would need a slap. And I think that's sort of the bottom line of what goes on when you watch Jericho.
K: For me, Hawkins and Jake are the entire show. The two of you as characters -- and also how you work together as actors -- it's amazing, the chemistry you have. There are so many times I'm yelling, "You need to team up! You need to team up!"
K: Did you know from the get-go that Hawkins would become, arguably, the most interesting character on the show?
LJ: No, I didn't. Like I said, I'm new to American drama. My thing is, I like playing guys who have a really interesting internal monologue. I don't usually like talking about acting or what my process is, and all those kinds of things, because I don't necessarily think it's helpful to talk about how I do my job. I'm just appreciative of people if they like the job that I do -- that's absolutely fantastic, and that's all the praise and all recognition I need. But I did arrive, not just as the new boy on the show, but also kind of new to the whole game. The parts that I'm known for playing back home -- and the parts I enjoy playing -- are the guys with a really good, or interesting internal monologue. Guys, who are not just at war or in conflict with people outside of themselves, but are also in conflict with themselves. When I arrived and I did all of my meetings, I was offered two pilots, and I had to make a decision between the two of them. On the page, the role in the pilot that I didn't take was much more fleshed out. In the pilot, you had a very, very clear sense of who this particular guy is, and what he could become. Although when the [Jericho] pilot was finally put together, I think you saw Hawkins in about six or seven scenes, in the script I got, he was in three scenes. But what really interested me about him is that he was not completely formed, and that meant that I would have some kind of role in creating his internal monologue. So that was the reason why I chose Hawkins.